Sony Bravia KDL40V 5810 HD TV

The latest Bravia HD TV in Sony's “V” range is this, the KDL40V 5810 and it sports integrated Freesat, Freeview and analogue tuners; Applicast, Live Colour and 24P True Cinema along with all the other Bravia goodies.

The KDL40V is a sleek, piano black finished 40-inch LCD HD TV with 1920x1080P resolution and arrives updating the “V” range of Sony Bravia sets with Bravia Engine 3 picture processing power, Live Colour – for improved colour reproduction, particularly good for reds and greens among other clever kittery.

This kit includes a LAN connection so you can get access to the rather underwhelming internet based Applicast features (fun widgets for things such as weather, calendars and clocks for example) and Sony's Advanced Contrast  Enhancer, which helps to ensure the set produce deep blacks and indeed it does.

Another bonus is the ease of set up which uses a Wizard style approach and Sony's now ubiquitous XMB (or cross menu bar) menu system to access features and settings and is fast and easy to do. Selection desired inputs starts the process of tuning and the TV runs you through each tuner's modes as you progress.

But one of the neatest newer features is Voice Zoom where you can boost audio for voices to produce more distinct dialogue within nosier scenes, such as actor's dialogue within in a movie action sequence with explosions, and so helping improve overall audio. The TV's built-in S-Force Font Surround audio system is also good and the speakers provide a rich distortion free sound output though the full volume setting is a little underwhelming.

The set's Eco viewing modes and a light sensor that allows the TV to adjust its brightness according to ambient light in the room all help keep power consumption down. However, in the lowest power setting, screen illumination looks a little uneven at the edges, reminiscent of vignetting on a wide angle photograph; subtle but there. 

Features such as Picture Frame mode fly in the face of those eco friendly modes, well a tad at least, as this allows you to use the TV as a large picture frame and while that's a very funky feature to have it makes any eco modes seem a bit superfluous.

As well as the new Freesat tuner, the 5810 also has a Freeview tuner built in and of course an analogue tuner (although some versions of this TV in other countries may not have all these) but this makes your TV viewing options completely covered. Satellite connectivity is of course there for the likes of Sky and so everyone is more or less covered.

Combine that with four HDMI inputs (two on the back, two on the side), dual scart sockets and component and composite connections and you can plug in a host of accessories such as Blu ray, VHS and/or additional TV tuners making it even more flexible in terms of viewing options.

Bravia Sync means other Sony products connected tot he TV can be controlled by the one remote (hurray!) so there's less of a bun fight over which remote does what, that's if you have another Sony appliance of course.

While it's true there are the usual problems with standard definition sources, these are mitigated well by the Sony's picture processing, which helps smooth and reduce the effects of compression artifacts and the like.

I used my PS3 and my Freesat's BBC HD channel as the High Definition sources and it is is here the TV really comes alive with improved sound and superb picture quality. Interestingly, the  set's picture presets such as Vivid, Standard and a Custom mode, each allow you to tweak the picture to your liking or to suit the source, using adjustments to contrast, colour and brightness changes. 

The TV's Cinema mode  boosts contrast with a ratio of 60,000:1 and sets the picture how a movie director intended with 24p frame rate that works really well, it's nice that this is controlled by a separate button on the easy to use remote control which comes with the TV.

Here the highlights are recovered and the brightness and colours muted (Cinema mode is intended for darkened room viewing), the 1080p 25hz (in Freesat BBC HD) and 24p picture modes, the latter for Blu ray HD sources, provides stunning picture quality and either way you look at it, the picture quality is some of the best I've seen from an LCD TV of this type.

Verdict: 
Sony has done a good job on its updated V-series HD TV range and the 40V 5810 is a good example with a nice balance between features, screen size, price and connectivity. And although it's not the top of the tree as far as Sony's higher end models go, such as the premium X-series TVs, it is nevertheless a great set and well worth the money; you get a great set of features for a great price.