Published On: February 27, 2009

Sony KDL-40XBR7 LCD HDTV Reviewed

Published On: February 27, 2009

Sony KDL-40XBR7 LCD HDTV Reviewed

The 40-inch KDL-40XBR7 wears Sony's premium XBR badge with pride. "Floating" side speakers, a 120Hz refresh rate, RS-232, and the Bravia Engine 2 EX processor are all included in this top-line model. Adrienne Maxwell takes a look for HTR.

Sony_KDL-40XBR7_LCD_HDTV.gifOne of Sony's higher-end lines, the XBR7 Series incorporates most of Sony's top-of-the-line technologies - excluding the LED backlighting found in the premium XBR8 models. This LCD line uses a traditional fluorescent backlight and features three models, sized at 40, 52, and 70 inches. The KDL-52XBR7 is the only Sony model to offer a 240Hz frame rate, while the KDL-40XBR7 and KDL-70XBR7 both have a 120Hz frame rate.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore Blu-ray player pairing options in our Blu-ray Player Review section.

We have not performed a hands-on review of the KDL-40XBR7, but here is an overview of the TV's features. This 40-inch, 1080p LCD employs Sony's Bravia Engine 2 EX processor and features Motionflow 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur with faster-moving content (a common LCD issue) and also to minimize the appearance of judder in film sources. For those people who really like the super-smooth motion you get from a TV that interpolates frames to create 120Hz, Sony's Motionflow is one of the better examples of the form.

In terms of connectivity and picture adjustments, the KDL-40XBR7 is as fully loaded as the top-shelf XBR8 models. The generous connection panel includes four HDMI, two component video, one PC, and one RF input to access the internal NTSC, ATSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and one HDMI input is located on the side panel for easy access. The TV Guide on Screen program guide and picture-in-picture functionality are available. The KDL-40XBR7 also sports a lot of connection options for the digital media fan: A side-panel USB port supports JPEG/MP3 playback, and the back panel features a DMPort for connecting digital media devices, an Ethernet port for streaming photos (not music) from a PC or DLNA-certified server (and for easy firmware upgrades), and a DMeX port to attach one of Sony's Bravia Link devices: the Internet Video Link, Wireless Link, DVD Link, or Input Link. The TV also features an RS-232 port for easier integration into an advanced control system.

The setup menu includes an excellent assortment of picture adjustments, beginning with four picture modes for video content (vivid, standard, cinema, and custom) and four modes specifically for photo viewing. You get four color temperatures (cool, neutral, warm 1, and warm 2), noise reduction, an adjustable backlight, and a light sensor that can automatically tailor the TV's light output to suit your viewing environment. The menu also includes white balance and gamma controls, as well as two color spaces. The Motionflow 120Hz menu includes three options: off, standard, and high. The off mode creates 120Hz by duplicating frames, while the standard and high modes offer varying degrees of frame interpolation to produce smoother movement with film sources. (This TV lacks the "Clear" setting you get with the Motionflow 120Hz Pro technology used in the XBR8 Series, which employs the sequential scanning of the LED backlights to reduce motion blur without adding frame interpolation.) The KDL-40XBR7 offers four aspect ratios for SD content and five for HD content, and you can set up the TV to display 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.

Read about the high points and the low points of the KDL-40XBR7 on Page 2.

Sony_KDL-40XBR7_LCD_HDTV.gif

The audio setup menu includes three preset sound modes (standard, dynamic, and clear voice), S-FORCE surround processing, and treble, bass, and balance controls. Other features include Voice Zoom to adjust vocal clarity, Sound Booster to improve bass and treble response, and Steady Sound to reduce volume discrepancies.

The KDL-40XBR7 shares the same aesthetic as the higher-end XBR8 models, sporting a glossy black finish with glass accents and side-aligned speakers; for an additional fee, you can customize the speaker panels in your choice of ruby, sterling, or platinum.

High Points
• Motionflow 120Hz technology effectively reduces motion blur and can produce super-smooth motion with film-based sources. 
• This TV has a 1080p resolution and will accept 24p sources via its HDMI inputs.
• The KDL-40XBR7's screen is not reflective, and the TV is capable of a lot of light output, which makes it a good fit for a well-lit room. 
• The TV has numerous connection options and picture adjustments.

Low Points
• The viewing angle is only average.
• While other manufacturers are adding Web features to their TVs, Sony requires that you purchase a separate Bravia Link module to enjoy such functionality.
• This TV lands at the high end of the price spectrum for a 40-inch LCD, even compared with other models that offer 120Hz technology.

Conclusion
The Sony KDL-40XBR7 is a fully loaded LCD HDTV. If you're just looking for a basic 40-inch 120Hz LCD, you can find less-expensive options elsewhere, even in Sony's line. However, if you'd like the full complement of digital-media connections and a TV that utilizes Sony's higher-end imaging technologies, the KDL-40XBR7 is worth a look.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore Blu-ray player pairing options in our Blu-ray Player Review section.

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