Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 LCD TV

This cheap Sony TV has a swathe of Internet video features but picture quality could be better

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Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420
  • Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420
  • Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420
  • Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Internet TV and BRAVIA Internet Video at a low price
  • Good image quality for a 720p panel

Cons

  • You can get a 1080p panel for around the same price
  • No Wi-Fi for easy Internet access - why?

Bottom Line

Sony's BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 LED-backlit LCD TV is an entry-level model, but it still has access to Sony's linear Internet TV channels, of which there are at least two dozen, and the full BRAVIA Internet Video on-demand suite. We think this inclusion in a basic model should be applauded, but the addition of Wi-Fi would have been a master stroke. Picture quality is good for a 720p LCD panel, but you can buy more competent 1080p screens for around the same price.

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The Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 is one of Sony's cheaper LED TVs, but it still has a comprehensive suite of Internet video features. If you don't want to spend all your money on a massive TV but still want a few nifty extra Internet features to pass the time, give the BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 a little thought.

Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 LED TV: Design and connectivity

The Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 has a two-tone design — the screen's upper bezel is finished in dark grey, while the thicker lower bezel is capped with dark brushed aluminium. A thin swivelling stand connects to a slim glass base. It's quite an attractive product and the stand's slight tilt makes it look fashionable.

Heading around to the TV's rear, you'll find four HDMI ports arranged across the back and side panels. There are also two USB ports — for connecting Sony's Skype camera, Wi-Fi adapter or a flash drive for playing downloaded videos, photos or music — and various analog connectors. You'll have to use the Ethernet port to hook the BRAVIA EX420 up to the Internet, because annoyingly there's no Wi-Fi built in. You can purchase a USB Wi-Fi adapter but this drives the price of the TV up.

The range of Internet services offered by the BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 is extensive. There's the Sony Internet TV suite, which includes 24 linear streaming Internet TV channels — very similar to digital TV, except delivered through your Internet connection. As long as you have fast enough Internet (read: broadband ADSL or cable) and a large enough download limit, Sony Internet TV more than doubles the amount of always-running TV on offer to viewers.

Just like last year, Sony's TVs for 2011 include BRAVIA Internet Video — a variety of on-demand video services, our favourite of which is the ever-reliable ABC iView. To see these features in such a cheap TV is excellent, and we wholeheartedly applaud Sony. Hopefully next year they'll be on every model in Sony's line-up.

Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 LED TV: Picture quality and Internet features

The Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420's 32in LED-backlit LCD panel is a 1366x768pixel unit — a slight resolution hike over the 720p some digital TV stations are broadcast in, but a far cry from the 1080p quality of a Blu-ray disc. The screen is perfectly acceptable for watching movies, TV and Internet video content — it does a better job than an average 1080p panel from a couple of years ago — but you can get a superior television (one of last year's 50in Samsung Series 6 plasmas, for example) for under $1000, which is barely more than $100 more.

The BRAVIA EX420's LED edge-lighting is superior to a traditional CCFL backlight — it's more efficient with its power consumption, and the screen's contrast is a little better than the Panasonic TH-L32S25A. We ran through The Dark Knight and Terminator: Salvation, through a Pioneer BDP-430 Blu-ray player and a Macbook Pro connected via HDMI. The main issue with the Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 is its down-scaling of 1080p content — a little bit of detail is lost in the process, and fine elements — like the pores in Christian Bale's face, to use a not-so-enticing example — aren't as easily visible as on a 1080p screen. Contrast is OK but unsurprisingly there's a bit of detail lost in the dark and bright areas of the screen. This issue is most visible when you're watching movie credits rolling, or pin-pricks of white light on a black background like in the opening sequence of The Dark Knight.

Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 LED TV: Conclusion

The Sony BRAVIA KDL-32EX420 makes some solid steps in some areas and concedes others. We really like that you can get a brand new TV for under $1000 — from Sony, of all brands — with Internet video on demand built in. The addition of Wi-Fi at this price would have been an extra boon — we can only surmise it has been left out to preserve the feature-sets of more expensive models.

Picture quality is acceptable but you can buy a far more competent 1080p LCD or plasma TV for a few hundred dollars more, and likely in a larger screen size as well. The real draw-card for the Sony EX420 is its Internet access at an affordable price.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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