If you want a large-screen 1080p LCD, you've almost certainly considered a Sony Bravia. We think it's pretty fair to say that Sony has a place in our hearts, and generally speaking you know that you're going to be happy with what you buy from the Japanese giant. The Sony Bravia 40W4000 should be no exception.
This 40-inch LCD is stuffed to the brim with picture processing and features designed to make your viewing experience better. A new interface is designed to make setting the TV up and using it much easier, and there's an interesting new style from Sony. The KDL-40W4000 is available now for around £850 online.
At first the W4000 just looks like a normal black TV, until you inspect the case a little more carefully. You'll discover that there are little sparkly flecks dotted about, giving the TV a very strange glint from time to time. There's nothing wrong with it, we just weren't expecting it.
You'll also notice that there's a clear plastic strip at the bottom of the screen. This reminds us of this TV's older brother, the Bravia KDL-40X3500. On this TV it doesn't work as well, and feels out of place among the black plastic. There's also the glowing Sony logo present too, but that's easy to turn off via the menus if you don't like it.
At the bottom of the TV are the speakers, concealed in a diminutive housing that suggests they might not be very powerful -- in fact, they're very good. It's heartening to see speakers on the front of a TV, as too many companies try to conceal them, and that's bad news for sound quality.
If you want to control the Sony without the remote, there are some buttons located on the top of the TV for doing so. We're pleased that the ludicrous days of not putting controls on the TV itself are over.
On the back you'll find the usual array of inputs, such as VGA, component, a pair of Scarts and two HDMI inputs. Don't worry, there's a third HDMI on the side of the TV, along with a USB, composite and S-Video connectors.
The TV is supplied with a swivel stand, but if wall-mounting is your bag, you can opt to buy a kit to chuck it on a suitably strong wall.
No high-end TV would be complete without a certain set of features, and Sony knows that, so the 40W4000 has plenty to shout about.
Firstly, there's the now ubiquitous 1080p/24 support, which is the best possible way to watch Blu-ray movies, because it matches perfectly the video stored on the disc. It also means you'll get smooth motion, which is important for movies.
Sony's x.v.colour support is also present and correct, the aim of which is to produce the widest possible range of on-screen colour. Again, this is great for Blu-ray movies, but DVDs and broadcast TV don't support it, generally speaking.
There's also a new feature being introduced on all new Sony TVs, known as the XrossMediaBar or XMB for short, which is similar to the interface of the same name on the PlayStation 3. Aside from having one of the ugliest and over-the-top names we've ever seen, it's actually a handy little feature designed to make navigating around the TV's inputs and setting menus a little less painful. To activate it, you press the 'home' button on the remote control and a graphical display is laid over what you're watching. From there you select what you want to watch, from a 'stack' of inputs. When you're watching Freeview, it lists all the available channels too, which is really handy. Thankfully the XMB is fast to respond to remote commands, which makes using it a pleasure.
If you have plenty of equipment connected via HDMI, you'll possibly be interested in the Bravialink functionality, which enables you to control AV equipment via your TV remote control. This is especially handy for surround-sound receivers, because the Sony allows you to turn off the internal speakers and use the remote to control the amp. This is great for cutting down on the ludicrous number of remotes in the average house.