I’ve just purchased the Sony Bravia KDL-40V5100 and wanted to elaborate on the auto dimming problem in case anyone is interested. The software version on my unit is ER3.3-D025, and I can confirm it does suffer from the auto dim problem and there is no known way to disable it as of me writing this. All the solutions and workarounds posted for previous models didn’t work for this one. Yes, the TV has a game mode, but can only be enabled for inputs and cannot be used for cable or air channels. No, game mode does not disable auto dim. Yes, the TV has TEXT mode, but it’s only available for PC connection (via RGB cable) and cannot be used for anything else. Auto dim can only be disabled for PC input connection (RGB) and nothing else.
I can understand for many people this function may not be a problem at all, but I can also understand why this is a very serious problem for many others. I personally think it’s a very serious problem.
My daughter plays a game with dark jungles and dark dungeons, as soon as she enters a dark location in the game the screen stays normal for few seconds and then dims to a level where you can’t see much detail and as soon as she enters a scene with some brightness, the TV almost instantly returns to normal brightness. It seriously interferes with game play and game mode does not help.
I have a homebrew DVR that allows me to edit scenes and when I try to use it on this TV to remove unwanted scenes, I move frame by frame as one scene fades out and another fades in so I can place marker right after a scene completely fades out, the TV dims while I'm doing this and makes it very difficult to do what I want to do.
When I was watching a science show on the cosmos, whenever there’s an extended scene showing a lot of stars on a dark background, the TV dims and I can’t see much details when this happens. Also, during the end rolling credits, the TV dims making it hard to read anything. And when you pause a DVD during a dark scene, the bright objects that can be seen after the TV dims flicker slightly (they don’t flicker until TV dims.)
I personally find the constant dimming and brightening distracting, but I'm sure there are some who are not easily distracted and wouldn’t mind this at all.
I made a DVD with Virtualdub and another program and timed it intentionally to keep triggering the auto dim on and off repeatedly. I took the DVD with me to a local store to test it on another unit, they didn’t have my model on display, but they had the KDL-40S5100, and it did the same thing on that unit also, but I think the timing was different for that unit. The guy at the store freaked out and thought my DVD was doing something to the TV, so he ejected the disk, hehe. Any way, he told me it’s the first time he’s seen this problem.
By the way, from reading on this forum and others, it seems Sony has this feature implemented so the TV would qualify for Energy Star certification. Because of this, don’t hold your breath for a firmware fix, there won’t be such a thing. When you turn the TV on for the first time, it will give you the option to set it up for Home or Retail, with the latter being non-compliant with Energy Star. I experimented with the Retail setup to no avail, it still dims. But if you want to experiment with that you can reset the TV to factory setup by pressing the UP navigation key on remote and clicking the POWER button on the TV at the same time. Keep in mind this will do the channel search all over again which may take a lot of time.
I have an older and smaller Sony LCD and when placed next to this new Sony, the picture Quality is rather amazing on the new one, especially the black levels. It’s very sad Sony had to ruin an otherwise excellent TV with this annoying feature.
I hope I was helpful.