Pros: clear & crisp distortion free picture…when playing video games
Cons: distortion from DVD’s in certain scenarios, to large for one person to carry far
8 years ago, my dad won four $100.00 Best Buy gift cards at his job. He gave one to his brother (my uncle), one to my mother, one to me, and kept one for himself. My uncle’s a techno-addict, so he spent his money almost instantly, but I convinced my mom to give me her card for Christmas and I traded a smaller 13in. TV to my dad for his card. That gave me $300.00 in Gift Cards. The TV was $400.00 at the time, so the only real money spent was $100.00 of my own—nice. I bought this model because I wanted a flat-screen. I just think they look sharper. I kind of regret not buying a 27in. RCA [ http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519P5BZ0MZL._SS500_.jpg ] because of the problem this one had with DVD’s. A couple years ago, I gave the Sony to my sister, because her 15 year old TV broke.
This TV is surprisingly large for its size. From the front it looks normal, but I think it’s deeper than other 24in. TV’s. This may be because it is a flat TV, but I’m not certain. Although it only weighs 50lbs, the size of the TV makes it difficult for one person the grasp securely. Like almost every other TV at the time, this one has a silver/dark gray color scheme. Its body looks good, but it’s pretty common. This TV has a lot of inputs, which is unusual for one this small. I think the number of inputs is because it’s from Sony; they put A/V inputs on everything.
This TV has one of the best looking pictures I’ve seen. High Definition Televisions (HDTV’s) are supposed to be much better, but I’ve never seen one with HDTV programming. Maybe when I see true HD image I’ll understand. Because the picture settings for movies and cable are different, I change them often. Within the picture menu however, there are picture preset settings for sports, movies, etc. These setting may work fine in your room, but in my room the difference between the optimal movie setting and cable TV setting is too large to use presets.
One peculiar thing is that the TV takes several seconds to warm-up. I was used to instant-on TV’s, but with this TV there’s a 6+ second pause between when you turn it on and when the picture comes on. I know it’s on because I can hear the programming. The warm-up delay is unusual to me, so I thought I’d mention it.
The remote for this TV could be a little larger but works fine for me, and the menu navigation buttons are intuitive. The menus, however, are not intuitive. You’ll want to read the instructions before trying to change anything.
The only performance issue I have with this TV, concerns DVD playback. I was playing some anime DVD’s with my XBOX and noticed a lot of color/lighting separation. By that I mean certain colors or lighting conditions in the show had these blocky edges and were clearly separated from other areas.
The only color that this problem affects is the color red. The color red always looks blurry on my TV when the signal is from a DVD. A perfect example is the anime show Cowboy Bebop. Early during the opening animation, the screen is red and black for 1 second. The cable broadcast of this show look fine—a little washed out, but no distortion. The same shot from the DVD of the show looks a lot sharper overall, but the red areas are blurred. Also the edges where red and black meet look blocky, almost pixilated.
The lighting problem is evident when the scene is dark, but there’s a focused light source like a lamp. Take the movie "I am Sam" for example. There’s a night scene where Sam and his lawyer are talking to each other in the lawyer’s home. In one scene, the only visible light source is a small table lamp, which casts a glow onto the wall. Now in the VHS copy that glow is soft and natural, but in the DVD version, the shadow is broken into three parts: light, medium, and dark. Ordinarily these areas gradually blend together, but on my TV I can clearly see three bands of shadow. This distortion is distracting because it makes the problem areas shimmer and look over-processed.
Let me explain the trouble I went through to diagnose the problem.
First, I called the manufacturers of the TV, of my XBOX, and of Monster Gamelink cables (my connection). Naturally, every customer service agent told me it was the other manufacturers’ problem; their product was likely working fine. The only thing resembling an answer was when an XBOX agent told me that Microsoft had received similar complaints from other XBOX owners using Sony WEGA TV’s.
Hmmmmmmm, that’s very interesting but inconclusive.
Second, I took the TV back to Best Buy albeit after the 30 day return period. All they could do give me another 24” WEGA in exchange. I must add here that the store manager was very patient and friendly while I explained the problem. I brought my XBOX with me and the cables to check against another Sony. The DVD was The Royal Tenenbaums, which I had checked in the store on another DVD player and TV to make sure it was distortion free. The other Sony had the same lighting distortion as mine. Perhaps the XBOX rep had been right, but I needed more evidence.
Lastly, I did the ultimate test:
2 TV’s - my WEGA and a Sanyo.
2 DVD players - my XBOX and a Panasonic.
2 XBOX cables - the standard ones and the Monster Component cables.
2 regular A/V cables - for the Panasonic DVD player.
Several DVD’s - all of which showed clear distortion on my TV.
I combined the above equipment in every possible way to make sure I could isolate the problem. My Results? Both DVD players, regardless of the cables used, looked worse overall on the Sanyo (less crisp, etc.) but showed less distortion. I also found that the worse the equipment and connections got, the more the distortion cleared up. As cocky as it sounds, I think that the quality of my equipment was so great that it made the DVD’s look bad by exposing sloppy processing—nice!
Overall, this TV is great as a personal TV or for a one-room entertainment system, but it’s too small for a home theater. The distortion issue is annoying, but if my conclusion is correct, then I can’t really fix it. Besides, the problem never showed up in any of my XBOX games (my conclusion accounts for that ( ^_^ )). The remote control is pretty good, but read those instructions before searching through the menus. The plastic body has held up pretty well, though I’ve taken good care of it. With much larger TV’s on the market at lower prices, this model is almost too expensive at the original price; however, the quality is top notch and the inputs are plentiful.