Now here's a first a rear projection TV that actually finds favour with our viewing panel. Sony break the duck for rear projection technology, with this sizeable high resolution 55-inch screen from the ever popular Bravia range.
It features a built-in Freeview digital tuner and pretty decent picture and sound quality although the latter is off-set by a slightly irksome internal fan noise. Viewing angles are relatively poor but this set is so massive, this is unlikely to be an issue.
Our expert viewing panel remarked that this television is the best large screen rear projection TV seen to date. It has vibrant colours and doesn't suffer from normal rainbow effects or viewing angle problems, but it does suffer from unnatural grainy and gritty, texturing on screen and uneven brightness.
When viewing in Freeview mode, it is OK but has some motion blurring and noise. Via HDMI it is above average, showing the same texture as before, not much banding. The listeners commented that the fan noise on this television is and intrusive. The sound is somewhat coloured in the mid-frequency, but it has a fairly wide response and produces a big sound.
It does boast better clarity and detail than many of the televisions on test with some impressive dynamic energy. Connection-wise it's equipped with three Scart sockets (one is SmartLink enabled) and two HDMI sockets. Both socket types are located at the rear, so accessibility is not a problem. AV input sockets at the front of the set allow for convenient connection to portable devices and a headphone output jack, which can mute the TV speakers or independently adjust the headphone volume.
The TV also has a stereo audio output socket for connection to a hi-fi system, and an optical digital audio output socket for connection to a home cinema system or digital audio recorder. The digital tuner has an eight-day EPG that can display programmes in either 30 minute or two hourly sections.
The banner that is displayed when channels are changed contains only 'Now' information rather than Now and Next. It can also trigger a suitable VCR to record via a Scart link.
The remote control is wider than average, so considered large for users with small hands but is reasonably well delineated and labelled.
Pros: Massive screen, 1080p output, good picture quality for this type of technology.
Cons: Fan noise