What is the Sony KDL-40W905A
Design and Connections
The Connected Devices option obviously allows you to select from any connected devices, although there is also a dedicated input button on the remote which tended to be a faster method. Finally there's the Settings option where you can access the i-Manual, the Display Settings, the Sound Settings, the System Settings, External Input Settings, Network Settings and Digital or Analogue Setup. Make sure you turn off the Light Sensor in the Eco section of the System Settings menu or you will limit the brightness of the panel.
For these measurements we left everything as before and just used the two-point white balance control to calibrate the greyscale. Aside from that there really was nothing else we could do, so let's hope it works. We only needed to drop red and green a few notches at 80IRE for the greyscale to fall into place. Now red, green and blue are all tracking at our target of 100, resulting in DeltaEs (errors) of less than one. This is below the tolerance level of three, which is the point at which the human eye can no longer distinguish the differences, so we would class this as a reference performance.
Deinterlacing performance was also excellent in both high and standard definition, with jaggies only appearing when the line was at an acute angle in the first test and, in the second, slight jaggies only appeared on the bottom bar of the three moving bars. With a Blu-ray player set to 1080i the display correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests provided the Full Pixel option is enabled. Once 1:1 pixel mapping had been enabled, the 40W905 was able to display all fine luma and chroma details. It also had no problems displaying peak white along with just above reference black with no clipping or crushing and it could also show all the primary colours at very high levels without losing detail.
As with last year there are a number of options when it comes to Motionflow, which is Sony's name for their frame interpolation software. The first two choices - 'Standard' and 'Smooth' - use heavy interpolation which results in an overly smooth effect that is best avoided with film-based content. The other options use different methods that might appeal to some people depending on how susceptible to flicker they are. If you choose Impulse you'll see an immediate dimming of the picture and possibly flicker due to black frame insertion. Since the 40W905 copes perfectly well pulling down 4 frames at 96Hz the 'Impulse' option seems slightly redundant, especially as 'Clear Plus' uses 4:4 pulldown with a black frame insertion technique that flickers considerably less. However both 'Clear' and 'Clear Plus' do use some frame interpolation which can be spotted if you know what to look for. 'True Cinema' increases the frame rate by repeating rather than interpolating, thus reducing judder, so for film content that was our preferred choice.
At just under 23ms the 40W905 has one of the lowest input lags we've measured, not just this year but any year. Whatever Sony are doing to bypass all their processing, it's certainly working and it's a big improvement on last year. Whilst you can argue about the point at which input lag can be perceived, there was no question that the low lag on the 40W905 resulted in a smooth and responsive gaming experience. Any serious gamer who is looking for a TV that combines a great image with a very low input lag should demo the 40W905, there really is almost nothing that comes close.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 56W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 43W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 55W
Sony KDL-40W905A Picture Quality - 2D
Whatever the reasons, there's no denying that the 40W905 produces some genuinely lovely 2D images, with well defined and natural looking colours. The calibrated greyscale also helps here, whilst the excellent blacks and very effective local dimming also played their part, resulting in images with a superb dynamic range. Fine detail was also impressive, as was the motion handling and whilst we turned most of the unnecessary image processing off, deinterlacing and scaling was generally very good. As we mentioned in the test section, the excellent native blacks come at a price and the viewing angle is slightly limited but that seems a small price to pay. Apart from that, the 40W905 was a stellar performer, producing some of the nicest LCD based images we've seen. Whether we were watching standard or high definition content, the results were equally spectacular, with our recently acquired Blu-rays of Jack Reacher and A Good Day to Die Hard looking particularly impressive.
Sony KDL-40W905A Picture Quality - 3D
- Impressive black levels and contrast ratio
- Excellent backlight uniformity
- Superb colour accuracy out-of-the-box
- Reference greyscale post-calibration
- Picture processing is of a very high standard
- Much improved 3D performance
- Lots of video-on-demand content
- Excellent remote app
- Plenty of connections
- Extremely low input lag
- Build quality could be better
- Viewing angles could be better
- 3D glasses could use side shielding
Sony KDL-40W905A TV Review
The menu system has been redesigned as well and although it does still contain some XMB DNA it's a definite improvement. Whilst the majority of settings and features are easy to access, Sony still has an annoying habit of burying important picture options under layers of unnecessary menus. We also lament the passing of the 'Theatre' button on the remote, which automatically selected the most accurate picture mode and annoyingly there is still no simple way of exiting many of the menus. Still by using the Home key and the new menu system you can easily access most features, whilst the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) button takes you to all the apps, which are now in one handy location. Sony has wisely concentrated on video-on-demand and catch-up services, with all the major ones covered, although the continued absence of 4OD and ITV Player when they're available on the PS3 remains an annoyance. The built-in WiFi makes networking simple and the media player is effective, with excellent file support. Sony claimed to have improved sound this year and the 40W905's audio performance was quite good, although there was some distortion at higher volumes.
However, where the 40W905 really delivered the goods was in terms of its picture. The out-of-the-box accuracy was exceptional and, after tweaking the greyscale, the 40W905 delivered a reference level of colour accuracy - which is just a well since it doesn't have a CMS. The video processing was generally excellent and the local dimming feature proved highly effective without introducing unwanted artefacts. In fact, the native black levels were excellent even without the local dimming engaged which, along with the limited viewing angles, suggested the use of a VA panel. The ANSI contrast ratio was also very impressive, with plenty of dynamic range. The picture quality with 2D material was lovely, with accurate images, good motion handling and plenty of detail. The 3D performance was also excellent, with no visible crosstalk and plenty of depth to the images. The energy consumption was extremely efficient and at 23ms the 40W905 has one of the lowest input lags we've measured.
It's always a good sign when you're struggling to find any faults with a TV and Sony's KDL-40W905 barely puts a foot wrong. It delivers a winning combination of performance, design and features that makes it difficult to resist, easily standing toe-to-toe with some strong competition. If you're in the market of a new LED LCD TV, the W90 should definitely be on your short-list.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
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