Price (RRP): $2,099
Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
The Sony Bravia KDL-32V4000 is one of Sony’s new V series of LCD TVs. With an 80cm screen, this TV has to be one of the smallest full high definition units on the market, yet it still offers some unusual and interesting features. Importantly, it delivers for the first time into those spaces where larger panels don’t fit – or aren’t suitable – the highest resolution picture current technology allows, meaning you should no longer have to settle for an XGA-standard picture in the bedroom or study.
The full high definition panel is backed by a high definition digital TV tuner, along with an analog one. High definition external sources are handled via the three HDMI inputs (one easily accessible on the side) or two sets of component video inputs.
Also on the side is a USB socket, which is designed to allow digital photos to be shown. These images were scaled beautifully to produce an immaculate picture. They can be rotated if required. The TV can show these as a normal slideshow, but it also has a ‘Picture Frame’ function. With this the TV continues to show a picture for a preset time of up to four hours. Half a dozen artworks are built into the TV (including one Van Gogh-like piece) in case you don’t have any handy photos yourself.
Sony has introduced a new menu system for the TV, essentially copying across the ‘crossbar’ layout used in the Playstation 3. This can be a bit complicated, but there is also an ‘Options’ key on the remote which brings up a smaller menu offering relevant features according to what you’re watching.
Sony says that the TV has a contrast ratio of 3000:1, and does not say anything about any kind of ‘dynamic’ contrast ratio. However, it soon became apparent that the TV does employ dynamic processing, altering the level of the LCD panel’s backlight to optimise picture quality. When displaying a full black screen, with the picture mode set to ‘Standard’, the TV drew less than 40 watts of power, or less than one-third of the amount used under the same conditions for a full white screen.
The TV also has a setting to allow it to take the ambient light into account with its settings. I found this perhaps the best-tuned feature of this kind that I’ve seen.
The colour was excellent, aided by the strong performance with blacks.
The TV implements ‘1:1 pixel mapping’, meaning it applies no scaling at all to 1080i and 1080p signals. This allows each pixel to be delivered to its place on the screen without unnecessary processing, producing the sharpest possible image. You will have to dig around in the Settings/Setup/Screen Settings menu to switch this on. The TV didn’t display the very top row of pixels when in this mode – a defect noticeable only with test patterns.
The TV also supported 1080p24, delivering smooth motion from Blu-ray sources (free to air and Pay TV HD material runs at 50 frames per second so this makes no difference for them.)
The deinterlacing of 576i material – such as from a basic DVD player – was fairly rudimentary, so I recommend you use a high quality progressive scan DVD player.
The only real problem with this TV is that it is quite expensive for its size. But if you are restricted in the room that you have, this TV will deliver what must be close to the best picture available.