Sony has bravely left plasma behind to concentrate solely on LCD, but if the result is screens as good as this then there's little room for criticism.
Part of the S series of Sony's Bravia brand, this 40in LCD is built around a Samsung LCD panel, but has Sony's own picture processing engine behind it. Built for high definition, it's possible to get £100 cash back on this very TV when you purchase a Sky HD box.
Not that the KDL-40S2010 is exactly cutting edge hi-def kit. offering a paltry single HDMI input. Used with a Sky or Telewest HD receiver, there's no room left to hookup a DVD player with a digital output. That's most new DVD players, and what about Blu-ray and HD DVD players to come? It's just not good enough at this price.
Most everything else about the KDL-40S2010, though, is great value for money. Behind that panel is Sony's own super patterned vertical alignment (SPVA), designed to increase the viewing angle by splitting each pixel into four parts and angling them differently. The effect is impressive because stood side-on to the screen even blacks appear as they should.
Other features include picture noise suppression; something that comes into its own with Sky HD.
Clarity is boosted, as is the level of detail and contrast levels. These talents are easily noticeable in the overall picture, but here's the real winner: you can't see any of that processing at work.
While some better screens than this are more successful at eeking out detail, it's often possible to see some fizzing. Not here. What is missing in detail is more than made up for in depth of field.
Crucially, high-definition's detail is presented in a way that's also very easy on the eye. Colour is separated into blue, green and white and made richer while keeping a sense of reality, while low contrast images are increased 'at source' to banish problem blacks. Equipped with a lightning fast 8ms response time, there's little noticeable blur or image lag over fast moving footage, although occasionally there is a slight stutter over camera pans.
While it's clearly at its best with high definition, pictures from its integrated Freeview tuner are presented crisply with little sign of pixellation. The same applies to standard Sky pictures and DVDs, although it must be said that broadcasters' idents and on-screen logos and graphics do break-up badly. But on many a large, HD Ready LCD such standard-definition fare looks abysmal.
A lack of bass in the bottommounted speakers is a major problem while treble and mid-range levels are fi ne, and even though the SRS TruSurround XT technology on board has a go at creating surround sound, we've heard it done better.
It might be pricey bur this is a great TV for high-defi nition in terms of pictures and few TVs are as enjoyable to watch as this Bravia. Jamie Carter