Back in 2011 I got a tax refund (a rarity I know!) and I decided to treat myself with a new tv. I didn't have the largest budget but wanted the best quality I could afford. The first choice was whether to go with a bigger tv, or go smaller with more features and in the end I opted for this Sony tv for £358 on amazon. For the price I could have got a 40 inch tv, but the smart tv aspect won the day for me.
One of the great features on this tv is the inbuilt HD free view tuner that really let's you experience the quality that this tv has to offer. The pictures are crisp, with great depth and good tones. I've also used this tv for playing blu rays and xbox gaming and the HD really stands out.
Getting good sound from internal LCD tv speakers really is a challenge and is presented as a disadvantage of the product by other reviewers but this tv really does a good job and has a lot of options including a virtual surround sound that really works. Obviously this will never compare to external speakers but for a budget tv you can easily get by without extra speakers.
Other good features on the tv are the ability to plug in an external USB hard drive allowing you to record programmes and films directly to your hard drive to watch later. It's nowhere near as accomplished as a sky+ box etc, however it really is a unique feature for such a budget tv.
You have the ability to plug in a web cam and use Skype on the big screen.
You can even use your smartphone as a remote for the tv and most usefully to type when searching through the net or on love film for example.
A really novel feature is the 'track ID' button on the Sony remote that when pushed during live tv will do the same as 'shazam' and give you the artist and song title playing.
Another really great feature is the ability to play pictures/music and videos from DNLA enabled devices such as phones, PC's and tablets. Having the ability to flash your pictures up on the big screen from your phone when you have family or friends round is really fun.
For the energy conscious among us the tv boasts a presence sensor that recognises movement and will turn the screen off if you leave the room, instantly coming back on when you arrive back in the room. This really is a good feature.
Recently I decided to buy a Sony blu ray player, due to the fact that certain Sony products can use 'Bravia sync' allowing you to use the devices together on the same remote and access all the settings through the Bravia tv, something not normally possible when combining other brand players with your tv, due to them having separate setting menus.
This is the reason i bought this tv. If you haven't got a games console or tablet with the ability to play on demand tv this tv is definitely a winner. Using a wired connection or wireless (if you fork out for an expensive Sony wireless adapter) you can stream bbc iplayer, 4 on demand, 5 on demand, love film and lots of other video streaming sites. You can also use social media sites such as facebook and twitter, though I'm not sure if many would want to use that feature on the tv. Either way it's available to you.
Overall this Sony tv has a huge range of useful features and a great quality picture so I recommend it whole heartedly to those on a budget. You get great value for money.
Model: Sony 32CX523
This is a review of the Sony 32 inch LCD, model number KDL-32CX523. The product is made by Japanese global electronics giant Sony. I bought this product at Costco in August 2011 and paid £385 for one of these televisions. With my purchase I received a 5 year warranty which also helped me decide on buying this television. In my opinion it is a good television but not among the very best High definition LCD televisions available. The primary reason I bought this television was because of the digital switch over in April 2012 and also because I wanted a better television and felt the need to replace my long standing CRT television. So far I have thought quite highly of this television because I have watched football in High definition and been really pleased by the viewing performance and also having a PS3 also means that I view the games in the highest resolution possible. This set has Freeview HD channels, but there is no 3D television option on this product.
The design lends itself to many different styles of living room. This set is slim and not bulky. It looks the part and is a television from a top quality manufacturer.
The sound quality is quite average as I could not hear bass music too well on this television but the sound is audible and easy to adjust on the remote control. The sound is not that good but not bad either. I would say the sound is a bit flat. The sound lacks bass and does not have smooth frequencies. This means that this television does not have the all important stereo sound. I would say that for the price paid it is still acceptable.
By contrast the picture quality is good. By good I mean that in high definition I can watch football matches in HD and the picture is crisp and clear and the result is detailed and nice to watch. I have watched other rival LCD brands in the 32 inch category which in my opinion are not as good as the Sony 32 inch Bravia televisions. I would say that the picture quality looks realistic and natural. In standard definition mode there is a bit of glare from the light which if you view the television away from the center then you will see light fading from the edge of the screen ever so slightly. Watching the standard definition channels in the center of the screen then it is a good quality television. Similarly when watching a hi definition the quality is really good. There is good depth to the picture and I like the viewing experience. The viewing experience is good as I can see clearly the sharp crisp picture quality.
The advantages of this television are that the television comes with Freeview HD installed, good high definition picture quality and reasonably good standard definition pictures. The sound for me was clearly a slight negative. Secondly the price is good and not overly expensive and definitely fits within a budget television purchase.
I am able to see the different shades of color on the screen and for me it is a well defined and has good details. The refresh rate is 50hz but is smooth and I do not see changes in shadows or background distortion. Also when I watch a scene of a horror film where there is a dark setting, I do not see the details in the background fading.
The installation involved auto tuning for the channels which was fast and straightforward. I also can run my channels from the cable television box. When I bought the television I
It is easy to select either the AV or HDMI channel selection. The television has 4 HDMI ports and 1 scart AV port and PC output. This television can be connected to the PC as a monitor if needed. There is also a standard aerial port socket and it also has a surround sound speaker output module. The thin panel really can not be expected to deliver deep bass sounds and good range of frequencies. So, if you were to get the most out of the sound quality, you would have to connect a good quality sub woofer or wall mounted or free standing speakers to enhance the audio experience.
My conclusion of this television by Sony is that it is a good one, it is not excellent largely because of the sound and the picture quality does not have enough depth. Apart from this, it can be said that this is definitely a good television and worth around the £350-400 mark.
Settings and Technical Review
The remote control has an options button which contains different settings of the television for items such as picture, sound and screen format. This is very easy to access from the options button on the remote control. Also there is an audio systems selection where you can switch between the television speakers to the pictures you have added on. Looking at the picture option settings you have three picture modes which are !standard, vivid and custom. The vivid setting changes the back light and brightness to a high settings and provides a warm range of colors. This adjusts the back light and contrast to the maximum. The standard picture mode is easier on the eye and although the picture quality appears to be not as bright and sharp as the vivid picture mode. The custom mode allows you to set your own settings based on your preference for the back light, brightness, contrast and color. Changing the settings is easy as you can select which of the four options you want to change, and using the circular arrow keypad on the remote control, you press it right to increase the value, or you can go to the left, to reduce the output of each setting.
Once you have adjusted the custom settings you can return to the television screen by pressing the back button on the remote control and your settings are instantly saved.
The sound options include 3 modes of standard, dynamic and clear voice. Each of those sound modes has different treble and bass settings. The standard sound mode has treble and bass on a medium setting. The dynamic mode has treble and bass close to the maximum which provides a higher frequency range. The clear voice mode has a flat default setting for bass and treble, which would be more suited to watching documentaries or watching chat shows where there is not much musical background. This would enable the user to get a clearer voice output. If you have surround sound speakers connected to the television, these can also be configured through the remote control easily, and there is also an additional option for sound enhancement. I have found that this works similar to a loudness setting which amplifies the range of sound frequencies. You can also adjust the balance of the sound to different speakers and generally adjusting the sound is very easy.
There are five options for screen format which is useful for watching films that have different screen sizes. The first option is the normal setting and watching most television programs compresses the screen size to a traditional square. This leaves a left and right blank screen margin. The second option is a full sized screen mode which maximizes the full size of the screen without cutting out parts of the picture. The third option is a zoom option which provides a closer picture but it cuts part of the top and bottom of the screen, so if you were reading captions or subtitles would prove quite difficult if not impossible. The fourth option is a wide zoom, which is more or less the same as the zoom option. The final mode is the caption screen format which provides a full screen zoom but it compresses the screen size upward, so that you can view the subtitles and eliminates the cut in the screen. There also is an option for a network connection but when I press that option it comes up with an error message.
You can also generate a twin picture so that you can watch two different channels at the same time, using a split screen option. There is also a seam select options which you can use an auto select which is the default setting which adjusts the seam based on viewing content. There is a general seam select, which turns off the feature for general viewing. Also is a cinema seam select which adjusts the picture and sound for optimal viewing of movies. Similarly there is a seam select option for music, sports, animations, gaming. Each seam select option has a different range of screen and sound options, to automatically enhance the viewing experience based on what you are watching.
The television has a sleep timer which ranges from 15 minutes to 2 hours, and once this time has lapsed the television goes into standby mode.
A USB memory stick can also be inserted into the USB port at the back of the television and pressing the home button on the remote control you can select media, to access photos, music and videos. There is also a recording facility but you would need a external hard drive to store the files. There is finally a Ethernet port which allows you to hard wire the television to the cable modem which would allow you to use Skype, Facebook and Twitter and the Internet browser. The browser size is a bit small and takes a while to load the default Sony television website. The Internet access is limited to the Sony website. I am unable to change the web address which is not accessible.
In my opinion this television by Sony has a good range of options to adjust the screen size, format, picture and sound quality. I also think that the television has a good connectivity through the different ports available. The downsides are the sound which does not provide a deep enough bass. The sound could be improved by connecting surround sound speakers. I think that this is definitely a good value budget purchase.
Sadly my much loved TV gave up the ghost a few weeks ago and I had to find a replacement quickly.
My hubby could not last the night without a TV ( football ) so I chose the Sony Bravia under pressure as normally I do loads of research and spend time looking at the TV's up close.
I was quite confident about my choice as I have a Sony laptop and desktop and the picture quality is excellent on those. Plus I had looked at this while helping a relative choose a TV.
This model is 32" as any larger would dominate our average size living room.
This was well packed in a slim line box and it came out without a fight and I could easily lift it as it weighs in at 8.7kg.
It comes with a matching stand that the TV slots into, TV remote and batteries and the power lead. No other cables are supplied.
The stand was easy to put together although I asked my hubby to do that and he didn't swear once, so it must have been simple. You do need to stand this on a unit or wall mount it as the stand is just something the screen slots into. We bought a TV stand as we didn't want to wall mount.
There is a guide with basic instructions.
I didn't use the paper instructions; I simply switched on and followed the instructions on the TV, which involved confirming the language and then running auto tune to locate the channels. This is very straightforward and my mum has a Sony and she managed this at nearly 80 years young, so I think it is very user friendly.
The most difficult part of set up is dealing with the spaghetti junction of cables to the Sky and DVD recorder. I somehow managed to leave them plugged in to their respective boxes and it was simply a case of attaching those to the TV. Luckily Sky and the DVD are connnected in such a way that I only had to use one scart in the TV, lucky because there is only one scart socket in the TV.
I should have purchased HDMI cables as this job would have been easier than maneuvering scarts , something I did a few days later.
This model is 32" LCD TV with full HD freeview and it is a Smart Internet TV. This means it has built in WIFI so you can watch iPlayer , YouTube and Skype. I hadn't realised it had this feature when I bought it , I simply wanted a TV , but thinking about it , it will be good to catch up using iPlayer and watch on a 32" TV.
I haven't tested this yet as I understand you need a Sony dongle ( probably expensive) to do this. Or presumably I could connect my laptop , this isn't something I have experience of so will look into this , but for now I am happy to have a TV that works.
My review therefore is primarily about the TV.
What I like about this is the connectivity . It has 4 HDMI sockets so plenty for my needs. What I did notice is how much the picture improved when I swapped from using a scart to HDMI , so I would recommend that you ditch your scarts and invest in HDMI cables as you won't really see the benefit of HD.
I still need to play with the connections as the DVD recorder only has one HDMI socket and so it connects to the Sky box with a scart, which I think is probably unnecessary , but as it all works I am putting off the cable tidying up that is needed.
We generally watch on the channel that links to our Sky box and don't really watch the digital TV channel. For the purposes of this review I have switched to Channel 3 and need to turn the TV down as it is much louder , but the picture quality is the same.
The remote is black . slightly on the big side, but the keys are easy to read and navigate and as yet I haven't had to stare for hours looking for a key that I can't find.
It is really easy to switch from TV to HDMI via a key at the top left on the remote, but you can switch from Sky to Tv simply by typing in the channel numbers.
I haven't spent a long time exploring all the menus , but like most TVs you can change the display size , colour contrast brightness and other features if you wish. Also you can change the sound , bass treble etc, which I have done and it was very easy to do.
The picture is fantastic , crystal clear and I have not noticed any glitches in the picture. The technical specification is a Full HD 1080p display resolution and the full spec is 1920 x 1080 pixels , so quite a lot of pixels which is why the picture is so crisp and clear. That is about my limit on knowledge of pixels.
The refresh rate is 50Hz and there is a viewing angle of 178/178 degrees. I think that explains why there are no glitchy bits and you can watch from some angles but not all. I don't know how this compares to other models , but our set is in a corner, so no one has to watch from an awkward angle.
It also has one scart, pc input , headphone and 2 USB sockets. There are other connections which include a component video socket, Ethernet, composite and DNLA compatibility. I know what some of these are for , but have no idea on the others but have included them for completeness.
It has a sleep timer , child lock , picture in picture (PIP), picture and picture (PAP) and a great on screen TV guide which is really clear and easy to navigate and much better than the Sky menu. I have no idea what PAP is!
So all good so far a really fabulous TV picture with lots of connectivity.
The TV itself is in a black surround is a Piano black finish and looks really smart. The other benefit is that it is really slim and much easier to move around than the old tank we had. It is a nightmare to dust and I have yet to find the right cloth that picks it up first time, but that is not a major issue.
What is a major issue for me is the sound quality,( perhaps that is where PAP comes in ) or should I say lack of sound quality.
It is absolutely horrendous, like listening to one of the old style transistor radios that came out in the 1960s. I am sure there are 2 tin cans in there.
I had been warned that I would notice the sound quality would not be as good as my old tank CRT TV, but never imagined it would be this bad.
It literally makes me wince. I have tried everything to improve the sound but it is still TINNY!
Sony you really need to work on this. I have a smaller LG TV and the sound is much better.
We haven't got cinema surround speaker systems as there has never been a need for them . We did once buy one, but realised it was just too much for our small living room and have been perfectly happy just listening to the TV.
According to the blurb this has a Dolby sound system with 10x 10 watt outputs. Whatever that is , it is totally inadequate and sounds rubbish.
As a result I have now ordered a sound bar that will hopefully address the sound issue and minimise the number of cables/speakers we need . Plus I am sure I have developed loads on new wrinkles with all the frowning and wincing I do when any music comes on.
It can't come soon enough for me!
Would I recommend
I think that is quite tricky as the sound quality issue is a real problem for me , but if you have a cinema surround type system you can use with the TV then I would say yes. Plus I suspect that sound quality is an issue with most LCD TV's.
This currently costs around £350 at Argos . It was on sale for £500 so they say there is £150 off, but this is the price most people are selling this at.
I think the Sony Bravia really does deliver in picture quality, it is impressive and I have no quibbles with this and I do think I am hard to please. It has loads of connectivity , so for those that play lots of things via their TVs , no more scrabbling about disconnecting things.
All the connections are easy to access, down the side and at a reasonable height on the back. HDMI cables are much easier to connect than scarts and improve the picture quality in my experience.
Did I mention the sound is rubbish!
Lacking any kind of upmarket panel tech, you'll have to make do with regular LCD,no sign of any LED backlighting here, but elsewhere there are plenty of features to surprise the average budget TV buyer. Probably the most useful are Bravia Internet Video, USB recording, a built in freeview HD tuner and a smartphone app. even though this tv is dumb down compared to others if you dont use all the extra features such as 3D this is a wonderful tv to buy