Sony's puts net connectivity first with affordable 2D LED
The 40inch KDL-40EX524 is the first of a new generation of internet connected TVs from Sony. Designed to bring the joys of IPTV to a mainstream audience, it offers a veritable Tasting Menu of leading edge tech.
It’s also an enthusiastic eco flag waver. The set is A-Rated for energy efficiency and features some sensible green functionality, including a Presence Sensor which automatically turns the TV off to save juice when there’s no longer anyone around to watch it.
Sony KDL-40EX524: Build and features
This TV may be too thin at 4.2cm to have side mounted AV inputs (they’re recessed behind on a ledge), but that doesn’t dampen its visual appeal at all.
Backside connections include three HDMI inputs, Scart, component and stereo audio, plus a digital audio output and Ethernet. On the side of the rear jack pack is an additional HDMI, two USBs, PC mini D-Sub and a CI slot.
The 40EX524 ushers in a new look user interface for Sony TVs. After an age with the XrossMediaBar, we have a refresh. The Home button now minimises the TV window allowing a new navigation bar to run along the bottom of the screen simultaneously.
There are also significant changes to the look of Sony’s BRAVIA Internet Video portal. Gone is that interminably long list of content and in comes a new tiled grid. This makes grazing much easier. Attractions include Sony’s own Qriocity music and video On Demand service, BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 (surely a misnomer if ever there was one), Sky News, LoveFilm, Sony Entertainment TV, Eurosport, YouTube and Daily Motion.
Unlike Samsung’s Smart Hub or Panasonic’s VIERA Connect, Sony hasn’t gone down the apps route. That said, we do get the option of Skype web-calling. There’s also a simple web browser should you feel the need, but it doesn’t support embedded flash video and the text is teeny tiny.
Also new is the ability to conduct searches for music and video info online, as well as run Track ID, which uses the Gracenote database, to learn more about any live music being broadcast.
One thing that hasn’t much changed is the brand’s media streaming support. Sony still refuses to acknowledge the existence of MKVs. Across our test network, the 40EX524 managed to stream AVIs, AVCHD and MPEG4 files only. Music support covers MP3, WMA and WAV. Presentation is slick, with album art featured.
Sony KDL-40EX524: 2D picture quality and audio
While the feature spread is top draw, this set (like related EX523 models) lacks Motionflow, Sony’s picture refreshing technology. Consequently, moving resolution is poor. We measured it at around 600-650 lines, down from a static 1080 lines. This inevitably translates to blurry sports footage, although it’s not so noticeable with regular TV fare. Black levels are good. Even in low light, night scenes don’t grey out. Colour fidelity is vibrant.
Despite the TV’s slender frame, audio performance is perfectly serviceable. At some point you may want to add a 2.1 or soundbar solution to toughen things up a little, as there’s no subwoofer onboard.
Overall we’d rate the 40EX524 a fine net connected telly with a tasty feature spread. Just don’t expect cutting edge picture technology thrown in too.
Sony KDL-40EX524 price: Around £799 online
Sony KDL-40EX524 launch date: Out now, link Sony
Sony KDL-40EX524 specs
- Screen 40inch LED LCD TV
- Resolution:1920 x 1080 Full HD
- TV Tuner: Freeview HD, analogue
- Sound: 20w (2 x 10w)
- Audio: Nicam Stereo, Dolby Digital Plus
- Connections: our HDMI, SCART, component, phono AV, PC mini D-sub, 2x USB, Ethernet LAN
- Dimensions/weight: 943x 586 x 42 mm/11.2