Pros: Flat screen, 16:9 enhanced function, looks
Cons: No buttons on remote for certain functions, may not be reliable
Since the time that I wrote this review, there have been at least a couple of sets introduced by other manufacturers which have most (If not all) of the same features on this set, at a substantially lower price. One of them, I think is made by Sharp. If you are considering this Wega for the Flat screen and/or the 16:9 enhancement, it may be well worth your time to check out the alternatives.
After drooling over the Sony Wega sets for several months, I just couldn't resist any longer. Yes, they are pricey. For the KV-27FS12, it's at least $200 more than Sony's own lower end 27" sets in the KV line.
This set has the every bit of the picture quality of the lower end Sony Trinitron sets with some added features. Among them are:
*The FD Trinitron CRT (Flat screen)
*Three sets of composite audio/video jacks
*One S-Video jack
*One Component video input
*The 16:9 Enhanced mode
The Flat Screen- I have never liked TVs with highly curved screens. This goes to the extent that I've always bought TVs with screens that had a little less curvature than the rest. It really does help with glare and it does seem to be more focused. The CRT on this set is as flat as it gets.
I've heard that the flat screen really doesn't enhance the picture quality all that much but it looks somewhat better to me. One of my shopping methods for TVs in the past has been to look for sets with brighter pictures. This one is very bright. Actually, it's a little too bright. I often find myself lowering both the brightness and contrast to make detail in the dark areas of the picture look more natural.
Connections- This set is loaded with connections. Unless you've got tons of stuff to hook up to your TV, you're probably going to have all the connections you're going to need. It has two rear composite audio/video inputs, one front AV composite input, a rear S-Video input and a rear component input. It also has two standard coaxial cable inputs for cable TV. This is certainly a solution for all of my connection headaches.
Also, you don't normally find component inputs on sets in the 27" size. Component inputs provide the best video connection currently possible. Obviously, if you're using this set for DVD, you'll want to take advantage of this.
16:9 Enhanced mode- This feature is the main reason why I bought this TV. When viewing a widescreen DVD movie on most sets, you actually lose some of the resolution that DVD is capable of because some of the scan lines (Lines that make up the picture) are being wasted to display the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. When you enable the 16:9 feature while viewing an anamorphic widescreen DVD, the set vertically compresses the lines so that they are all being used to display the image between the black bars. The end result is a much sharper picture. I love this feature. It really enhances DVD picture quality. Since a 27" set is really relatively small for widescreen DVDs, the enhancement is very welcome.
Other features- This TV also has a few other features including:
*Velocity Scan Modulation or VM for short
*Color temperature adjustment. Cool, Warm and Neutral
I have mixed feelings about the value of the VM feature. It actually seems to improve picture detail when viewing some material. Other times, it seems to make the picture look decidedly worse. The menu provides three settings for the VM feature. Off, Low and high. The low setting seems like a nice compromise most of the time but I usually turn it off when viewing DVDs.
The Sound- I've actually been a bit surprised by the sound produced by the tiny speakers in this TV. Not home theater quality by any stretch of the imagination but it's really not bad at all. The simulated surround does give you much fuller and wider sound. I do think the sound on this set is the best I've heard on any 27" set. I have noticed a slight distortion in the Bass at higher volumes though.
The Picture- The picture quality on this TV is awesome if your source quality is high (Such as from DVD or satellite). However, for regular cable tv, you probably won't notice that much of a difference between this Wega and any other Sony 27" TV. The colors are rich and seem to be pretty accurate. On regular analog cable, you may find yourself actually turning the shrpness control down. The tuner in this set seems to be pretty picky about source quality. It can get a bit grainy.
Is it worth it?- At $599 retail, this TV isn't cheap. I would recommend this TV without hesitation to anyone who wants to get the most out of their DVD player. This is the cheapest 27" TV on the market (AFAIK) with the 16:9 Enhanced feature. However, if you don't have or are not planning to purchase a DVD player and you stick mainly to cable or broadcast TV, you can save a lot of money by purchasing one of Sony's lower end sets for less than $400 at discount. The picture quality will be nearly identical and you'll have an extra $200 in your pocket.
Cons?- Well, if you consider a heavy TV to be a con, this TV does weigh quite a bit more than most other 27 inch sets. According to the specifications, it's 47kg or 103lbs. 10 oz. Regardless of that, after carrying this thing up a flight of stairs to my apartment, my back tells me that 103 lbs might as well be 200 lbs. But I did survive the experience and I won't be needing to move it farther than a few feet for quite some time.
The only major fault I've been able to find with this tv is that there is no button on the remote to enable the 16:9 mode. It's kind of a pain to go digging through the menu every time you put on a DVD
One other potential con is that Sony isn't known to have the most reliable products around. They have a great reputation for quality but if you check some of the consumer guides, you'll see that the reliability of some of their products falls way short of competing brands such as Panasonic. Of course, from only having this TV for three days, I can't really attest to it's reliability (Or lack thereof) but I will update this opinion if I experience any problems in the future.
I'm giving this TV five stars because it is an all around excellent TV for the money. The 16:9 mode and the Component input is what really sets it apart from other reasonably priced 27" sets. If you don't need either of those two features, save your money and buy a standard Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba.