With its chunky bezel and curves, Sony’s 40EX4 looks every inch the old school CCFL-backlit LCD. However we can forgive the girth as this set has a compelling excuse: it’s swallowed a Blu-ray player.
The advantage of having a Blu-ray deck integrated into the TV is primarily space. This screen is destined to serve smaller rooms or dens. The sacrifice potential buyers must make is no lossless audio from their BD movies; this is not a home cinema proposition. The disc mechanism itself is bolted to the rear right, and it’s here you’ll find basic disc transport controls.
Sony currently challenges Samsung for supremacy when it comes to the breadth of its online content offering. Dial up the BRAVIA Internet Video service and you can kill time on YouTube, dilly-dally with Daily Motion and LoveFilm or use the BBC iPlayer and Demand Five catch up services.
There’s much more of course, including some premium pay content, however navigating all this via the standard BIV interface is a bit like trying to eat blindfolded in the Fat Duck.
Although boasting DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certification, the screen has arguably the least developed multimedia component in our group. While it can view network devices, file support is poor. Our test folder of files was deemed largely unreadable, with the exception of its AVCHD content. Thankfully, the 40EX4 makes a better fist at playing media from USB flash drives: AVIs, AVCHD and MKVs were all playable.
When it comes to image quality, this set is a conundrum. The screen lacks the upper tier of Sony picture processing gizmology – advanced MotionFlow is AWOL – but there is some spit and polish in the form of the brand’s BRAVIA Engine 3 processing suite.
There’s no dancing around the fact that the KDL-40EX43B has by far the worst motion resolution in our group. While static HD images are razor sharp, high definition is bombed back to standard-def when movement kicks in. But on the plus side the screen has little inherent cinematic judder or artefacting. While others deploy all manner of hi-tech weaponry to contain stuttering pans, the Sony glides like Flavia Cacace on Strictly. So what you’re left with is an illusory HD image that is quite watchable.
Audio is perfectly respectable (in context). The set’s S-Force digital amplification has poke and a crispness that suffices for general viewing. Ultimately this TV is novel hi-def solution that makes a virtue of its simplified picture processing
Sony Bravia KDL-40EX43B price: Around £899, find out more from Sony
Sony Brvia KDL-40EX43B release date: Out now
Posted by Steve May