15th Jun 2007 | 23:00
Evolution not revolution is the name of the game
In a fairly unusual move by AV standards, Sony has quietly done what might be considered an upgrade to some of its Bravia LCD models ahead of launching its 'proper' next-generation sets.
And it's one of these 'upgrade' models, the 32-inch KDL-32V2500, that's rightly earned its place in our affordable flat TV hall of fame.
As well as an extra HDMI, there is the usual roster of component video, digital tuner, PC and standard TV inputs. But a key improvement is a dynamic contrast system, whereby the TV's backlight can automatically reduce its output to give dark scenes deeper black levels. Thanks to this, the 32V2500 claims a contrast ratio of 7000:1.
Also on board is the company's acclaimed Bravia Engine video processing engine, with its emphasis on noise reduction, detailing, colour and contrast; Sony's Wide Colour Gamut backlight system for a more extended colour range; and 'SPVA' technology that increases the angle from which you can watch the screen without the picture quality radically decreasing.
There are also tweaks galore in the neat onscreen menus, including both standard and MPEG noise reduction, gamma adjustments, and a white balance setter.
This Sony is as good with high-definition sources as any LCD TV we've seen. Sharpness levels, for instance, are out of this world, bringing out HD's extra detail in a way few rivals get close to.
Colours are unusually expressive, too, thanks to a winning combination of fulsome saturations and tones. Black levels, meanwhile, are far better than those seen with the original 32V2000, with the dynamic contrast feature enabling dark parts of the picture to suffer much less greying over.
Elsewhere, the Bravia Engine system ensures that the picture is remarkably free of practically all types of video noise, even with SD sources.
With some robust audio to flesh out the all-round excellent AV experience, we have only one quibble with the Sony's performance: its motion handling. In a nutshell, we've seen a few high-end LCD screens show moving objects with less smearing and more resolution than this one.