- Introduction -
I have been very lucky in acquiring one of these TVs and I couldn't wait to let people know about it. I have had it for a week or so now and have made use of many of the functions and I have to say, generally speaking I am very impressed, this is by no means a budget TV really, so if your looking for something on a fairly tight budget im afraid this will probably be above your budget, it currently (as of/in late December 2007) retails for around the £350 mark but if your looking for a quality second TV (ie for a bedroom or possibly kitchen, though it may be a little large for a kitchen, at 20"), then this is a very good contender for that.
The Sony Bravia KDL 20 S 2020 came out, as far as im aware, in 2006 and there really is little to complain about, trust me though I will mention everything that I feel is worth mentioning, I will re-assure you that I definately do NOT work for Sony and so have no reason to back the company up, everything I say to compliment or or otherwise this TV is down to my own experiences.
- Installation/Set up -
I found that after getting it home, it was surprisingly easy to install and I was thankful that it was as lightweight as it is, being an LCD TV its a whole lot lighter than my old CRT was, which felt like it might break my back just to move a few feet! it also takes up a whole lot less space without the big unit on the back that my old CRT TV had.
My dad helped out but it seemed pretty quick and easy to connect it to the ariel input, basically just swapping the connections from the old TV. Once all plugged in, It automatically tuned itself in and detecting both analogue and digital channels. Its true to say that we really need to update our outside aerial, as its one of the older ones and doesn't get a strong signal, meaning that some channels we can't get through Freeview and even the wondrous digital tuner in this TV can't rectify that situation, so alas there's no Film4 or TMF etc. for me to enjoy, though I've been assured that a better aerial will be installed sometime next year hopefully as a late Christmas present for me, which will be great as I'll be able to record from Film4 then.
- Manual -
The manual is good, its not too long but it covers all the important things and it has a useful index at the back. It also lists the TVs specification (gets quite technical, so only of use if you really understand it I guess!) and everything you'd expect. Its more of a booklet than a book and doesn't take up much space.
- Remote Control -
This is rather long and doesn't fit in my drawer where I keep all my other remotes, rather annoyingly enough for me. If I want to be really picky, I could include that in the negatives but if thats enough to put you off buying it, then thats a bit sad really lol anyway yes its long but its also a good size for holding in your hands and the buttons are all big enough and easy enough to use. It takes the usual 2 batteries (AA size I think) and you can change all the TV settings and switch between (soon to be turned off at the digital switch over) analogue and digital TV and you can access the EPG through the menu button (there's no seperate button for EPG or for turning subtitles on or off on digital too, which is a bit strange but you get used to it).
- Freeview/Digital Tuner -
Anyway, so yes as I probably hinted at, the TV does indeed come with a digital tuner built in, so you can view the extra digital channels that Freeview offers. Always be aware, however, that what channels you can receive depends on what coverage/signal reception is like in your area, as I say I can't get them all right now but usually, if it is patchy, it can be possible to get a more modern aerial installed which should at least help. There are websites out there that will tell you, if you enter your postcode, what you should be able to receive, Freeview wise, in your area. Always ask around for recommendations for aerial installation firms, no-one wants to get ripped off by a con man.
The TV has a 'digital favourites' function, which allows you to compile a list of your favourite channels on Freeview, so you can quickly switch between your most watched digital channels.
The TV also features a 7 day EPG (Electronic Programme Guide). This allows you to see whats going to be shown on each digital channel ahead of time, in this instance for 7 days at a time. Its quite handy but I have to say, on the downside, its a bit 'squashed' looking and most programmes you can't read the full name for, though if you select it, it should take you to the appropriate channel and display the name and info. there, though you then (obviously) have to return back to the EPG and go from there. I'm used to my hard disk recorder which has an info. bar at the very top of the EPG, so you can read the full name and a brief synopsis of each programme without navigating away from the EPG screen, yeah I guess im a little spoilt lol its hardly a big negative but oh well, I figured I might as well mention it. Another handy thing that you can do if you select a program is to add a timer record for it, which is used if you have a SmartLink compatible device connected to the TV (see below).
- Picture Quality -
The first thing that really hit me with this TV was the picture quality. I really can't fault it at all, I know LCD is better than CRT, which, co-incidentally is what my previous TV was but all the same, I feel that this TV offers superior picture quality and this is something that I've noticed every review on this TV has mentioned, so im not alone in feeling this way. I've played DVDs on my DVD player, watched cable on my Virgin Media set top box and watched recordings from my hard disk recorder on this TV, as well as watching the odd VHS videos on my old VCR, all the devices work with it fine and the picture quality has been about as good as you can ask for really. It may only be 20 inches but its perfectly big enough to be able to really enjoy a good DVD and the picture quality feels to me to be as good as you'd get on a larger screen, in particular I like how 'clean'/evident the black lines are, the detail is very good. I would recommend that you do sit a good couple of feet or so away from the screen however, as with all LCD TVs if you look too close to the screen, you'll see pixels/degredation, some wavy lines or whatever and it doesn't look so good, also you'll probably so square eyed so thats not to be recommended!
You can also change a number of settings relating to the screen/picture through the remote control and menu screens, including changing the brightness, contrast and backlight levels as well as the picture mode (vivid, standard etc.) and the aspect ratio (widescreen or not etc.). There is a power saving option too which is good to use to feel a bit less guilty about your energy usage I guess and it doesn't make it unwatchable, so I've set it to that and don't plan to change it.
I like how although my old TV was 21" and this one is 20", it actually looks more impressive when playing DVDs/movies because it seems to have been designed better in a way that makes it seem more widescreen, its not as tall as my old one but it seems more horizontal, if that makes sense.
I also haven't noticed any problem with reflections from my lights in my room or anything else getting in the way, the screen seems to be good at only dully showing any reflection, LCD is definately better than CRT in this respect, its much crisper and clearer, as well as being compact and better shaped/styled in my opinion.
- HD -
This is something that excited me, when I discovered that this TV is indeed that much sought after phrase 'HD Ready'. Now I will admit to being less than an expert in this particular field but heck, I won't complain! I know that standard DVDs use something like 576 lines on screen per second or whatever and HD at best can provide alot more, which basically bottom line equates to better, more detailed picture and as this TV already provides great quality picture, hey what can be better than that? I'm excited to find out! it isn't fully HD capable or ready and for those that are interested, the maximum display resolution is 1366 by 768 pixels, which I *think* (correct me if im wrong) is around about the middle resolution, so its not full 1080i or p or whatever but its still offering improved picture and thats fine by me! I haven't so far made use of that but when I do I know that there is the 1 HDMI port and it does support that, which im sure ill make use of in the future. Infact I have already reserved myself a HDMI DVD recorder that offers upscaling of standard DVDs in the sales to collect tomorrow, so I guess ill be at least somewhat trying it out very soon (I know upscaling isn't great but its still a good deal and even better its a Sony one with SmartLink so it'll all link up hopefully and is under £100 so I feel I can't complain; I love my DVDs and want to make the best use of this TVs great picture potential!).
- External Devices/Connections -
As I already said, it comes with 1 HDMI port, so if you want to use it with a V+ or Sky+ box and have a PS3 (a HD Blu Ray player and games console) or XBox 360 with the HD DVD add on or anything like that then you might be in difficulty, 1 HDMI port means 1 HD device can be attached at a time, though I can't dismiss the possibility that there may be such things as HDMI splitters like SCART splitters but I haven't looked myself so I can't be sure, there probably will be at some point anyway. As it happens, this is only a 20" TV and so shouldn't be the main TV of the house, whichever that would be, would/should probably have more HDMI ports so then you can use those devices on that, which will be a larger screen size anyway.
Other connections/ports it offers include 2 SCART sockets, which is great as I already have a SCART splitter with a few devices connected and so that all connected to just one SCART socker, leaving one socket free, so there's plenty of room for SCART devices.
As well as this, there's an array of other connections/sockets at the back, as well as the usual 3 a/v ports (the red, yellow and white ports) on the side of the TV along with a headphone port. Of course there's the connection/socket for the aerial input, as well as 2 for use with a PC, whereby you can use the TV as a monitor for your laptop and have your laptop screen show on the TV, which could be cool. I haven't tried it out but I have wondered the possibility of downloading movies and then playing them on the TV. Only legally of course! its a shame more companies haven't offered movie downloads, I'd be quite keen on that but anyway I can't comment on this functionality as I haven't used it yet but you are supposed to be able to use it like a big monitor, so that option is there. There are other coloured sockets which are to do with using it with other external devices but ill just be honest again and say that I'm not sure what exactly their for either, there does seem to be as many ports/connections/sockets or whatever you wanna call them as they could cram in there really, just about, so I can't complain about that either...
Oops I realised I forgot to mention here that the TV also offers 4 AV inputs in total, as well as the HDMI port and the PC port and one listed called 'D-TV' which to be honest im not sure what that refers to.
- SmartLink -
This TV is compatible with SmartLink enabled devices, such as VCRs and DVD Recorders. What does this mean? well basically it means that if it can detect such a device is attached and you configure it correctly, you can use the aforementioned EPG within the digital side of the TV and select specific shows that you might want to tape to the external device and your given the option to, once the show is selected from the EPG, set a timer record, which, if its all set up properly, will be sent down to the device and tell it to record that show. It should make it easier to record, simply setting up the recording from the TV, without having to tell the device (VCR/DVD Recorder) when to switch on and off and which channel to tape etc. as well. I haven't used this function yet but I should be soon and if it doesn't work, I'll definately edit this to say so, don't you worry when things don't work I do say so! being a Sony TV and given my current experiences with it though, im far from worried, especially as im getting a Sony DVD recorder, so it should all link up fine and work hopefully without a glitch.
- Sound -
The sound at first I was a little concerned about, it seemed just that bit sort of, not tinny but a bit enclosed I suppose you could say, at first. However, I have adapted to it and have no problem with it now. Of course being modern, its fully stereo and utilises/offers both Virtual Dolby Surround and Viva Digital HD3D sound, which is very impressive sounding (ie from the names alone, get it? impressive sounding ?- doh!) and seems to work. I'm not someone who has a big audio setup, there are no 5 surround speakers set up around my room or anything like that to really take in the full effect of these sort of things but I have no problem with the sound anymore, its pretty good. The volume allows you to make it plenty loud enough to listen to trust me and you have the option of, through the menu settings, changing which audio system to use, so you can check and see if a DVD sounds any better using Dolby or Viva and so on.
- Other Functions -
Ok so you get digital built in (ie access to Freeview), HD or at least partially HD capabilities via HDMI and the ability to use it as a PC monitor plus SmartLink recognition and decent audio choices and a great picture quality. What more can they possibly add to this? well I'll tell you what - these features!
* Auto start up
* Programme sorting
* The choice of screen formats (widescreen, 4/3, 14/9 etc.)
* Sleep timer
- Any Downsides? -
Well yes, as great as it is, I wouldn't say that its without any faults whatsoever, so I'll endeavour to mention as much as I can here to give it as honest a review as possible, from the consumers point of view.
Its true to say that negatives are very thin on the ground and I wouldn't let any of these reasons put you off purchasing it too much but all the same, the text on the menu screens I find to be a bit annoyingly small, sometimes I find myself blinking a bit more than perhaps I should trying to focus on the menu screens while changing settings. There was no real need, that I can tell, to have the text quite so small on screen and it is a bit of a nuisance but nothing more really. This is a put off when you know that you have to sit at a distance to not be too close to the screen, to get the best out of the picture but then you have to almost squint to read the screens if you wish to change the aspect ratio or audio settings etc., which is a bit daft too.
Also as I've already said, the EPG is a bit 'squashed' feeling and I feel it could have maybe been designed a bit better, it would have been much nicer if it had an info. bar at the top like my hard disk recorder has, as it is at the moment I prefer to switch my hard disk recorder on and check the EPG using that, than use the one built in to the TV which is perhaps a bit daft but oh well, I prefer it so, thats just the way it is.
Also I was a bit disappointed to see that there's no subtitle button on the remote, in order to switch subtitles on or off (for use with the digital channels), you have to navigate your way through a few menu screens until you find the option under settings. Every other set top box/Freeview device I've had always had a button just for switching the subtitles on and off but this one doesn't, also to access the EPG you have to press menu and select it from a list and there's no individual button on the remote for the EPG either but thats not a big issue, its quick enough to load it from the menu screen. Why you have to change the subtitles by going through the screens I don't know, it seems a bit strange but I hardly ever, if ever, use subtitling so it hardly bothers me either, its just one of those things thats maybe worth mentioning, in case you do use subtitles alot and that might annoy you.
As well as that, like I also mentioned previously, your restricted to 1 HDMI port, so if I ever end up with V+ and I have my DVD Recorder then I'll be somewhat stuck, unless I just use the DVD Recorder through SCART, not being able to fully use the upscaling capabilities of it in that case and have V+ through the HDMI slot for using BBC HD and other HD channels it supports... though as I did mention, there will maybe be HDMI splitters come out in the future (if their not available now, im not sure(?)) which will allow you to control multiple HD devices through the one HDMI lead, one at a time like how SCART splitters work but im just guessing really.
I don't think there is anything much else to mention here, other than general LCD things, like I mean the fact that the picture looks bad if you stand too close and I've yet to discover the best way to clean the screen, I know you have to be careful, its not as easy as cleaning a CRT screen so be careful not to make stains any worse by using any old duster or cloth! it already has a couple of marks on it and im still waiting to get around to figuring out how best to clean it without making it worse, to be honest.
- Official Site/Product Info. Page -
If your still interested in finding out more about this product, I tracked down the TVs product information page over at Sonys British website, which you should be able to find here:- http://www.sony.co.uk/view/ShowProduct.action?product=KDL-20S2020&site=odw_ en_GB&pageType=Overview&imageType=Main&category=TVP+15-26+Sony+BRAVIA+TV
i f that link times out or otherwise doesn't work, then simply go to www.sony.co.uk, under 'all products' on the left hand side, click on 'Televisions and Projectors', then click on '15"-26" Bravia TV' on the next page, then scroll down and its about the third from the bottom on the right hand side, model number/name 'KDL -20S2020'. Hope this helps! You can use the accessories finder on the right of the product info. page to search for support files for it too (the TV manual etc.) if you enter the model into the search box and so on...
- Conclusions/Would I Recommend This? -
Thats really all I can think of mentioning about this TV, though of course if I think of any more, I'll be sure to add it here so feel free to check back sometime if your interested, also as im getting my DVD Recorder tomorrow if any problems arise I'll mention them here too. I only just found the place for my review here and I just thought ooh I really want to make a review for this right now so no it couldn't wait until after I get my recorder tomorrow lol im addicted to reviewing on Ciao! oh well... anyway I have to say, to sum all things up, this may not be the cheapest small TV on the market but it is feature packed and offers enough to be future proof for at least the next couple of years, being digital compatible (ie for after the digital switch over, until everything moves over to the MPEG4 digital transmission *sigh* IF that happens at all in the next few years, blah buying a brand new set top box - this is far too techy and I kinda wish I never stumbled on that info. but oh well, it'll mean free to view HD channels so I guess thats cool... anyway(!)) and offering at least some degree of HD compatibility, as well as the ability to use it as a PC monitor and the SmartLink compatibility built in, really what more could you ask for?
For the price, even though its not budget by any means, I say that its worth it for the picture quality alone. If your like me and love watching movies and TV regularly, its worth paying the extra for trust me, keep an eye out for this in the sales and if you see a good deal and its what your looking for, I'd fully recommend it. It may not be perfect, with some minor glitches but over all its a brilliant 20" TV, another great quality product from Sony!
I hope this review is of help to you, to decide if its worth the money, all r/r/cs are greatfully received and if I miss anyone out in catching up with everyone elses reviews, please send me a quick message to let me know, I wont bite and will rate everyone in time (honest!). Thank you for reading! (and of course this review was originally posted on Ciao! UK under my username there, which is the same name, IzzyS). Thanks for all r/r/c's too, their all much appreciated!.
I fancied upgrading my tv in the bedroom, I was looking for something that was fairly small, I didn't want something too big as my bedroom aint massive. So in the twenty inches category I had a few options but the Sony KDL was the most appealing.
There were several reasons I found the tv to be attractive. One of the first reasons was that it was the perfect size and I could get it in the colour I wanted which was silver. It also comes in black or white as well as the silver.
The sound was meant to be fairly impressive as it has a large speaker underneath the screen with dolby digital surround sound technology. I found it to be fairly good until I changed the settings. Then once I put it in dolby digital mode then it was excellent. It is good for just a speaker underneath the tv screen as sometimes it can sound as if you've got speakers all around yourself. Apart from this the sound is crystal clear and you won't be dissapointed with it.
Another thing that was good about the tv was the fact that it was HD ready, although it isn't full HD at 720p it is still good for a small screen. Picture quality is absolutely fantastic on this thing, you can watch anything and it looks good on this thing, and its brilliant when you put it on HD. I hook my xbox 360 up to it and you can't get a better looking image on a screen of this size anywhere else.
As it's an LCD the screen does not take up a lot of space. This thing is also freeview ready so you don't need a freeview box to take advantage of all the free channels you can get.
Overall this tv looks good in the room has excellent picture quality and the sound is clean and crisp, it has connections for loads of things and it doesn't look half bad. I would recommend this tv for anyone needing a screen in the bedroom or kitchen that isn't to big or small. The tv cost me only £319 from John Lewis but this tv normally retails for about £400.