Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sony KDL-32S3000 Review

32in LCD
Excellent budget buy from from Sony.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Rating: 89%

Reviewed: 24 December 2007


Finished largely in matte black, the KDL-32S300 doesn't quite have the impact of some of the higher end Bravia models, but nevertheless maintains Sony's tradition for producing quietly classy, supremely well built flat panel LCD TV's.

The looks may be too conservative for some, but Sony have yet to produce an LCD TV that doesn't add a discreet touch of style to your living room.


As an entry level offering from Sony, the KDL-32S3000 loses the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080), 100Hz processing, or the ability to accept a 1080p input of higher end panels, but it does retain the impressive Sony Bravia picture processing engine of the 'V' and 'W' series.

Screen: 32in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 1600:1 (8,000 dynamic)
Brightness: 450cd/m2
Other Features: BRAVIA Image Processing Engine, Live Colour Creation, BRAVIA Theatre Sync.
Sockets: 3 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input.

What's more, connectivity is impressive with 3 HDMI inputs, 2 Scarts and the usual composite, component and s-video inputs.

There is no 'x.v.Colour' on the KDL-32S3000 (x.v.Colour is based on xvYCC, a new international standard for video signals that defines a colour space nearly two times wider than the existing sRGB standard) but it does come equipped with LIVE COLOUR CREATION which is Sony's integrated solution for wider colour reproduction.

WCG-CCFL (backlight) technology allows the KDL-32S3000 to achieve approximately 95% of the NTSC (National Television System Committee) video signal colour gamut – representing a 140% improvement on LCD TVs that feature traditional fluorescent backlights. WCG-CCFL incorporates a different type of luminescent material to produce more accurate and deeper reds and greens

By combining the BRAVIA ENGINE and WCG-CCFL backlight technology, Sony claim to provide far truer and more accurate colour tones for enhanced picture depth and clarity.

Theatre Sync, which is Sony's name for CEC (Consumer Electronic Control), is a control standard that functions over HDMI 1.3. The technology facilitates one-touch control over compatible devices and in practice means that if you fire up your compatible DVD player, the all connected devices such as your LCD TV will also spring into life.


Like its bigger brother the 40S3000, the most impressive aspect of the KDL-32S3000 is its black level performance. The abilities of the KDL-32S3000 are not going to trouble the best Plasma's or even LCD's in this respect, but what this screen achieves is a black level which belies its status as an entry level LCD TV. Crucially, there are no obvious signs of greyness across darker scenes.

The KDL-32S3000 proved to be a more than competent performer when handling Standard Definition (SD) sources. Simply as a result of more pixels being squeezed into a smaller area, the 32S3000's picture is perceived as a little sharper and more detailed than the 40S3000. This screen actually tells us a lot more about the features it does not posses, namely 100Hz processing and Full HD resolution. The higher end features certainly work, but we were impressed with how little impact there absence had on the 32S3000.

Unfortunately, the colour reproducing abilities of the 32S3000 cannot live up to and take full advantage of the excellent black levels. The WCG-CCFL backlight is partly to blame with a slight lack of uniformity across the whole of the screen producing less than wholly consistent colours. This is certainly a minor flaw of the KDL-32S3000, but colours nevertheless maintain a vibrancy that few other LCD's can match.

As we expected, the KDL-32S3000 achieves an excellent level of detail and sharpness with High Definition (HD) material. Colours are absolutely stunning, with a vibrancy and sharpness that we have come to expect.

Although fast action material is prone to a little blurring, on the whole the SD performance of the KDL-32S3000 was excellent. Inevitably, poorer quality Freeview sources show some signs of degradation, but on the whole, this screen will satisfy all but the most demanding of consumers for SD performance. SD performance is not quite there yet when compared to your CRT, but the gap is narrowing.


Apart from a few minor flaws, the KDL-32S3000 is a very competent all round performer. It makes you think twice about how much benefit is derived from high end features such as Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and 100Hz picture processing. The 32S3000 cannot match the cheapest budget offerings on price, but its worth a little extra.


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