However, there are some differences with the underlying technology that are unique. The screen features the latest Bravia Engine technology, which has been specifically designed for LCD panels. There are numerous picture-enhancing processes at work, but Sony claims the system offers sharper detail, more natural colours and various noise-reduction improvements. More expensive models in the Sony hierarchy are supported by additional processing technologies, but at the entry level you only get the vanilla version.
As always, Sony's menu systems are beautifully presented, using sharp, colourful graphics. There are numerous options available with standard picture presets and customised settings accompanied by several advanced adjustments for elements such as black and white levels, gamma control, contrast enhancement and noise reduction. If your room is susceptible to changing light conditions, a sensor at the front of the screen can be used to automatically adjust settings according to ambient light.
Sound options are equally comprehensive, with additional settings including a SRS TruSurround XT mode that attempts to recreate surround effects from the stereo speakers and a BBE function that enhances clarity, especially with dialogue.
Auto-tuning channels is reasonably fast, although it took several attempts to ensure all digital channels were found. Digital broadcasts are supported by an excellent electronic programme guide that lists the schedules of up to 12 channels at a time and can be used to search for programmes by category, list favourites, and set up programme reminders or timer recordings, if you have a recording device that's Smartlink-compatible.
The 40S2010's picture requires some fine-tuning to encourage the best performance. Try steering clear of the preset options, as the Vivid mode over-emphasises settings, while the Standard mode leaves colours looking subdued. Some of the advanced settings seem to enhance certain picture elements at the expense of others -- correcting black levels improves image density but compromises detail.
Image quality is largely dependent on the source material, with high-definition content excelling, while conventional sources and TV broadcasts appear ordinary. Pictures are enviably clean and colours are natural and evenly balanced. Even using upscaled high-definition signals, however, edge definition and detail doesn't appear as distinct as we've seen in other models. Black levels were not quite dark enough to impose depth-defining contrast.
Sound performance is restricted by the diminutive speakers, which are the same size as those used in smaller screen models. The design doesn't really allow for larger speakers to be integrated, but if you've chosen this oversized screen to accommodate a large room you'll find the sound limited.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide