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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Review: Sony KDL-32EX308 LCD TV

I have been using a CRT TV with a DTV decoder box since the digital transition, but finally, I decided to join the world of true HDTV, and decided to shop for a modestly price LCD HDTV. My main requirement: it had to work well with OTA viewing, since I refuse to pay money for TV service.After some digging around, a clear winner came out: the Sony KDL-32EX308. This is a 32" 720p unit which has a price around $430 from I am convinced this is the best modestly price TV for OTA use out there.

  • Ethernet port and free wi-fi adapter. Automatically updates firmware.
  • 2 HDMI ports, plus USB for music and photo playback.
  • Internet video functions like Qriocity, Amazon, Netflix, and Youtube built in
  • Internet radio from Pandora, Slacker, NPR, others
  • TV Guide populated from internet download
  • DLNA client built in -- you can stream video from your PC, even Windows Media Center
  • Decent OTA reception (about as good as my Zenith DTV box)
  • Nice integrated Favorites menu lets you assign inputs, internet functions, and channels to the favorites bar
  • Nice XBM menu system
  • Massive deal at only $430
  • Good remote with redundant power button underneath (where your fingers go)
  • Nice basic understated design
  • HDMI link lets you control Sony branded stuff from the TV menu, without changing remotes.

  • Advanced features take longer to "boot up" than basic TV function on a cold start (can be remedied by setting up quick start mode, but this uses more power)
  • DLNA client needs MPEG2 video to play, so you need a DLNA server which can transcode to MPEG2 on the fly. Windows Media 7 seems to work fine for most formats this way, with some loss in quality.
  • TV Guide startup delay of about 5s after you press the guide button.
  • Sluggish response to some menu navigation commands, slow response to direct channel input.
  • Can't add channels manually, must scan then delete
  • Lots of "fluff" (craplets) in internet sources like Ford Models channel, which apparently can't be manually removed.
  • Narrow viewing angle--colors begin to noticeably wash out if you move just 45 degrees off center.
  • No support yet for Hulu, ABC video on demand, and some other sites.
Even if it didn't have a built in DLNA client, and didn't do Youtube, the TV Guide function alone would be worth considering.

Screen Shots:

Excellent picture when viewed close to head on.

The favorites menu overlays on top of your current activity, this is the best way to get to things you frequently use.

XBM Menu is quick and attractive.

My main reason to buy: the TV Guide which is fed from internet data or OTA data. Cons: delay before it comes up, slow response to inputs, advertising.

Useful channel strength and information display.

Pandora Radio interface.

YouTube frontend.

YouTube fullscreen with navigation controls. They go away after a second if you don't need them.

Remote details. Nice quick access buttons for major functions, redundant power button on the back of the remote.

Close-up of display for display geeks.


CB said...

hi.These looks nice. pictures is also good Thanks.

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Louis said...

When playing over DLNA, does it offer the capability to play the video on repeat?