I bought this TV for several reasons - Primarily, to replace my old LG 32" LCD that will soon see the end of it's CCFL life expectancy. (Yes, I use it that much lol) And most importantly, for use as both an entertainment medium (movies, shows, video games, etc) and a workstation (PC monitor)
After having the 40EX400 for several days, it became clear to me that I was going to return it and pursue something else. Still, this isn't necessarily a negative review. It just wasn't the right TV to suit my needs. I hope the review below helps others out, whom are debating purchasing this TV. Although it wasn't what I was looking for, perhaps it is right for you.
First off, I'll say that the main reason I'm writing this review is simply due to the fact that I wasn't really able to find many solid reviews on this tv myself. Seeing as how I repair electronics for a living, I felt that I may as well write my own, to possibly help out others like me, who tend to skip reviews that start with, "This is my first HDTV, and I love it!"...
As stated before, I purchased the 40EX400 for use as a PC monitor as well as a TV. However, since that is probably not the commonality, I'll start off by covering my opinions on the set being used as a general TV (watching movies, shows, etc.), and then below, my take on it's use as a PC monitor.
If you are looking for a TV to watch movies & cable on, the 40EX400 is certainly not a bad choice. For the price, and the quality of the makesmanship by Sony, I would have to rate it quite high in fact.
The main pro is definitely the excellent 60hz refresh rate handling, which is definitely a key feature to take into consideration when purchasing an HDTV.
As many of you may be aware - with the increased definition attained from HD technology, also comes increased defects. Motion blur is one of the biggest offenders. The newer 120hz TVs solve this completely, but are also a bit more expensive.
Impressively, Sony's Bravia 2 engine, through use of the CineMotion option (set to Auto in the OnScreenDisplay), solves this completely. In other words, this is an excellent TV for a 60hz rate. Blur in fast moving action scenes will not be a problem at all.
(I should note that LG's XD engine is also admirable as well in this respect)
Aside from the refresh rate, the 40EX400 offers fairly decent power consumption for a 40" LCD. And that is under the assumption that the TV is being used at it's maximum settings. Power save options, and an Ambient Light Sensor are also available to really cut down power consumption; However, in all actuality, these settings are only turning down the output of the CCFLs, and are not actually "saving power" without a signifigant loss in display.
So, if dimming the monitor does not bother you, then I suppose having these options can be beneficial, as they will cretainly save you around 30%, if not slightly more, on the dent to your electric bill that the TV makes.
As far as cons go, viewing angle is always an issue in regards to LCD TVs, and the viewing angle issue with the 40EX400 is no exception. Quite frankly, if you are looking to purchase a set strictly for watching shows & movies, it is beyond me why you would not purchase a plasma set.
Anyhow, the viewing angle on the 40EX400 is quite subpar for even most LCDs on the market today. If you are planning on viewing from 6 feet away or less, I would highly discourage getting this TV. The CCFLs are far too bright, and in any dark scene, at any angle past 25 degrees of dead-on, the bluish tinge from the CCFLs shines brightly through the black portions of the screen.
If you are viewing the TV from 7 feet or further away, however, you do gain a bit in angle lineancy. When positioned further back, the "tinge" is not visible until veering past 45 degrees.
Nonethless, I have to say that as a whole, I'd rate the viewing angle on the 40EX400 quite poorly, compared to other LCDs on the market. Tecnically speaking, this is simply due to the thickness (or lack thereof) & type of glass pane Sony used in the TV.
It's not surprising really, seeing as how thinner & slimmer is all the trend right now. However, until more reliable methods of front pane design are put into use, this remains one the bizarre reasons that older, heavier (not to mention more power consuming) LCDs still out-perform current models, in regards to viewing angle.
Where the 40EX400 really failed for me, was in it's use as a PC monitor. Despite the available adjustments and settings, the color engine is simply not designed for use with the PC. Colors are washed out, and the although adjustment settings are available to enhance colors - they only do so at the expense of clarity. For movies and video, this makes very little difference, but it makes a program like Photoshop impossible to use. And naturally, since one tends to be closer to the screen w/a PC, the bluish backlight tinge on a dark bkgd is abysmal, even at the slightest offset from center.
So in summary, I'd rate the 40EX400 a fairly good LCD, and a nicely priced purchase for it's size and quality - particularly for those on a budget. So long as it was mounted at a direct viewing angle, this would make an excellent bedroom TV. But for those looking for a monitor, I would recommend steering clear.
As I mentioned before though, if you are looking for a TV to strictly watch movies & shows on, you should go with plasma. If you have no desire to play video games or use the TV as a PC monitor, then don't even bother with an LCD - I sure wouldn't =]
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