Pros: Picture quality, many settings, many inputs, intuitive menu, nice remote
Cons: Big, bulky, heavy
I was in the market for a TV with better resolution then my cheapie 32" standard Sansui TV, which by the way was great for the $240 price tag. What I was striving for was great picture quality for DVD watching with the possibility of watching HD in the near future (next 2 or 3 years).
You can look for specs anywhere on the internet so I won't bore you with too much data. Just some that I noticed or seem important.
Weight: About 170 pounds in the box
Inputs: Tons, just about every type of input you would need s-video, component, composite, HDMI
HDTV: Need an external HD decoder
This thing is heavy. It ways approximately 170 pounds in the box. You will need two people to bring it in the house and forget shoving this thing into a car you're gonna need a truck. Next came the wait for the TV to adjust from the outside Iowa cold to the inside of my apartment.
This TV has a wide frame which incases speakers on each side of the flat glass front. The exterior is light grey plastic with a fold up door in the front that contains S-Video input, composite A/V inputs and menu, tv/video, volume, channel, on screen adjustment buttons. Also located on the outside of the front of the monitor are a stand by timer and a power button.
I like the color and all in all it looks nice enough on the outside. Just guessing but I'm assuming to keep the cost down Sony had to use a plastic exterior.
Things to think about before buying!!!
1. Make sure your dvd player at least has a component out.
2. Keep in mind the picture looks only as good as the input so some cable channels might look fairly bad.
3. You might have to tweak tv and input device settings, this isn't your grandfather's old black and white tv.
4. You might want to have someone professionally tweak your tv or you might want to pick up a display set up dvd.
5. If you don't have a big TV now you might have to factor in a stand in to your budget.
6. Do research on the cables that you might need. The cheapest cables work just as good as the expensive one's like monster cable. Don't get suckered by the salesman!!!
7. Call some local tv repair shops to see what it would cost to repair your future TV and see which one's are cheaper which should help you choose which type of TV or if it's worth spending on an instore warranty.
8. Make sure the TV has the inputs you're looking for.
The best part of the settings is the layout of the menu. The menu is layed out in a way that sometimes there are 3 ways to change one setting. Sony did a great job in making the menu very user friendly.
There are a number of settings to tweak. You have normal and zoom screen mode settings these are used for 480i signals that have been upconverted to 720p or 1080i. Settings for white level, contrast, hue, sharpness, as well as other settings which I won't bore you with are available. Of the best settings is the 8 preset favorite channels that are easily accessible.
With so many settings it's almost impossible to not get the display that you want. What you can do is tweak the monitor to what you want for 4 different modes. These 4 modes you can tweak for what looks good for each input device you use. Sony has done a great job making so many settings available to the user.
The remote is of good size, which I like (I despise small remotes with small buttons). The buttons are big and the layout of the buttons are put in user friendly locations on the remote. You can control multiple devices but they have to have an infrared sensor.
The sound was better then some tvs and worse then others. There are some stereo settings which you can get off of many websites, I just use stereo when ever I watch standard tv. Let's face it, if you can afford this tv you probably have at least a decent home theater sound system. For me as long as the sound is ok, I'm content. I bought this thing for display purposes not sound.
Last but not least the display section
Completely subjective, what looks good to me might not look good to you!!!
As I said above the picture looks only as good as the input. Here's what I used to judge the quality of the picture:
1. Progressive scan entry level toshiba dvd player while playing Return of the King and Dodgeball
2. Basic cable
3. Sony Playstation 2 through composite outputs
Cable tv looked much better on my new Sony compared to any standard tube TV, it's not HD but looks better. The Playstation looked slightly better then my previous TV. Next was the main reason I bought the TV was dvd viewing. I popped in Return of the King and although it looked slightly better then the old TV, I wasn't wowed.
Now I'm disappointed because the improvement isn't worth $1000 and I don't want to lug this thing back to Ultimate Electronics. Later I threw in Dodgeball and forget that even though I used the component output I need to set my DVD player to Interlace mode. My God, what an improvement!!! Every penny was justified. To put it plainly both movies looked awesome using component out.
The TV does what I intended it to do which was make dvd movies look awesome. I am happy with how the picture looks and I haven't tweaked it yet. The Sony has a myriad of inputs and settings which is a need for high quality TVs. I am very happy with this purchase and would recommend this TV for anyone that doesn't need a 36" or larger hdtv.
After about 6 months I'm still happy with the tv. Since I wrote this review I've gotten hd service from mediacom. I have to say that after tweaking the tv hd looks great.
I haven't had any problems with the tv yet. I'm still enjoying the TV.