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Sony KDL-40S5100 LCD HDTV Review

40 in.

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Blacks & Whites

Blacks & Whites Summary
{{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-40S5100-vanity.jpg']}} • Excellent black level • Good contrast ratio • Testing done using DisplayMate Software
{{article.attachments['tvi-prev.jpg']}} Tour & Design Page 3 of 18 Color Accuracy {{article.attachments['tvi-next.jpg']}}

Black Level*(8.23)*


We measured the Sony KDL-40S5100's black level at an impressive 0.09 candelas per meter squared (cd/m2). This provides a very deep black level, giving you a lot of detail in dark areas of the scene. You can see below that it compares well with the Samsung LN40B650, and is far better than our other two comparison models.

Black Level
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Peak Brightness*(7.82)*


The Sony KDL-40S5100 wasn't quite as bright as some of its competitors at 260 cd/m2. You can see below that this lags behind other comparison models. Still, it should be plenty bright for almost all viewing situations, just don't expect to be able to see content if a bright light is shining onto the display.

Peak Brightness
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Contrast*(7.94)*


The Sony KDL-40S5100's contrast ratio was 2890:1, which is well above average. Because the human eye is very sensitive to contrast having a wide range of contrast is important on an HDTV. Below you can see that the KDL-40S5100 easily beat out the Vizio and JVC models, mostly thanks to it's much better black level, but fell short of the Samsung, which has one of the best contrast ratios we've ever seen.

Contrast
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Tunnel Contrast*(9.74)*


In this test we look at how well the black level holds up as it represents a smaller proportion of the screen. The Sony KDL-40S5100 did very well in this test, with the black level staying at impressively low levels even when black only  made up 5% of the display. This is important because variation in this test means that the contrast ratio you'll get in real life viewing situations may be different from the number we provide above. This won't be a problem with the Sony KDL-40S5100.

Tunnel Contrast
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White Falloff*(9.94)*


This test is the opposite of the one above, here we see how well the peak brightness holds up as the percentage of the screen that's white is reduced. Once again the Sony KDL-40S5100 did well, with the peak brightness staying consistent from 100% white down to 5% white.

White Falloff
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Uniformity*(8.75)*


The Sony KDL-40S5100's display is extremely uniform. We detected no blotches or inconsestencies across the center of the display with either a white or black screen. With the white screen there was only a very minor dimming at the corners, and with the black screen there was almost no brightening at the corners. The KDL-40S5100's was one of the most uniform we've ever seen.

 

Greyscale Gamma*(8.99)*


We measured the Sony KDL-40S5100's gamma at 2.37. Gamma is the curve along which a television makes changes from dark to light. The larger the gamma number the more aggressive the television is. Our ideal gamma is about 2.2, so the KDL-40S5100 is pretty close to our ideal here. Too aggressive a gamma can cause a television to wash out fine details in certain areas, which shouldn't be a problem with the KDL-40S5100.

Greyscale Gamma
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Resolution Scaling*(7.7)*


The Sony KDL-40S5100 is a full 1080p HDTV, which means it can natively handle the highest quality of HD content out there. Unfortunately most content comes in different formats. Here we look at how well the television handles these different formats and resolutions.

480p*(8.8)*

This is standard definition content that you get from broadcast television or DVDs. The Sony KDL-40S5100 does a reasonable job upscaling this content to the screen's resolution. You get about 2% overscan on all sides, which means 2% of the scene is cut off on all sides. We saw no major problems with moire patterns and both legibility and resolution was good.

720p*(6.8)*

This is officially high definition content, albeit the lowest quality of HD. 720p is used by a lot of web content and is sometimes used by sporting events. The Sony KDL-40S5100 cut off about 2% of the screen on all sides with 720p. We also noticed serious problems with moire patterns. These are complex patterns that televisions sometimes have trouble processing. With the KDL-40S5100 we noticed strange patterns appearing that should not be there, as well as some pixel crawl, which gives you the effect of moving dots on the screen. Legilibity and resolution were good.

1080i*(7.5)*

Most broadcast HD content comes in 1080i. This is the same resolution as 1080p, but instead of displaying all 1080 lines at once it interlaces two sets of 540 lines. The Sony KDL-40S5100 did a reasonable job here. We did notice some green coloring and minor pixel crawl with some moire patterns, and legibility isn't great because of the high resolution.

 

Compare the Sony KDL-40S5100 to other HDTVs
{{article.attachments['Samsung-LN40B650-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['VIZIO-SV471XVT-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC-LT-42P300-vanity.jpg']}}
Samsung LN40B650 40 inches Vizio SV471XVT 47 inches JVC LT-42P300 42 inches
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Formats & Media
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Vs Samsung LN40B650
  14. Vs Vizio SV471XVT
  15. Vs JVC LT42P300
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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