"Decent picture for price if you can live with the flaws"3.5 starson by mnemonic
Pros: Matte screen! (a must for LCDs in most rooms) Reasonably accurate picture once adjusted. Good blacks & shadow detail. Styling understated, (swivel is too loose), won't clash with your LR decor. ATSC tuner is fairly quick (faster than the TWC box).
Cons: Remote is horribly designed. Input & mode display overlay eats up too much screen, stays on too long. 120Hz is useless w/o ability to disable smoothing. Menu system is waaay too big and obtrusive, obscures the picture while making adjustments.
Summary: I bought this from a friend (used) along with a BDP-S360 BR player and some discs for cheap, couldn't pass it up.Oh, one more minor complaint: there are four HDMI inputs, but '1' and '4' are on the back while '2' and '3' are on the side, and Sony recommends using HDMI 1 for a PC if you use a DVI>HDMI adaptor because it's the only input that sends EDID info back to your PC. So until my new HTR arrives I have the Blu-Ray hooked up to HDMI 2 and the stupid cable sticks out where you can see it - so if you plan to use more than two inputs, buy some right-angle HDMI cables!
In general I like the picture now that I've got it adjusted (Note: I do not think this has the same make of panel or remote control as the 46" model that CNet reviewed - their settings were off what I ended up with via DisplayMate and my own eyes).
My real problems with this set are all in the interface and remote: both are very poorly designed, so much so as to make using the remote an exercise in frustration. The central control is a 'select' button & 4-way rocker pad surrounded by a ring of six direct function buttons, and I guarantee that you will mistakenly skip over the rocker and accidentally hit one of the function keys every other time you pick up the remote - the buttons are simply too similar and close together. Oh, and there's that 'hidden' power button on the bottom of the remote? *** Sony, seriously?! (OK, we all know I hate the remote now. :D)
The on-screen menu is way too obtrusive for a 1080 res. display. It could have been half the size and still perfectly legible, and it's just transparent enough to be annoying since you can't really see through it. Plus, the input display features a gradient that covers the entire top 15% of the screen just to show tiny input text that says things like "HDMI 1". And this display hangs around for nearly ten seconds after you turn on the set! Very annoying when you've tuned in late for something, until I discovered that hitting Display twice dismisses it.
Otherwise the set produces a pretty good picture when 'calibrated' (I don't have an Eye One sensor yet, so DisplayMate and my eyes are it for now). Off-angle is better than many sets I've looked at, and vertical angles are decent (it goes a tiny bit green when I lie on the sofa, but not too bad).
Unfortunately, the SD upscaling is really pretty lousy, with lots of artifacts and noise - but who watches SD any more? :)
You really want to turn off every picture 'enhancement' the TV offers to get the best picture - I found the picture artificially 'soft' when any of the noise reduction, Motionflow or even the CineMotion options are turned on.
Here are the current settings on my 40EX500, in a somewhat light-controlled room with two floor lamps (30w GE Reveal bulbs) flanking the set for 'movie time':
Picture Mode: Custom
Color Temperature: Warm 2
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Ambient Sensor: Off
--Advanced Settings menu--
Adv. Contrast Enhancer: Off
Black Corrector: Off
Clear White: Off
Live Color: Off
--White Balance menu--
Wide Mode: Full
Auto Wide: Off
4:3 Default: Off [grayed out]
Display Area: Full Pixel
Horizontal Center: 0 [grayed out]
Vertical Center: 0 [grayed out]
--Scene button (no Home menu or button on this set's remote)--
Anyway, I do like the picture, and the graphic EQ in the audio section is a nice feature if you use the TV speakers. And once I get around to programming my learning remote for the TV's controls I won't have to deal with the Sony one any more. :D
The TL:DR - Good eye-pleasing picture for the cash (remote sucks hard). :D
Updated on Dec 15, 2010