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Sony KDL–40BX420E: a low cost monitor for 1080p video editing at worldwide framerates

Why the Sony KDL–40BX420E monitor makes sense for pro video editors who can’t afford a “pro” monitor

By Allan Tépper | January 29, 2013

When Miami-based PRODU.com set out to choose the key components for a new video editing system, they already knew that they’d be purchasing a 2012 iMac and a Thunderbolt drive. However, since most HDTV sets sold in the U.S. are unfortunately segregated, what was more challenging was to achieve a good 1080p video monitoring solution at worldwide framerates and with a matte display, all for under US$1000 including an extended warranty, professional Thunderbolt a/v interface, and cables. The monitor they picked is unusual for the United States. Learn about which monitor, which interface, and why ahead in this article.

In this article

  • General criteria for picking a 1080p monitoring system when you can’t afford a pro model
  • Segregated HDTV sets and why PRODU.com chose this particular monitor
  • Monitoring equipment chosen by PRODU.com (including the Thunderbolt a/v interface)
  • Why purchase a third-party warranty for the KDL–40BX420E in the U.S.
  • Use and compatibility of the KDL–40BX420E in the U.S.
  • Physical size of the KDL–40BX420E
  • Why did PRODU.com choose the UltraStudio Mini Monitor?
  • SIDEBAR: Why I write framerate as a compound word
  • What I would change in the KDL–40BX420E to create a prosumer version
  • Related monitoring articles

General criteria for picking a 1080p monitoring system when you can’t afford a pro model

Even though most professional video editors would love to have an HP DreamColor or other pro monitor (see related articles at the end of this one), some simply cannot afford it. In that case, the next best thing is often to choose a consumer 1080p monitor or HDTV set which is guaranteed to accept all standard worldwide framerates (i.e. 23.976p, 24.000p, 25p, 29.97p, 50i/p, and 59.94i/p), 1:1 pixel-by-pixel monitoring (without overscan), a matte screen (for those of us who prefer it that way), and an appropriate output interface between the computer and the monitor.

Segregated HDTV sets and why PRODU.com chose the Sony KDL–40BX420E

As I covered back in this 2008 article, many consumer HDTV sets currently sold in the United States are unfortunately segregated, which means that they reject signals at 25p, 25PsF, 50i, or 50p. When this is done, it is often by design in an attempt to avoid grey marketing. Some accept 23.976p and or 24.000p but don’t display a proper cadence. In order to have worldwide compatibility, PRODU.com needed a monitoring solution that would cover any standard framerate used worldwide, as long as it came in within budget and met other requirements. PRODU.com also knew that not all HD monitors that accept 23.976p and/or 24.000p handle it with proper cadence. Fortunately, in his review of the segregated USA version of this monitor (KDL–40BX420, without the “E” suffix), CNET senior editor David Katzmaier stated:

The inexpensive Sony KDL-BX420 series evinced good performance for an entry-level non-LED-TV, with deep-enough black levels and accurate color in mid-bright areas. It also, surprisingly for a 60Hz TV, handled 1080p/24 cadence properly, and its matte screen is a boon in bright rooms. Its styling is clean and its remote is among the best in its class...

David must have been referring to a 23.976 cadence (or to both 23.976 and 24.000 cadences) since I tested both 23.976p and 24.000p sources, and they both looked proper via the HDMI input. It is not clear whether the KDL-BX420 and KDL-BX420E play 23.976p at 47.952 fps by repeating each frame (as 24 fps films are seen in traditional movie theaters at 48 fps via a double shutter) or whether it is tripling the original 23.976p and displaying at 71.928 fps, but whatever it is doing, it looks good and proper via the HDMI input. If desired, you may read David’s entire review here. Just realize that David reviewed the segregated USA version.

Monitoring equipment chosen by PRODU.com (including the Thunderbolt a/v interface)

Here you’ll see which video monitoring equipment PRODU.com chose and its approximate street price as of publication time of this article:

  • Sony KDL–40BX420E (with world framerate capability) US$590
  • Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor US$145 (which I covered here and here)
  • Apple 2 meter Thunderbolt cable (recently reduced in price) US$39
  • HDMI cable US$10
  • Third-party 2-year U.S. warranty US$50 (See details ahead.)

Total US$834 (not including shipping or possible State sales tax)

On page 2 of this article

  • Why purchase a third-party warranty for the KDL–40BX420E in the U.S.
  • Use and compatibility of the KDL–40BX420E in the U.S.
  • Physical size of the KDL–40BX420E
  • Why did PRODU.com choose the UltraStudio Mini Monitor?
  • SIDEBAR: Why I write framerate as a compound word
  • What I would change in the KDL–40BX420E to create a prosumer version
  • Related monitoring articles

Click here for page 2 of this article...

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Comments

sebben: | February, 01, 2013

How does the Sony KLV-24EX430 24” compare?

sebben: | February, 06, 2013

And on a related note. How do you create a colour profile for this monitor? I have often found that TVs have a lot of settings that change the picture. Cinema mode, sports modes etc. All which have pretty drastic affects on the image quality. Can you turn all that off and get an accurate picture with this TV?

Allan Tépper: | February, 06, 2013

Sebben:
Thanks for reading and for commenting!

David Katzmaier goes into detail about how to do that in his review, which is linked in the article.

I have not (yet) tried the KLV-24EX43, but I would expect it to perform equally or perhaps better since it has an LED backlight.

Allan Tépper

Frylock: | May, 02, 2013

Does this monitor use an IPS panel like mentioned here? http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/guides/lcd-panel-types.php

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