Customer Reviews: Sony Bravia V-Series KDL-40V2500 40-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV
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on January 16, 2007
After reading reviews of various LCD HDTVs, my main concern was how well the set would display standard definition content, which still constitutes the majority of what is available on cable. Reviews of Sonys seemed to indicate they did a better job of displaying 480i signals, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by how good standard def looks on this set...comparable or better than the tube set it's replacing. Digital channels look great, too, and of course the high def channels are fantastic. DVDs from a progressive scan player also look great.

A few points to consider when shopping for a set like this:

1. Don't get one that's too big for the viewing distance. Use 3 times the diagonal size as a guide. I sit about 10 feet away from the screen, so the 40 inch set is ideal. There is a big difference watching this TV from 4 ft. away vs. 10 ft. Sit too close (or with too big a screen) and you'll see all the grain and imperfections in a 480i signal, and even the pixel shimmer on a high def signal. Sit farther away, and the image looks much, much better.

2. Standard def in 4:3 looks better that way than trying to zoom it out to fill the wide screen. By doing so, you introduce distortion to the picture and also enlarge the 480i signal, which reduces the quality. This set has a black border, so watching a 4:3 image with the black bars on the right and left is not distracting.

3. Not all high def content is provided in 16:9 format, and the quality of the signal may vary. Some high def stations look better than others.

4. This set has backlight control that allows you to turn down the backlight brightness. This helps to improve black levels quite a bit.

5. Don't spend $80-$100 on an HDMI cable. I ordered one from Amazon for around $15 bucks and it works just fine. Digital signals are not as subject to noise and interference like an analog signal, so no need for an overpriced cable.

This TV is pretty easy to set up. The menus are fairly easy to navigate. You can tailor your settings for each input. You can have up to 8 different inputs, and the TV allows you to label each one and also to skip any that are unused. The remote is basic and doesn't allow you to control any other devices, but on the plus side, is simple to operate.

The delivery service by EGL (Eagle) was fine, and their delivery estimate was accurate. They contacted me by phone when the TV arrived to schedule a time for delivery. They arrived on time, unpacked the set, placed it on the stand, and removed the packaging. The delivery guy also helped me move my other set. The one minor problem I had was with the tracking number. Apparently, the number had been used previously a couple of years ago, so the tracking on the Amazon site was incorrect. I had to go to EGL's web site and enter it as a reference number in their tracking query in order for my order to show up.
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on January 18, 2007
From what I could tell at the store, this SONY performs just as well as the XBR3, which costs hundreds more. HD pictures are great, with no motion blur in fast moving scenes, like football or basketball. The standard definition pictures are pretty good compared to other LCD sets, but I find myself watching all kinds of HD shows that I ordinarily wouldn't bother with just becasue of the difference in picture quality.

If you're looking for a 1080p flat panel, then this is a great choice, especially for the money.

I've read that other owners are complaining about "clouding" -- the appearance of some light or white patches in what should be a black area of the screen -- but on my set it doesn't affect the picture when there is a signal, only during periods of transition between switching channels or inputs, when the screen should be completely black. I haven't noticed it at all, even during the darkest scenes, when there's an active picture on the screen.

I've also read that switching between inputs is cumbersome -- it doesn't have to be. You need to go to the Inputs menu and label all unused inputs as "Skip"; after that, pressing the "TV/Video" button on the remote will bounce you only among inputs that are actually in use.
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on December 9, 2006
I must say I am shcoked how good the picture and even the sound are on this LCD. For comparison, I also just bought an Hitachi 42HDT79 Plasma, and this gives the plasma a good showing(in 1080i mode..the hitachi has a native reso of 1024 x 1080 ie. 1080 lines of reso). Both are great.

This Sony has superior contrast, unlike most LCD's, almost plasma like. Also the standard definition cable channels are reproduced better than any LCD on the market by far...not even close. I have a 1080P upconverting DVD player by Samsung DVDHD960, and it produces spectacular images on the TV. I have nothing bad to say about the TV.

DO NOT USE AN HDMI CABLE RUNNING FROM AN HD CABLE BOX! The Cablevision HD DVR's HDMI, produces a much inferior picture when compared to using component cables. Red, Green and Blue will make your dreams come true, HDMI will make you want to cry. An HDMI connection from an upconverting DVD player on the otherhand, is just fine. It must be the quality of the cable box?

The remote control, lacks a bit, but this is made up for by lightning fast, easy to use menus.

Overall if you want an this! dont waste money on anything less. Especially those lesser quality panels..spend a few hundred more for the top tier panel. Amazing picture and sound! ENJOY
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on February 27, 2007
I owned a Samsung DLP. I paid $3000 for it three years ago and due to design flaws - too much heat and a poorly designed color wheel - the TV is broken, the guts are damaged by excessive heat to the point you can't even repair it because everything crumbles inside. It's sitting in my garage. (It's hard to throw out $3000!) Don't waste your money on a company that can't back up their product - unless you can afford it! (Back then, the extended warranty was $500 bucks)

I decided to buy the best this time. (Plasma's were a no-go due to very distracting glass reflection) The SONY 40V2500 is beautiful. It was easily the best LCD for the money. AMAZON had the best all-around deal. I shopped the usual retail stores and they were a few hundred above and would not beat AMAZON's price. Their loss! My win! I took the money I saved and purchased an upconverting Panasonic DVD player and two sets of HDMI cables! Oh, I called the other on-line companies and yeah I could have saved a few dollars more but after reading some customer nightmares and actually talking to these e-line company reps...forget it!

The SONY was delivered almost a week sooner than promised - a major plus! It was factory sealed, undamaged and unpacked quickly. Set-up took 10 minutes - was a breeze. The HD picture is the best or equal to the best of all the TV's I spent hours viewing -some costing up to nearly $8,000K.

The remote is as easy to use as any other. Plenty of connectivity for the future. The sound is great - even without the A/V receiver. DVD's are awesome! Regular TV is so-so with regular non-HiDef channels but, it's like that with ALL DLPs, Plasmas or LCDs! My wife, who really doesn't care much whether she watches CRT,DLP,LCD...said she loves the SONY too.

Oh, extended warranty? Buy the TV on your VISA/MC Platinum or Gold card, then call Visa/MC Enhancement Service Dept. at 1-800-847-2911, register your purchase and get your one year factory warranty extended to 2 years for FREE! If you want, you have the option of buying three additional years (total of 5)for $190.00! Hope this helps!
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With the latest price drop this Sony has finally come into a competitive range with the Samsungs, Sharps, Panasonics, and Toshibas. Moreover, with Amazon's 18-month interest-free financing, it's close to being a screaming value. Even so, when I saw equally impressive discounts on Sony models with "Theater-Synch" along with claims of better contrast ratios and higher bit color processors, I made the exchange. Now I wish I hadn't.

To the human eye, the picture on this set literally "pops"--more so than the more expensive Sony I "traded up" to. Moreover, this set stands an imposing inch taller and comes with a more solid and substantial remote switch than the cheap and chincy remote of the 3000 series. The picture is perfect with the exception of an unfortunate decision by Sony to make "normal" aspect ratio unavailable on this model when viewing 720p, 1080i or 1080p sources. What this means is that if you're watching a "full-screen" DVD (adapted for the conventional television screen) rather than a "wide-screen" DVD, your choices are limited to "full" screen (the image is "stretched" and consequently distorted to fill the screen) and "zoom" screen (a portion of the image is enlarged to fill the screen). Either way, Tom Cruise's body dimensions make him resemble John Candy or Chris Farley. But a solution to viewing a letterboxed 4:3 DVD image ("full screen" DVD) on this 16:9 screen with minimal to no distortion is to make the setting at the level of the Sony DVD player. As for signals telecast in high definition, simply set the picture ratio to "full" in the set's menu system, and proportional sizing is automatic.

When it comes to color, contrast, brightness, etc. settings, there are but three--Standard (looks "right on" to me), Vivid (heightened contrast and brightness, perhaps occasionally useful), Custom (higher temperature setting, more warmth to the flesh tones). Each seems tuned to perfection, and together they provide all the flexibility you need to handle any visual source. No need to touch a thing in the way of further adjustments to the color or picture. As for the set's own speakers, I tested the audio with an Oscar Peterson CD--killer acoustic bass, sizzling ride cymbals, resonating piano sonorities. You'd have to be a gadget compulsive-obsessive personality to hook it up to a separate external amp and "theater system," at least in a "live" room like mine. The set's own surround sound is as impressive as any I've heard.

Even the remote for Sony's upconverting DVD player is compatible with the V2500 set, operating both channel selection and volume. As for the "Theater-Synch" feature of the more expensive 3000 series, I still haven't figured out how to operate the model without using both Sony's and Time-Warner's switches. (So much for "One Touch" convenience.) The 2500V models were still being manufactured in late 2007, and I've seen no compelling reason as yet to swap one out. But trust the evidence of your own eyes and ears, forget about all the specs and ratings, and enjoy the few good programs (not many) that are being televised in HD.
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on November 20, 2006
Purchased this item 3 weeks ago. No complaints. This is a quality Sony product with a price tag around $2000. The HD is amazing the over the air stations are clear and the sound is above average. Many settings for calibration are included, so with a little tweaking everyone can be happy with this purchase. Only thing is no cablecard slot in this set. FYI. Don't buy the pricey HDMI cables they just have more padding then the cheaper ones no difference in VIDEO/AUDIO quality.
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on November 27, 2006
This is a very nice LCD HDTV. I looked at other brands but came back to Sony because I thought it offered the best bang for the buck. HDTV is jaw-dropping and simply stunning. I'm finding myself watching a lot of HD shows, even some I've never watched previously. Regular TV (analog/SD) is okay (especially the further away you sit). The TV's built in scaler is excellent and watching DVD's with my upconverting DVD player is darn near HD quality. Black levels are more than adequate on this set with an amazing 7000:1 contrast ratio. I am able to connect this to my Mac to use as a second monitor via HDMI > DVI and 1:1 pixel mapping is excellent with no overscan. The ability to tweak the picture to my desired taste among the various inputs is also excellent. Sound quality is better than expected though I usually use my surround sound system for movies and some TV programs. You cannot go wrong with this Sony!
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on August 11, 2007
I purchased SONY KDL40V2500 nearly two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I cannot share the same excitement as other reviewers - I almost returned it. This TV does a good job displaying HD content but a lot of digital channels are transmitted in the SD format (720x480) and those sources look terrible. The large, 40-inch, screen makes all encoding artifacts very visible. This model has a deeply buried option "MPEG Noise Reduction" (set it to the "low" level) in advanced settings to enable post-loop deblocking. It seems to me that SONY focused mainly on prices and how to overdrive LCD panels with relaxed spec to squeeze every bit of dynamic contrast. Image processing did not get enough attention in the BRAVIA engine design. Here is what I do not like in this TV:

Cloudy screen - mura patterns are visible when vertical black borders or dark scenes are displayed. You would not notice the problem in a brightly lit store but it will be visible in a dim living room.

No EPG (electronic program guide) - if you want use free-to-air broadcast, SONY TV sets are unable to take advantage of the programming information sent by stations. It is a shame that to get the program guide you still need to purchase an external HDTV tuner such Samsung DTB-H260F (I have also Pro Brand HD3150PLUS but you cannot buy it any more). Interestingly, there is a "guide" button on the remote control but it displays totally useless menus to change channels.

Image processing could be better - surprisingly, my external ATSC tuner (HD3150PLUS) that I used for almost for a year with an old CRT TV produces better images on this TV (via HDMI) than the built-in tuner. The responsiveness of the external tuner is also faster so I would use it instead.

No translucent menus and other GUI weaknesses - I like translucent menus because they allow me to read the description and follow the program at the same time. This TV has a rather poorly designed, solid color "info" banner that always covers a person face at the very moment when you want to see it. Another annoying detail is that the info banner has different sizes and shapes on different channels.

No USB input, no even the memory stick slot - Do you have a digital camera? If you do or plan to own one, then the USB connector would allow you to display photos directly from various memory cards or a miniature external USB hard drive. Viewing pictures on this TV is an amazing experience. If you like to entertain, your guests' jaws would drop to the floor when they would see digital photos on this TV. But you cannot do this easily. After trying several DVD players, I found OPPO DV-980H that handles photo slideshow very well.

Poor support for customers using external antenna - information about the incoming RF signal strength is hidden under several layers of menus and it is difficult to access. This option is important for users who attach the external antenna and need to adjust it. Apparently, SONY does not believe you would ever use the antenna - the initial setup asks you for the language you would like to speak in the US and then starts to scan cable channels and of course cannot find anything after 20 minutes. You simply need to cancel this fruitless struggle and switch TV to "cable: off" which means "RF input: antenna".

PC (SVGA) input is located in the rear of the TV set rather than on the side - Apparently, SONY thinks that the user, to attach a notebook, would simply take TV off the wall, connect the cable and hang it back again - smart! Note that the full HD resolution (1920x1080) is not supported by the PC input. Some models have an HDMI connector on the side which is probably a better option for the future.

Cheap remote control - the remote control feels cheap but for $20 or less you can buy RM-VL600 - SONY universal remote control - a marvelous gadget that would allow you to control this TV and other devices such as an external ATSC or satellite tuner or a DVD player. Another options is to spend extra $1000 for XBR to get the remote control with similar capabilities.

Overall, my score for this TV is 4 out of 5. If you cannot wait for a refined model, can tolerate cloudy screen and do not plan to use EPG or JPEG slide show then this TV is a good choice.
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on March 12, 2007
This model appears to have a clouding problem. The backlighting is very strong and there appears to be uneven levels of black when there is no input. The intensity of the problem varies from set to set and there is no fix for it. Some owners have reported seeing the problem in movies that have dark scenes. Sony is aware of the problem in other bravia sets, but they do not admit that this model has it too.

For the money, you should not have this problem or the potential for it. Now I know it's there, it really bothers me. Too bad, I like everything else about the set. But this clouding issue is a deal breaker. It is being returned.
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on July 4, 2007
Before buying this TV, I had repeatedly seen Sony LCDs at the top of the charts in Consumer Reports. But like a lot of people, I wanted to see for myself. So, I went to the stores to take a look.

In my opinion, after looking at the Sony displays next to the others in the stores, there is no comparison. Hands down, the Sony: 1) had a clearer picture; 2) had better contrast (darker blacks and lighter lights); and 3) had more accurate color.

In the end, my choice came down to this TV (KDL-40V2500) and the KDL-40XBR2/3. My Dad came with me to the store to look at them basically side by side. Both of us agreed there was virtually no difference when watching the HD programming that was on. Maybe there was a slight difference in favor of the XBR, but not $400-500 worth of difference. So unless you don't mind blowing an extra $400, go with the 40V2500.

So, I went with this TV and couldn't be happier. I have owned it for one month. HD looks great, and now I know why everyone has been talking about HD being such an improvement. Sports, movies, and nature shows (e.g. Discovery Channel) are where I have seen the greatest difference, and frankly it's spectacular!

As for buying it on Amazon: I was nervous about buying such a huge thing online, despite my long years of devotion to Amazon. Buying a DVD or book is very different from buying a $1600 40" widescreen. Neverthless, I overcame my worries, and bought it on Amazon for a few hundred dollars less than at any retail store. The delivery was great and on time. The TV arrived in great shape, and I was up and running right away.

One other thing to consider is the price of the warranty. I went with the 4 year on-site warranty. It cost me $279, about $120 less than a similar warranty at a retail store. I think it was well worth the peace of mind.

Price adjustments: Make sure to check the cost of the unit for 30 days after you buy it. If it goes down, contact customer service and they will refund you the difference. Today is the last day that I could check back, and I was refunded $121 (from $1719 to $1598).

Happy Watching!
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