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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sony KDL-V32A12U - LCD TV

When you switch on the Sony Bravia KDL-V32A12U – or, indeed, any of the sets in this test – for the first time, you’re likely to get quite a shock. This is because, for reasons best known to themselves, manufacturers
tend to ship LCD TVs with their picture settings set in what they call ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Vivid’ mode, which usually means garishly vibrant colours and extreme brightness and contrast. This is also why you shouldn’t judge the picture of a TV in a shop.

Thankfully, this Sony’s intuitive menu system makes it very easy to rectify the picture, sound and any other settings you feel like tweaking while you’re at it. Particularly useful are the gamma correction and backlight controls; two options that aren’t always present in other manufacturers’ menus. Usefully you can, like the Hitachi set, create separate custom picture settings for each input – perfect if, for example, you like a slightly brighter picture on your DVD movies, but prefer a bit more contrast on broadcast TV.

After a lot of tinkering, we got an excellent picture for all external inputs. HD video over the component input was second only to that of the Philips 32PF9830, and the picture from a standard DVD upscaled 1080i looked particularly effective. Played at standard definition via one of the set’s three RGB Scarts, the same DVD still looked good, with rich detail and a pleasant softness not always typical of LCD screens. We did start to notice a little motion blur creeping in here.

Broadcast TV is the set’s real weak spot. Both analogue and digital channels are available, but neither look
particularly inspiring, with a lot of shimmering edges and blockiness going on. To a certain extent this is to be expected, and overall the Bravia does pretty well for a sub-£1,400 set.

It’s a handsome TV with a dark grey trim that makes it far less intrusive than many of its rivals here, and has a
few handy additional features, such as Virtual Dolby Surround as well as a slot for a Top Up TV card.

[Via: activehome]

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