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Sony KDL-37P3020 Review
Reviewed: 21 February 2008
 

37in LCD
Picture
Sound
Features
Usability
Value
Excellent budget performer from Sony.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Rating: 89%
      

Design

Looking like any other conservatively styled Sony from a distance, the KDL-37P3020 disappoints when viewed close up. The 37P3020's budget price is most definitely reflected in the quality of materials used in its manufacture.

Features

With 2 HDMI inputs (one less than the next tier of budget LCD from Sony the S3000 series) connectivity on the 37P3020 is adequate rather than impressive. Also present are 2 Scarts and the usual composite, component and s-video inputs.

Screen: 37in 16:9
Tuner:Digital
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Contrast Ratio: 1500:1
Brightness: 500cd/m2
Other Features: BRAVIA Image Processing Engine, BRAVIA Theatre Sync.
Sockets: 2 HDMI, 2 SCART, Component Video, Composite Video, PC input.
      

 

If you are looking for a sub 40in screen then the absence of Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution will probably not concern you. As one of Sony's entry level series of LCD TV's, the 37P3020 also loses other high end features such as 100Hz processing

As an entry level LCD TV, the 37P3020 comes equipped with Sony's standard Bravia image processing engine. The standard Bravia engine it must be remembered however, has an established reputation as a wholly competent and accomplished picture enhancing technology.

WCG-CCFL (backlight) technology allows the KDL-37P3020 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.

Performance

The overall picture performance of the KDL-37P3020 is excellent, and the quality of Standard Definition (SD) came as a pleasant surprise. 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 37P3020. There is very little video noise even with the poorer quality Freeview as a source, and the benchmark quality of facial tones was particularly impressive.

As we expected, the KDL-37P3020 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. The 37in screen is just large enough to produce a very decent home cinema experience for a knock down price.

Although there is no 'Live Colour Creation on the P3020, its colour handling abilities are similar to the S3000, though not quite up to the standard of higher spec Sony's. 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-37P3020, but colours nevertheless maintain a vibrancy that few other LCD's can match.

Although fast action material is prone to a little blurring, on the whole this screen will satisfy all but the most demanding of consumers looking for a good SD performance. Its not quite there yet when compared to your CRT, but the gap is narrowing.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the KDL-37P3020 is its black level performance. Its abilites in this respect are not going to trouble the best Plasma's or even LCD's , but what this screen achieves is a black level which belies its status as an entry level LCD TV. Crucially, there are few signs of greyness across darker scenes.

Conclusion

Don't be put off by the KDL-37P3020's budget looks as it is actually an excellent budget performer, and the only real advantage the step up 32S3000 has is the extra HDMI input. The absence of 'Live Colour Creation' has little impact with the 37P3020 showing itself to be more than competent in all areas.