With traditional CCFL backlighting, a 1080p display and Freeview HD tuner, the 40-inch Sony Bravia KDL-40EX503 is considerably cheaper than the LED-backlit models in the company's premiumrange. You can pick one up from the company's website for £869, or online for around £650, which is quite reasonable by Sony's standards.
LCD TV packs Freeview HD
At just under 10cm deep, the EX503 is quite chunky in comparison to today's LED models, but the set's design does a fairly good job of hiding the extra girth. The back of the chassis curves away from the edge of the bezel to produce a more slimline look. The front of the telly is finished in glossy black, and there's a dark, brushed metal finish on the panel that runs across the bottom edge of the TV. So while it's not the best-looking telly around, it still manages to come across as reasonably stylish.
Setting up the TV is a breeze using Sony's XrossMediaBar menu system, which is similar to that found on the company's games consoles. Since the EX503 has a Freeview HD tuner built in, once all the channels are tuned you'll find the high-definition stations nestled beside the standard-definition ones in the TV's excellent electronic programme guide.
You'll have no problems hooking your AV kit up to the EX503, as there are plenty of ports mounted on the side and rear, including four HDMI ports, a set of component inputs and two Scart sockets. Naturally, there's an optical digital audio output, so you can feed the audio from the Freeview HD tuner to an external surround-sound amp. Sony hasn't forgotten about digital media, either, as the set has a USB port as well as an Ethernet socket.
This Ethernet socket is put to good use. Sony took a long time to get its Internet TV offering right, but this set shows just how far the Japanese giant has come in this regard. In fact, it has perhaps the best line-up of services of all of the major manufacturers. A real plus is that this set now has BBC iPlayer support, and this sits alongside a range of other useful services, including Demand Five, Dailymotion and YouTube. You can also stream videos, music and photos from a computer or NAS drive connected to your home network, or play media from a memory key or hard drive via the USB port.