Pros: Excellent budget HDTV, Great quality, lots of inputs
Cons: Heavy weight, occasionally pixelates poor signals, few component inputs
This 32" flat-screen is a Sony 32" Wega? HDTV monitor was the perfect starter HDTV monitor. I bought this in Sep. 2004 from Circuit City for $950 with free delivery.
This is NOT a plasma flat panel. It has a typical large TV syndrome with a huge 165 lb weight and a large footprint. Your TV stand must be very tough.
The key feature of this is the HDTV monitor: Connect a high-definition receiver to capture HD broadcasts and to watch DVDs in what they call CineMotion reverse pulldown technology which eliminates artifacts and gives films a smooth, natural flow.
The audio is fine - not spectacular. For movies I still use my stereo. Sony claims some advanced audio functions, but it is average at best.
There are three A/V/S-Video inputs, 2 HD component video inputs, and one HDMI input. The AV inputs are generally the worst, which I hook up my VCR. S-Video is mid-quality, which I use my PS2. The component HD hookups are for my HDTV through cable, as well as my DVD player. I would have liked to see a third HD hookup for my Xbox, but it looks fine for now through AV. The HDMI input is for advanced video, though I havent tested it.
HDTV and DVDs are simply beautiful. The demo model in the store was just what we got out of the box. You can see every scar and imperfection on the actors faces. This TV supports progressive scan, and my Sony DVD talks perfectly to my Sony TV. (Any progressive scan DVD should work. Get component cambles, not composite cables.)
Regular TV (and my biggest disappointment) is quite ugly. Standard NTSC signals are naturally lower quality, and the Sony WEGA amplifies the poor signals. So if you are watching close to the TV, the static and pixels are plainly visible. If I am watching any regular TV station, I will sit back aways. This includes most comcast cable stations. After a while, your eyes adjust and ignore the pixels. But you will really notice after watching HD then switching to standard.
This TV has the standard TV dimensions. This means HDTV and DVD will show up with black bars in 16:9 format. I dont mind this but some people dont like. (Get used to is, widescreen is the future.)
So if you are comparing the widescreen flat panel TVs and the standard dimension flat panel TVs. Simply ask yourself, what do I watch? If you watch nothing but standard TV, get a regular (non HDTV) screen. They are much cheaper.
If you watch nothing but movies, a widescreen would make sense. And you wouldn't be wasting any screen space with black bars.
If you watch TV and movies, and dont mind the black bars, this SONY WEGA TV is just about perfect. As TV stations transition to Hi Def, youll have no problems watching either type of programming.
For the price and screen size, this Sony was just about perfect. The 36 was enormous and wouldnt have fit in our living room. The 30 seemed a little small. Considering the 0% interest and 1 year warranty plan, this TV doesnt break the budget either.
The brightness/color controls allow you to manage and quickly switch to different modes based on your preferences. If something is too bright, switch with one button to another color setting. The remote is fairly simple, although I generally use my cable remote and DVD to operate my electronics.
Another minor gripe is switching between inputs requires pushing the TV/Video button repeatedly. If my TV is on Input-1 and my DVD on Input-6, you have to push the button 5 times. If you do it 6, you have to go all the way back around. Kind of a pain.
Theres also a hidden front panel to quickly connect a camcorder, or if you lose the remote you can change channels and volumes. Handy.
The box is silver, and handsome. It hides its bulkiness with a back that narrows. It makes it seem smaller in the store, and when watching it. Stand on the side, you really notice the girth of this TV. (24 inches deep)
I would not recommend this TV if you move a lot. At this weight, youll need some burley movers to get this out the door. If you can talk the store into free delivery, that will seal the deal for you.
Update June 2006
I continue to enjoy my Sony HDTV. An added bonus is that Comcast has improved the digital quality, and the Sony tv handles it every step of the way.
I still stand by most of my original comments. Since most cable channels are still in standard definition, the full screen is used. Watching High Def channels is still nice despite the black bars on top/bottom. If you are more than 10 feet away from the screen, the letterbox view may seem too small.
I would say this TV has held up pretty well as well. My only complaint at this point, is there are not enough HDMI inputs (only 1) and only 2 component video inputs.