To maintain a standard across our review units, we calibrated the BRAVIA EX400 with the Spyder3TV Home Theater Color Calibration kit prior to our display tests. This is to ensure we assess the HDTV based on optimal display settings, and not purely on visual estimation alone. At this point, we've also disabled all the necessary bells and whistles such as color and edge enhancement features. After the calibration process, optimized values were as given as such: Brightness at 26, Contrast at 98 and Color at 53. Additionally, black and white luminance readings were measured at 0.184 and 177.905 cd/m2 respectively, which indicates satisfactory black levels as well. Note that calibration was performed based on the TV's "Standard" preset.
DisplayMate is an application which generates a sequence of test patterns to determine the capabilities of imaging devices like color and gray-scale accuracies for example. For our tests, we've hooked up the EX400 to our display test-bed PC via its HDMI connection. To be fair across the board, we have also disabled all visual enhancements on the TV in order to reduce the variables involved. Here are some findings based on the relevant and critical test patterns:-
The BRAVIA's CCFL backlights didn't deter the panel from acing this test. We didn't detect any unnatural hues at the edges, and the display's color uniformity was surprisingly even. Using the red palette as an example, we didn't notice any color shifts till the we varied our viewing angle past the 70 degree angle off the center axis.
Dark Gray Scale
It's uncommon to find an LCD panel with noteworthy blacks, but it so happens the EX400 is one of the rare few. The only downside is we had to jack the brightness settings up to "35" in order to discern the darker blocks on the black and gray test pattern.
Here's another one in the bag for Sony. The BRAVIA produced excellent color representations and smooth gradations across the test colors. One observation we had, however, was that primary colors (RGB) tend to fade to black just before the secondary ones.
256-Intensity Level Color Ramp
Pristine whites were delivered, along with similar results as the Color Scales test. Natural color gradients were achieved mostly, except for slight compression artifacts which were more visible on the green band than the rest of three hues.
IDT's HQV Tests are designed to assess image quality and the handling of digital displays and players through a variety of video signal processing tasks which includes decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction and film cadence detection. We've programmed the Blu-ray player to playback in 1080i in order to stress the TV's video processor. This compels the processor to convert interlaced signals into progressive to accommodate the HDTV's panel. Here are the results we noted on two of the most crucial tests:-
Digital Noise Filtering
It looks like this TV is pretty dependent on its noise filters for digital sources. High noise levels were apparent before we enabled any features. On the upside, noise grains were largely removed after we pumped its MPEG Noise Reduction to "High". Downside is a small level of image details were sacrificed in return.
Diagonal Filter Test
The BRAVIA was more than capable in de-interlacing the moving 1080i image. Smooth revolutions and minimal "jaggies" were observed on the rotating bar. There's only a hint of slight feathering as the bar crossed the 10-degree angle.
Film Resolution Loss Test
Inverse cadence decoding of a 1080p24 source isn't every TV's cup of tea . Still, the affordable EX400 managed to reap the right results with the Film Resolution Loss test. To do so, engaging the BRAVIA's 24p True Cinema feature is a must.