Triluminos LED edge-lighting, based on quantum-dot technology, extends a television’s colour gamut for richer, deeper hues. It may sound like marketing hyperbole, but it works exceptionally well. See also: Group test: what's the best TV?
The KDL-40W905A looks pretty spectacular too. With an aluminium hairline-finish bezel and diamond-cut edging, the design is unapologetically opulent. A chromed loop pedestal adds additional polish. The model is also available as the 46-inch KDL-46W905A and 55-inch KDL-55W905A. Take a look at our Sony KDL-46HX853 review too.
Connections include four HDMIs, SCART and component, a trio of USBs, an optical digital audio output and ethernet. Wi-Fi is also built-in.
There’s a choice of either Freeview HD or DVB-S2 satellite tuner. Two remote controls are supplied; a standard IR job and a simplified Bluetooth zapper which cunningly contains an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip, used to facilitate Miracast streaming from suitably equipped Google smartphones.
The screen’s picture prowess owes much to the latest iteration of Sony’s X-Reality Pro processing engine, which contains an updated database of content algorithms. This helps keep details crisp, and make textures more convincing. The set’s black level performance is also outstanding. Backlight uniformity is good.
The set sports the XR 800Hz iteration of Sony’s Motionflow process. Unlike rival picture image interpolation techniques, such as Panasonic’s IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) or Samsung’s Motion Plus, this Sony solution doesn’t introduce a swathe of unwanted motion artefacts.
Select Smooth or Standard settings and details are kept crisp and clean.
The extended colour gamut makes the screen particularly suitable to X.V.Color sources, such as Sony’s soon to launch Mastered in 4K Blu-ray titles, all of which have extended colour space, along with certain camcorders and graphics cards.
However the important point to note is that this Triluminos display doesn’t require an X.V.Color source to deliver bold, exciting colours. Even with regular Blu-rays and HD content, reds are more sanguine, and greens more fulsome than is the norm on an LED-backlit LCD TV. This TV’s colour character is rather closer to what you might expect of a plasma display.
Sony has reworked its user interface for 2013. The familiar XrossMediaBar has been retired, in favour of a cleaner menu tree with graphical flourishes.
It’s intuitive to use, offering quick access to TV, Applications (IPTV services and games), Connected Devices and Settings. TV listings can be perused via the standard Freeview EPG, or selected from a scrolling list
There’s a wide range of streaming IPTV on tap, including Sony’s own movie rental and music subscription services, BBC iPlayer and Demand 5, LoveFilm, Netflix, Sony Entertainment TV, Crackle, YouTube, Blinkkx and DailyMotion.
However, it’s a little disappointing that this channel selection hasn’t really grown over the past year.
At least this year has seen a widening of Sony’s file support. Now, regardless of whether you’re playing files from USB media or across a LAN, the set will play all popular codecs and containers, including MKV (once an Achilles heel for Sony’s TV media players).
The screen is 3D-ready, and uses Active Shutter rather than Passive technology. Two pairs of shuttering spex, which are compatible with the RF 3D standard, are supplied. These glasses are interchangeable with other RF 3D shuttering glasses from the likes of Panasonic and Samsung.
While they’re not particularly comfortable over prescription spectacles, full-HD 3D images appear clean and bright, with only occasional crosstalk.
Smartphone and tablet integration works well, and has been optimized for the Sony Xperia Z. NFC pairing really simplifies screen mirroring, although you can hard-tether if you prefer.
The set’s lack of a second tuner is a shame though, as it limits what you can achieve with a second screen. That said, Sony’s TV SideView app, which comprises offers searchable off-screen EPG, is pretty good.
The KDL-40W905A’s audio performance is above average, thanks to some clever engineering which has allowed Sony to shoehorn a long-duct speaker system into the chassis for meaningful midrange. Clarity and imaging are good for a flatscreen. Angled stereo drivers cleverly bounce audio off a little lip on the underside of the screen.