Sony FD Trinitron WEGA KD-34XBR960 34" 1080i CRT Television

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Sony Wega 34 Inch Television: I love this tv.

Nov 6, 2005 (Updated Jan 30, 2007)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Picture Quality:
  • Durability:

Pros:Beautiful picture, great sound, easy to use, memory stick, iLink.

Cons:Price, weight.

The Bottom Line: The best looking television out there.


When I got home on a Friday after work I walked in the room and took a glance at my new television. I knew the television was being delivered that morning and I assumed correctly that my wife would have it set up and working when I got home. So I was not surprised by the television but by the picture it displayed. As soon as I glanced at the television my jaw dropped and I just stared at it for a few minutes. Shrek was absolutely beautiful. He was clean and colorful as was the world he was in. I couldn’t believe the clarity of the picture. I knew I had made the right decision by ordering the television.

Setup
My wife diligently assembled the stand, which was not too difficult, and the delivery personnel simply had to set the television right on the stand. The rest of the work (if you call it that) was to plug it in and to run through the setup. It was simple and straightforward and the delivery personnel even helped with that. The setup just took a few minutes. No complicated menu’s or initialization modes.
The remote took a little more work which was basically looking up the codes for our other auxiliary devices, but my wife had the remote (and the all in one remote) working by the time I got home a few hours later. The only one she could not program with the new remote was our 5.1 Sony receiver. But our Sony HD Satellite receiver and Toshiba DVD player both work with this remote. I thought it was funny that the Sony remote that came with the television worked with a Toshiba DVD player and not the Sony 5.1 receiver.

Why I got it.
We had a Toshiba 57 inch projection television that just died on us last summer. It really wasn’t worth it to us to have it fixed. It just was not cost effective. So we finally gave in and bought this television. I knew the picture would be good and I love Sony products. Hopefully it will last longer than our old projection television.

What is came with.
-Remote
-2 AA’s
-Instruction manual

The picture
As I stated above, the picture is absolutely beautiful. The picture is bright and can be seen under almost any light condition. The blacks are a rich black and make everything else standout. The colors themselves are vibrant and easily discernable. The red’s, blue’s, and green’s contract like I’ve never seen and make pictures look very lifelike. The pictures I viewed on my Memory stick from my camera are awesome and beautiful. Unlike my other televisions the colors don’t bleed into themselves, which starts to create dull images. I have no idea what to say other than this is the best picture I have seen out of a television and I can’t go back to a projection television again. I even have trouble watching my in-laws Panasonic LCD television. My only complaint is the small screen. 34 inches really is not that big for the average living room. But for the average small apartment or bedroom, 34 inches would be perfect.
The television can display at 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i through the component inputs.

Keep in mind that if you go to Best Buy or another electronics store to compare, the display may not be in a high definition format. I know the Best Buy’s around town only use composite cables and not the nice component cables. This means that you are viewing a poor quality image and not the full potential of this television.

The sound
First thing that I noticed about the sound was how LOUD it was. I just need to put it up to 5 and I can hear everything clearly (if the kids aren’t running around screaming.) When I punch it up to the top I could not notice any problems or any major distortion (just minor distortion.) It was easily heard throughout the house (and probably the neighbor’s too). And at that high of a volume you can feel the base from the speakers. About as good as a cheap subwoofer. The menu setting for the bass was normal during this test so you can have the same subwoofer feel by tweeking this setting. But my subwoofer for my 5.1 system is better than this television though. The manual lists the speaker output at 7.5 watts each and the subwoofer at 15 watts.
It does have steady sound that does work, and you will want it on. It keeps those noisy commercials from screaming at you while you watch your favorite show.

But I don’t own any HDTV Equipment.
Then there is no point in buying this television unless you have HDTV receivers/DVD-players. Unless you are willing to buy a DVD player with Component cables, a HDTV satellite receiver, a console with the HD adapter, or a HDTV antenna; then just buy a regular television for now. If all you are using is composite connectors then this television will not improve the signal and the picture will look just like a regular television. With that said I highly recommend you invest in the 2-3 thousand it will take to have your own HDTV/home theatre system if you have the money. I feel it is worth it.

What if I have an Xbox, Game Cube or PS2?
Go out and buy the High definition cable. You will see an incredible difference in any game designed for high definition televisions. For example, in Star Wars Battlefront the cut scenes look like they came off of the DVD. When you use the composite cable (or a standard television) with your Xbox then they look like a cheap MPEG file. And once you start playing your console on a HDTV you will never go back.

Memory stick
There is a memory stick port in the front and the television works seamlessly with your other Sony gear. Just put your Sony Memory stick in and you have the option of playing JPG, MPEG1, and MP3 files. The navigation is very easy to use. When I first used it I just put our memory stick from our camera and clicked on the slide show option. It really was that easy. You have the option of playing an MP3 during the slide show or a pretty piano sound file that comes with the television.
The issue I had with the memory stick was that some of the pictures were turned sideways while they were being displayed. I finally found out that I could flip them using this television. But the process is very tedious and time consuming to do that to all of the photos. Flipping photos should have been an easier process.
Besides flipping, you do have a couple of other editing/viewing options. You can protect the photo, delete it, and set the number of photos you want printed when using a compatible photo printer. You can also pan and zoom into the photo.
The memory stick port is designed to accept both sticks. According to the manual you do not need an adaptor for the shorter ones. But my longer memory sticks insert completely into the port with nothing sticking out begging to be broken. I have not had any problems with any of my memory sticks to date.
And the pictures were beautiful but with this television you could really see the imperfections of my camera.

Features
Steady sound- Keeps the sound from increasing during loud commercials.
Auto SAP- If there is an alternative language then it will play automatically.
Speakers on/off- Turns the speakers on and off.
Twin view- You can view two channels at once, they are side by side. One image can be from an HDTV signal but not both.
Freeze picture- Freezes the current image and displays the live image with the frozen image in the twin view format.
Jump- Goes to the last channel you were watching. You have to be watching the channel for about 3 seconds for it to register though.
Favorites- You can make a list of favorite channels.
Memory stick- Allows you to play video and audio from a memory stick.
Cable card slot- Provided by some cable companies.
iLink- For iLink compatible devices.
Auto channel program- It warns you that this may take 60 minutes. It scans looking for channels to add without you having to do it manually. All of my stuff goes through my DirecTV receiver so I don’t need this.
Channel Fix
Channel Label- Label your antenna channels with the call sign.
Channel Skip/Add
Clock/Timer Two Event- You have two timers and can turn the television on or off at a specific time and day.
Sleep Timer Function- It will automatically turn off the television. You can set it for 15min, 30min, 45min, 60min, 90min, or off.
Antenna level for DTV
Favorite Channel With Preview- Splits the screen and lets you see what else is playing.
Front Button Menu Control
English, Spanish, and French- To select your primary language.
Program Palette- Change image clarity to your liking.
Tilt correction
Scrolling Channel Index System
Speed Surf™ Channel Selection
V Chip Parental Control
Video Label- Label your inputs with preset labels. You can’t put in a custom one.
Wide Modes: (Normal/Full/Zoom/Wide Zoom)
DTV Auto Add
PSIP Program Information
Mode memory- Allows you to customize the video mode settings for each video input.

Menu options
Video- mode (vivid, standard, movie, pro), Picture, Brightness, Color, Hue, Sharpness, Color temp. (cool, neutral, warm), Clear Edge VM, and Advanced video. Advanced video allows you to manually change it to interlaced or progressive, control the emphasis of red tones, and turn on/off mode memory.
Audio- This sets the Treble, Bass, Balance, Steady sound, and effect (TruSurround, Simulated, or off). You can also set the SAP to run automatically.
Screen menu- Allows the television to automatically select the screen size for different video video modes. You can also set the vertical center and size here.
Channel Menu- You control your favorite channels, auto select channels, show/hide channels, and label channels here.
Parent Menu- Allows a parent to lock out certain types of programming based on their rating. You have the option of using U.S.A. or Canada standards. It is password blocked.
Setup Manu- CC options, info banner display time, Label inputs, Tilt and Vertical correction, Language, iLink Standby, and Menu color. There are a lot of advanced options for how CC is displayed.
Applications Menu- Displays memory stick viewer, iLink devices, clock, timers, Diagnostics for your antenna, and CableCARD options.

The stand.
We also ordered the stand when we ordered the television. The stand is not only stable but it matches the television perfectly. It does not look like a television on a stand, it looks like a television with legs. It is eloquent and beautiful. I highly recommend spending the extra money for the stand because it looks sharp. But if your tight on funds then don’t worry, it’s not absolutely necessary.

Who is this for?
This is for a viewer that wants the best picture out there. You will not get a better image for the price. But you do sacrifice by having a deeper television and a heavier television. It also has a smaller viewing area than a comparably priced projection television. If you want a bigger image but the same quality then you will be spending a small fortune for that.
I was asked in the comments about upgrading to a HDTV since that will be the only way they broadcast in a few years. Well it depends on two things, what are your funds like and are you a videophile? If you just do not have the funds because of circumstances in your life then don’t worry about it. The televisions will drop substantially by the time all of the networks are required to broadcast in HDTV. Also, there will be cheap converters that will allow you to watch HDTV signals on your standard television set.
If you are a videophile then you absolutely must get one. You will be very pleased with the purchase. And if you can deal with the small size of the television (if you think 34 inches is small) then this is the perfect set because of the image quality you get for the money. Just remember that this television is heavy and not easily moved.
If all you do is watch news and could care less about a beautiful picture then just stick with your old set if it was bought within the last couple of years. The standard CRT’s will last a long time compared to the other formats including projection.

Cleaning
Only use a soft, damp cloth. They do not recommend using chemicals. All of the kids fingerprints have come off with a damp cloth and nothing has been scratched... yet. And I hope it stays that way.

Inputs
-Component Video Input (2 Rear)- up to 1080i.
-Composite Input (1 Front, 3 Rear)-
-HDMI (1 Rear)-
-S-Video Input (1 Front, 2 Rear)-
-Control S (1 Rear)-
-RF Input (2 rear)- One for antenna and one for cable.
-CableCard (1 rear)-
-iLink- (1 front, 2 read)-

Outputs
-Digital audio Output (1 rear)-
-Audio Output (1 Rear)- RCA right/left connections
-Monitor Output (1 Rear)- RCA connections.
-Control S (1 Rear)-

What I like.
Beautiful picture.
Easy to use.
Lots of customizable options.
Automatically changes picture size when watching a DVD (you don’t have to set it to wide screen when going from menu to film and back again.)

What I do not like.
The glass is recessed. This means that you have some slight reflection off the walls surrounding the glass.
The cost.
The weight.
The space (depth) it takes up.
Small screen (34 inches).

Weight and dimensions
Weight: 194 lbs 8 oz
Dimensions (WxHxD): 39 1/8" x 25 5/8" x 23 7/8"

Summary
This is an expensive CRT television and it is well worth the price. It is only 34 inches but it is a wide screen and this television lives for movies and HDTV programming. And you will be hard pressed to find a better display for your console addiction. The image is absolutely beautiful but it will cost you a small fortune.

Other electronic reviews.
Sony 46 in. HDTV LCD Television
Toshiba 57” HDTV
Panasonic LCD television
My HDTV antenna
Nintendo Wii game console


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 1700

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