Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sony 40 Inch LCD TV Initial Impressions

Sony 40The Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV comes in a box 210 x 1250 x 785 mm weighing 26 kg. It is light enough for one person to lift, but so large it takes to to move it. This is much heavier and larger than a LCD projector. But it is lighter than a comparable sized plasma screen.

The unit is relatively simple to unpack and assemble, with a stand which slots into the bottom of the screen and is held with four bolts.

I connected an VGA cable to a computer and composite input from a digital set top box. The unit also has HDMI 2 input, but I did not have a HDMI cable available. No cables were supplied with the unit, apart from the power cable.

Plugged in using VGA to my laptop, the screen gave a very clear computer display, but disappointingly dim. The display was not bright enough to be used in a room with sunlight coming through the window. The display was unusable in conditions where a 24 inch Dell 2405FPW LCD display worked fine. When sunlight in the room was reduced, the screen brightened enough to be usable.

Plugged into a digital set top box via component video, the unit gave an acceptable resolution image. However, as with the PC display, the image was not bright enough to be comfortably viewed. It turned out that this was a problem with the Power Saving feature. When set to "high" this dims the screen. This makes the unit not bright enough for typical digital signage or presentation applications. Turing this power saving setting to "off" was the only way to obtain an acceptable level of brightness.

Power consumption

When I plugged the unit in it drew 76 Watt. The unit arrived in "shop" mode, with the power savings setting turned off. It took some time to work out how to turn off this mode. Many people would not find, or not be able to set, the power saving setting and Sony should set them on before delivery.

The unit used 120 Watt when displaying moving component video and 123 Watt with PC input. When in standby mode it used 26 Watt. The unit also has a physical power switch which reduced consumption to less than 1 Watt (the limit of measurement of my power meter).

Safety Problem

The instruction manual for the unit includes advice for preventing the TV from toppling over. This says to install a machine screw (not supplied) into a hole on the the TV and tie a "strong cord" (not supplied) to it, with the other end secured to the TV stand with a bolt (not supplied). These instructions will not be relevant in most educational and digital signage applications, where the unit will be securely attached to a wall with a Vesa mount. However, the manual instructions are inadequate and the unit is unsafe for home use, as supplied. The unit should be withdrawn from retail sale until this is corrected.

See also: "Sony BRAVIA WE Series LCD TV".

ps: Sony TVs are also available via but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

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