What do you get when you combine Freesat with a Sony Bravia? The KDL-40W5810, that’s what. The ambitious satellite service joins plenty of other digital goodies inside this shiny black beast, and we find out how they all get along in our Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 review.
Sony’s latest Freesat-toting Bravias may be catering for a minority, but it’s a growing one, particularly with the satellite service’s HD content starting to blossom. Having it integrated into your TV does away with the need for at least one piece of digital kit in your living room, and for that alone the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 deserves credit.
On the looks front, the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 is tidy in a functional sense, but you couldn’t really call it attractive. The low-slung stand and squared-off edges give it a slightly squat appearance, and the silver trim running between the bezel and speaker below the screen itself can be distracting.
Connectivity is equally functional, but in a good way. You get four HDMIs, split equally between the back and the left edge – although strangely the connections cluster on the back is towards the left itself, so is only a few centimetres away.
Sony’s own speakers do an adequate job, but digital audio output means you can nestle the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 into a dedicated home cinema setup without hassle, while there’s also a D-Sub and USB port for the more computer-minded.
Freesat aside, the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 shares most of Sony’s latest digital tech with its upper-mid-range Bravia brethren, with similar results. As we’ve seen before, Bravia Engine 3 does a great job with HD and particularly SD pictures, while the Real Cinema feature offers Blu-ray playback at cinema-matching 1080/24. Picture quality doesn’t quite reach LED standards, but it’s closer than we expected.
Sony has thrown in Applicast, its proprietary ring-fenced IPTV service. As we’ve come across with every other TV maker’s equivalent, Applicast is a useful idea throttled by a lack of choice. Unless manufacturers loosen their control over which content providers you can use, or embrace a third party service that does it for them, we just can’t see IPTV taking off.
Freesat, however, fits naturally in the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810′s feature set, even if it doesn’t have a dedicated home on the remote control. But setup was simple enough and despite a limited EPG we had no real complaints.
Indeed, for the most part the Sony Bravia KDL-40W5810 hits all the right marks. Black levels are excellent, it’s capable with high and standard-def pictures from a kaleidoscope of sources, and it’s reasonably well priced. It’s just missing that ultimate wow factor, and for that reason misses out on maximum marks