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Sony has done it again. Winning Projection TV of the year 2004 by Home Cinema Choice magazine, I introduce to you the ultimate choice for home cinema fanatics ...(take a breath..) The Sony KP-44PX2U 44 Virtual Dolby wide screen rear projection TV. Im probably the least biased person to be writing this review so I do hope I can sell this to you. If not then Im sure, at the least, impress you. I hated rear projections. I found the view to be so limited. You have to be either sat directly central to the screen or at the other end of a 20ft lounge. You couldnt watch Eastenders from the kitchen door and you couldnt sit to the side of the screen in an armchair. You can now - this TV has the best viewing angle I have ever seen for a rear projection. A rear projection TV is a system where the red, blue and green of TV images are projected onto a mirror, which reflects the picture onto the screen. This TV has a high performance mirror, which improves convergence and brightness, hence the better viewing angle. My Fiancé had spent months on end scouring the magazines of Home Cinema Choice for the latest, best and most impressive Television buy. The conversation always came back around to rear projections, but he was determined I would be convinced with this one. He took me to the store and I soon found myself jumping around within feet from the TV, whilst it was on display, trying to convince myself that I wouldnt be happy with finally giving into my Fiancés pleas. I couldnt find fault and in fact the more bouncing around I did the more it impressed me. STATISTICS *^*^*^*^*^*^*^ This is a 44inch (approx. 112cm - measured diagonally) 100Hz wide screen TV. The 100Hz on a TV is proven to greatly reduce flickering and so is easier on the eye. A normal TV scans pictures at 50hz, which means that the picture is flickering constantly, which can make a picture look unrealistic. A 100Hz TV is double this scan rate giving a flicker-free picture and the most realistic and deep picture reproduction available. The overall TV appearance has a sheer minimalist design in a very light metallic grey and the screen itself is flat and glass like in appearance as apposed to the dark grey textured Perspex type screen most of these projection TVs come with. The flat screen eliminates any reflection or glare, also contributing toward a much sharper and realistic picture. The unit overall size is 109.7 cm x 116.1 cm x 54.6 cm (WxHxD). There is an on/off button positioned to the right below the screen with a standby indicator. The front base of the TV is the speaker, which stretches to the full width of the unit. Instead of a fabricated cover (easily snagged, a nightmare around children or pets and not 99% protective to the speaker drum), there are holes perforated into the hardwearing unit cover. To the right hand side of the base is a push-open panel. Inside contains further buttons to operate the TVs viewing options. This includes: *2 buttons for Programme up/down and 2 buttons for volume up/down. *A selecting input source button for finding channels displaying appliance connectivity. (E.g. DVD channel or PS2) *An Auto convergence button - This adjusts the colour registration. It auto converges the red, blue and green lines. Due to the Earths magnetism, the picture might become undefined and you could see different colours on the outlines of the images. If this rings any bells with a standard TV then this TV will amend that for you. *S Video Input jack for connection with VHS/Hi8/DVC Camcorders. *Video Input for 8mm/Hi8/DVC camcorders *Audio input jacks used in conjunction with the above and also with game consoles such as PS2, Xbox, etc. *Headphones for, well, headphones!! The majority of TVs that have these additional options are usually positioned to the front of the TV. Particularly when it comes to the Audio input jacks, you get wires from games consoles trailing from the front of the TV, which is messy, dangerous and unattractive. This was an exciting discovery when we received the TV because it was situated on the side and the TV already has 3 scart connections* (European standard) to the rear of the unit so this was a handy addition! With all these alternative options we never have to change the scart leads around and the PS2 is constantly out of the way as its leads run from and down the side of the unit. *Our old TV had 2 scart connections, as with many TVs, and we always found that we had to constantly change the scart leads around whether we wanted the standard TV programmes, DVD, VHS or PS2 through surround sound which was plugged into the first scart socket. This lead to broken pins in the leads and hassle from trying to feel-find the holes, leaning over the TV, knocking off ornaments and leaning on the wall causing hand-grease marks! Enough of the winging, I dont have to worry about those anymore! In addition to the 3-scart connections at the rear, there is an aerial connection and 2 additional Audio output jacks for connecting the TV to a Hi-Fi unit. (Instead of using surround sound) MENU OPTIONS ^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^ Picture adjustment allows you to alter the picture in 3 available selections: Live (For live broadcasts, DVD & Digital set top box receivers), Personal (For individual settings*) and Movie. (For films) *Brightness, sharpness and colour alteration options available with this option only. Noise reduction (Set as automatic but with cancel options) and a Manufacturer Reset option. Sound adjustment (supported by BBE High Definition Sound System) which allows you to alter sound with 4 options: Natural (Enhances clarity, detail and presence), Dynamic (Intensifies clarity and presence for better intelligibility and musical realism), Dolby V (Dolby Virtual simulates the sound effect of Dolby Surround Pro Logic) and Off (Flat response). There are treble, bass, balance and reset options available. The sound this TV liberates is magnificent and astounding. As they say, it does what it says on the tin. Sleep timer allows you to select a time period for the TV to switch off automatically into standby mode. Auto Format this is clever and useful. As many of you will know Some TV channels are not formatted with wide screen TVs, even some DVDs come as standard or in wide screen options. Maybe youre watching football and the score is cut off beyond the screen size well with this option you can adjust the television picture to your choice through 5 options available: Smart imitation of wide screen effect for 4:3: broadcast (It stretches a 4:3: broadcast picture in a way to fill the screen without visually distorting the picture) 4:3: - full picture information in the conventional squared picture size. 14:9: - a compromise between 4:3: and 16:9: Zoom Wide screen format for letterbox movies (You know those John Wayne movies or something that are too thin?!) Wide For 16:9: broadcast Full picture information and fills the screen. AV3 Output allows you to select the source to be output from the scart connector so that you can record from this scart any signal coming from the projection TV (recording Eastenders to your VCR) or from an external equipment connected to the scart connectors (recording a DVD to VCR) PIP input (Picture In Picture!) allows you to select the source you want to watch in the PIP screen. Basically this TV has an option where you press a button and a little box appears on screen so you can view what else in on TV whilst still watching one programme, if you decide you want to watch what you see in the box you can swap over and view the other channel and the previous viewed channel will then appear in the little box. PIP position you can decide where you want the PIP box to appear. You dont want it to cover the Footie results whilst proving to your wife Eastenders has finished on the other channel! Language This allows you to set up the language the on screen menus are displayed in. Comprehende?! Auto tuning allows you to automatically search and store all available TV channels (obviously if you use an aerial you probably wont need this if you have satellite or digital viewing) Programme sorting allowing you to change the order in which the channels appear on the screen (TV broadcast). Programme labels allows you to name a channel using up to 5 characters. (Eg. BBC1). AV preset allows you to designate a name to the external equipment you have connected to the input sockets of the TV. (So when you select the DVD channel it will state DVD on screen) RGB centring When connecting an RGB source, such as PS2, you may need to adjust the horizontal position of the picture. (We didnt need to but the option is here) Teletext (Fastext) an information service transmitted by most TV stations. This operation requires the remote control you get with your TV. The page finding is fast. About 80% of the time on selecting the 3rd page number digit it goes directly there the second I press it! It's so much easier to read it on a big screen as well! NexTView this is an on screen electronic programme guide providing you with the information for different broadcasters! When looking for information you can search by theme such as Sports, News, Movies, etc. Picture freeze - This is another amazing option we discovered on the remote control. This TV can take a photo of something you are watching!! At the press of a button it divides the screen in two halves and then after a 2 second delay portrays a still of the programme you are watching on the right hand side half whilst the programme continues to play on the left half. We have yet to discover whether these stills are downloadable or not, which Im sure they are, but I will update as soon as I find out unless there is someone out there that could tell me? Sony never fails to amaze! The manual is 27 pages long. It includes helpful and easy to read troubleshooting pages and the manual accompanies a quick start guide. (Ecological paper totally chlorine free) :o) The remote control takes 2 AA sized batteries supplied. It has a quantity of buttons to control the menu and to select the options mentioned in the statistics. Buttons included are: Standard 0-9 buttons, TV on/off (standby mode), VCR/DVD on/off (For Sony players), selecting input, programme up/down, volume up/down, Teletext, 4 Fastext buttons, Media selector (You can operate main functions of your VCR/DVD), screen format change, Joystick (A cursor pad for browsing the menu with a central OK button), Display menu, nexTView, recording button (for VCR/DVD), TV mode, sound effect, on screen info, freeze picture, PictureInPicture and muting the sound. TV SUMMARY ^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^ Product reference: KP44PX2U Projection picture size: 44 (112cm) measured diagonally Dimensions (WxHxD): 1100 x 1160 x 536 mm Weight: approx. 61 Kg (The unit stands on an easy roll platform) Colour system: PAL, SECAM, NTSC 3.58, 4.43 (only video in) Channel coverage: UHF B21-B69 Sound output: 2x30W (music power) 2x15W (RMS) Power consumption: 225W Standby power: <0.7W Other features: 100Hz Digital Plus (ABAB) Teletext, Fastext, TOPtext (250 page TEXT memory) NICAM (Stereo sound) PIP High performance mirror - improved convergence and brightness Hi focus CRT Digital Quick Focus High contrast screen Anti-reflection coating Digital comb filter Virtual Dolby + BBE 3 x SCART (RGB on SCART 1 and 2) Picture freeze Smart/Zoom/4:3/Wide/14:9 modes Autoformat Auto tuning/auto start up/one button tuning Auto labelling/auto sorting ACI (Auto Channel Installation) 1 x front AV input 1 x front S video Sleep timer SmartLink The cost was inexpensive for its kind, although pricier than a standard television. We bought this TV at the price of £999 from Comet. Currently the best deal compared to other electrical appliance suppliers. It came with a 1-year manufacturers guarantee although Im sure your store will happily offer you an extended offer. This TV does have a slightly higher spec brother, the KP-44DX2, selling for around £1600. As far as we could gather, this TV was a waste of the extra £550-£600. The only benefit that the KP-44DX2 had over the KP-44PX2U was that it had a built in digital decoder and a slightly more powerful sound. The KP-44PX2U sound is plenty powerful enough. Snap up the KP-44PX2U for £999, purchase a dedicated surround amplifier and 5, 6 or 7.1 surround speakers, a decent DVD player and a Digibox and youre a winner in my eyes. The conclusion for anyone out there that loves a big screen, great and powerful movie thrills and quality digital visual displays, this is the TV for you.