Great HD picture quality and web TV, let down by poor 3D
This 40inch Freeview HD super-thin LED screen sits at the top end of Sony’s mainstream EX range. As such, it’s equipped with all the latest features, including net connectability, integrated Wi-Fi, media streaming and a bulging IPTV portal. It also boasts 3D compatibility – but we kinda wish it didn’t.
Sony KDL-40EX724: Build and features
The design of the EX724 is predictably slick. Despite being just 42mm thin, there’s plenty of useful connectivity. There are three rear-placed HDMI inputs, supported by Scart, component, stereo audio, Ethernet LAN and a digital optical out. This jack pack is supplemented by additional side-facing inputs: a fourth HDMI, two USBs, a PC mini D-Sub and a CI slot for Top Up TV.
Like all of Sony’s 2011 TVs, the screen benefits from a new user interface and a revamp of the brand’s BRAVIA Internet Video Portal. More than just a fresh paint job, the changes make the TV generally more fun and intuitive to use. Internet connectivity opens the doors to more than 25 channels of extra content, including heavyweight attractions such as BBCiPlayer, YouTube, DailyMotion and more.
There’s also Sony’s Qriocity Video on Demand movie service and music subscription offerings – although during our audition these were offline following the brand’s PSN hack-attack.
Both Facebook and Twitter have been neatly integrated via dedicated widgets. The set also includes an internet browser, but it’s impossible to use from more than a few feet away as the displayed text is so small. It does not support embedded Flash content.
Sony KDL-40EX724: 2D picture quality
Hi-def picture quality on the 40EX724 is reassuringly impressive. This screen benefits from Motionflow XR200, Sony’s proprietary framerate booster. This ensures detail is retained during fast motion. Lesser screens in Sony’s EX range don’t have Motionflow and as a result struggle to offer more than 650 lines of moving resolution, which is rubbish for TV sports coverage and the like. Things are decidedly better here.
There are four Motionflow modes: Clear, Clear Plus, Standard and Smooth. Of these the best is Clear, bringing home a full 1080 lines of speedy clarity without any nasty motion artefact surcharge.
Black level and contrast are also fine. Demanding night HD test footage shot around the Tokyo Tower played out beautifully. The bright highlights of the midnight skyline didn’t obliterate shadow detail at all.
Incidentally, ensure that you turn Off Auto Display Area in the menu settings. If you don’t the screen will overscan and you’ll lose picture information behind the bezel.
Sony KDL-40EX724: 3D picture quality and audio
And so to the crunch: the 40EX724 has the dubious distinctive of delivering the worst 3D we’ve seen since Jaws the Revenge. Normally 3D TVs fall over due to double imaging - if only that were all that’s wrong here. We also experienced parallax errors that brought background items forward toward the screen plane, edges blurred by polarisation effects and drunken colour fringing, and stuttering motion. Even without 3D glasses, the processing problems are clear to see. Interestingly, Sony does not supply any Active Shutterb glasses with this set. These are an optional extra buyers will need to budget for.
Still, the sound system on this TV is perfectly fine if a little thin (there’s no subwoofer).
Overall, the 40EX724 has much to recommend it: the feature spread is tasty, image quality is above average and it’s stunningly inexpensive to run, thanks to its super efficient Edge-lit LED panel. But the set’s 3D performance has sent us scurrying for a lie down in a darkened room.
Sony KDL-40EX724 launch date: Out now
Sony KDL-40EX724 price: £1049 from Sony
Sony KDL-40EX724 Specs
- SCREEN: 40inch LED 3D LCD TV
- RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 Full HD
- TECHNOLOGY: Edge-lit LED LCD
- TV TUNER:: Freeview HD, analogue
- CONNECTIONS: four HDMI, SCART, component, phono AV, PC mini D-sub, 2x USB, Ethernet LAN
- SOUND: 20w (2 x 10w)
- AUDIO: Nicam Stereo, Dolby Digital Plus
- DIMENSIONS/WEIGHT:943x 586 x 42mm/11.2kg