If you've watched a soccer match at any sports pub recently, you've probably seen the large screen television on the wall, with its amazingly sharp and fluid picture, and gone through a bit of envy. These gigantic displays have come down in price by nearly forty percent since the start of 2006, and there are several competing manufacturers and models to choose from.
First, slightly over half of the broadcasters in the UK broadcast digital high definition signals, and the number is expected to grow. HDTV signals are broadcast in a standard called 1080i or 1080p. 1080 is the number of scan lines the broadcast supports, and i and p at the end mean interlaced (less expensive, and slightly more screen flicker) or progressive scan (higher end). By comparison, the PAL resolution of 352 by 288 is roughly one 12th the screen resolution.
Digital TV displays are typically in a 16:9 aspect ratio, similar to whatís used in cinema. This allows a more immersive display. However, not all HDTV displays are made equal; some economize and run at 1366 x 768 resolution, rather than the full 1920 by 1080 standard. Typically, those that do are less expensive, or last yearís models.
Where the models from Sony differ from other companies is in the electronics behind the display. Sony TVs use a patented display colour matching system called BRAVIA which uses real time computational matching to bring added warmth to the otherwise cooler digital colour palette. Other places where Sony stands to shine is in its backlighting system, which is very robust. Overall, Sonyís TV quality is excellent, though at upwards of 50 kilos for the largest models, youíll want to dispense with the floor stand and have it professionally mounted on your living room wall.
Specific model recommendations are the KDL-52X2000, which is a monster 52 (132 cm) display. It consumes nearly 300 watts in operation, which is amazingly low given its size. With a depth of 13 cm, it's thick enough to hang on a wall, though youíll want to make sure that itís got adequate ventilation. We found this online store that sold Wall brackets suitable for the Sony TVs, http://www.tv-wall-brackets.co.uk. It comes equipped with Dolby-surround capable speakers included, at 22 total Watts (11 watts per channel), giving excellent sound quality.
For those on a slightly more limited budget (the KDL-52X2000 costs almost five thousand pounds), there are a range of options. The KDL-46X2000 has nearly identical features, but sacrifices 6 inches (13 cm) of diagonal display area, but costs 2,000 pounds less. The next size smaller has nearly the same feature set (losing a bit of programmability), but is a mere 2,000 pounds retail. Going below that model, we get into HD Ready TVs that support the lower resolution mentioned above ñ they can be had for bargain prices as many local vendors are trying to unload them quickly. Models to look for are the nearly the same ñ replace the X in the product codes above with a V.