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When you're a bit of a film nut and have an unhealthy DVD addiction, there is one piece of kit that is thoroughly essential to ensure your viewing pleasure. It is big, and it is clever. The magic words are: Widescreen, flatscreen. Viewing pleasure can be guaranteed for the self-confessed film nerd.
Now, this isn't the first time that I've had a hand in buying such a monster. The original was a Phillips, which currently resides with my parents. At the time it was significantly cheaper than the best of the bunch, a Sony, whose Trinitron tube gave the best picture. Triniton is still regarded as the best tube, but in three years the prices have come down significantly.
Personally, when shopping around for a television I walk straight into a John Lewis. Not only do they offer impartial advice (they are not on commission) but also an extended five year guarantee. My advice is to go in knowing roughly what you want, talk to someone and then go away and do a bit of internet research based on what you have seen. (It is also worth saying that some interference may be caused by the other televisions in store. When looking at the same model in a different John Lewis the picture quality was far inferior.) In my case it was a toss up between the Sony KV28LS36U (the 28 referring to the screen size), another Sony model and a Panasonic with digital Freeview television. In the end Digital lost out due to the inferior reviews of the Panasonic television itself and the alternative Sony's lack of "Virtual Dolby" at the same price of £499.
66cm visible FD Triniton WEGA screen (28" tube) Virtual Dolby NICAM stereo sound Auto volume adjustment Smart/Zoom/4:3/Wide/14:9 mode Auto tuning/auto start up/one button tuning Auto labelling/auto sorting SmartLink Fastext 2 x SCART 1 x front AV input 1 x front S video Auto standby On timer/sleep timer Remote commander operates DVD and VCR Cabinet supplied New silver colour
Once my TV found its way into the flat it was time to have fun with my screwdriver and put the cabinet together. I found this much easier to put together than the Phillips despite glass doors making the cabinet look more elaborate. Apart from one badly laid out picture (where they stressed you put a particular piece in the right way round - showing a picture that had the piece in the wrong way and contradicted the rest) I found the instructions easy to follow. Although I probably showed a little too much care and attention - making the cabinet take nearly two hours to complete on my own, from the moment I opened the box.
The diagram enclosed within the box shows two people manoeuvring the television into place, and this is strongly advised. I would also suggest splitting the box's sides, as I have made the mistake (with the Phillips) of trying to get a very heavy TV out of a large box with rather a lot of polystyrene getting in the way.
Once the Sony is in place, only a little time is required to admire the way the Sony KV28LS36U sits flush against the cabinet - creating the illusion that there is a lot less depth to the television than there truly is. Stylish, sleek, sexy, but above all classy is the image that springs to mind when admiring this little beauty! Setting up simply involves switching on, selecting English as the language via the remote, and allowing the set to auto-tune. This takes less than a minute, and allows you to change the order of the channels if it is incorrect.
The picture is far superior to the previous television in my flat, and compares favourably to the older Phillips model - with the Sony having a slight edge. As with any widescreen television, you do have the option to watch the television in any ratio. Although, when the TV display is set to "Auto" the television defaults to the "Smart" set-up if the signal from DVD or aerial is not in 16:9. This centres in on the picture to allow it to fill the screen and has a habit of chopping off the top of people's heads and the like. This can be altered by using a button on the remote. I tend towards the 14:9 which allows more of the picture, and places two thin black bars on either side of the screen, but will still have some purists screaming because its still not the original 4:3 - don't worry, you still do have that option though.
Where the Phillips appears to come off more favourably is with the sound options. By pressing a button with a note on it you can vary the pre-set sound options. 'Personalise', 'Live', 'Jazz' and 'Rock' being your only options on the Sony. What I miss from the Phillips is the option for 'Movie' which really enhances films broadcast on television. However, this is more than made by the way the Virtual Dolby kicks in when watching a DVD.
In a cramped flat, the music-style options are still quite useful. We frequently have taken to playing CDs through the DVD player in order to get a little bit of music into the living room - since plugging in the KV28LS36U we have noticed significantly better sound as the speakers show off a larger range of sound.
A nice touch on the remote is that you can use codes that enable you to use your television remote to use other brands of video and DVD players. Unfortunately this does tend to leave you with fairly basic functions such as stop and play, so I won't be disposing of my Toshiba remote in a hurry. It does, however, make life a little easier when the phone rings and you're searching for the DVD remote in the dark!
There really is nothing like watching a film on a flatscreen, widescreen television. It may not beat the cinematic experience, but it really does make you feel like you are coming closer. Having seen Pirates of the Caribbean on both a 4:3 and widescreen there is no competition. Better speakers bring action to life; whilst colour has a larger range and is more defined - really adding to those computer generated images that seem to acquire an added crispness from the flatscreen. Not only are action films improved but the score of more dramatic films such as American Beauty acquires more depth drawing you further into the experience; whilst here the crispness of the picture allows you to appreciate the use of light in the cinematography more fully.
After using the Sony KV28LS36U, normal TVs seem a disappointment. Although my parent's Philips cuts the mustard, my Sony is just that cut above ...need I say more?
Very useful and lead me to choose against a different TV.
carminator 02.07.2004 16:26
dadmancat 27.06.2004 22:24
All summed up pretty neatly, and very helpful i'm sure for all those people who want to follow in our film-addicted footsteps....but is now the time to top trump you with all my new dvds? or my 42" television....or my 6.1 surround sound? Mutiny on the Buses has never looked or sounded better.... :P
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