Sony HDTV - Sony HDTV Reviews

Beginning in 2006, significant changes have been made to the Sony HDTV lineup. Moving out of plasma HDTV altogether and rebranding their LCD line to Bravia, the consumer electronics giant may be trying to rebuild a badly tarnished image.

Sony HDTV products for years have seen reviews that complain about high prices and questionable reliability. There are indications that the rebranded line may have overcome some of those difficulties but it is too early to say for sure.

Sony offer an extensive array of LCD sets ranging from the 26 inch Bravia XBR KDL-V26XBR1 to the 46 inch KDL-46S2000.

The larger set comes with 1366 x 768 resolution and Sony's proprietary Bravia Engine video processor. But at $3,500 and up the set is barely competitively priced, given the company's history.

Reviews tout the fine quality picture you would expect from a LCD with good blacks and vivid color reproduction, though some calibration is required to achieve optimum levels. The 720p reproduction in the 40 inch KDL-V40XBR1 provides a sharp image, for example, but proper color balance is difficult to achieve.

Not quite at the level of the better plasma screens, the Sony HDTV LCD sets offer good viewing angles and perform well under varying lighting conditions.

Like all brands and most models, the Sony HDTV sets come with multiple in built tuners. One delivers standard definition TV, but like most the picture is not as good as a quality CRT for the same source. The ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner provides reception for over the air HDTV broadcasts, which are becoming more common.

The KDL-V40XBR1 also comes with DCR (Digital Cable Ready via CableCard) and a QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) tuner, making it, in some cases, unnecessary to have a separate, external cable box. Beware of that 'in some cases' warning, though. Not all features, such as 'on-demand', are always supported, nor is the card compatible with all cable companies offerings. Check with your area's provider.

Like many sets, Sony HDTV offer the ability to change aspect ratio from the HDTV standard 16:9 to 4:3 (standard TV). Be sure to preview how they do this, though. Some viewers find the results displeasing. Cropping by black bars on the screen can usually be adapted to, but some viewers find stretching the image unacceptable.

The sets provide only one HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connector, rather than the usual two and have two component video ports. Those are essential for delivering quality images from even standard DVD players on a HDTV set. S-video provides a lower quality image than the system is capable of.

They also come with a USB port and a memory stick slot for connecting a source of digital video and photos, which can be displayed on the large panel.

The Sony HDTV sets provide good quality images, but at $2,000-$3,500 and up shoppers will want to investigate other brands before deciding.

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