Updated: November 16, 2012
Trinitron WEGA Sony CRT TV Series
Reviewing Sony's latest line of FD Trinitron WEGA CRT TVs
The FD Trinitron WEGA line of Sony CRT televisions has always been associated with solid performers - delivering CRT TVs that are capable of superior sound and picture quality. Are the latest additions to the Sony family poised to carry on in that tradition? More in this CRT TV review article.
Check for Sony CRT TVs at amazon
At a time when a number of tube manufacturers are simply pulling off the CRT market, due to a change in consumer preferences in favor to LCDs and plasma TVs, Sony is one of the few major display manufactures that is still delivering a full line of standard and high definition CRT TV sets.
True that the latest new low prices on plasmas and LCD TV sets mean that these emerging new flat panel display technologies are turning out to be more of an attractive direct-view solution than the bulkier CRT TV sets. Just consider the Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42" Plasma HDTV (reviewed here); this very good performer is presently selling for around $1,600. In comparison, the Sony WEGA KD-34XBR970 34" FD Trinitron Digital HDTV is selling online at circa $1,100.
This means that for an additional $500, you can get hold of a top performer plasma TV that is significantly larger, lighter, and much slimmer than its CRT TV counterpart. OK, you may always opt for a standard definition CRT TV such as the Sony KD36FS170 36" FD Trinitron WEGA Hi-Scan Digital Television - which at $750, represent a much cheaper direct view TV option, but then you would not get that 'wow' factor associated with high definition TV.
But why should you invest in a heavy and bulky CRT TV?
As already expressed elsewhere on our site, CRT TVs offer some significant advantages over other direct-view display technologies. Tube televisions still have one of the best pictures you can ever get from a TV, especially when it comes to accurate color and deep black levels. In this respect, tube TVs are even better than the best plasmas. True that tube TVs are extremely heavy and bulky, and limited in sizes up to 36", but if you are after performance, CRT TVs still perform better.
If you want the very best in tube television, the FD Trinitron WEGA line of Sony CRT TV sets is a sure way to go, yet...
Many argue that Sony CRT TV sets are somewhat more expensive than the competition. Keep in mind that the Sony FD Trinitron WEGA line offers a complete range of both standard and HDTV CRTs that are capable of exceptional picture quality and very good sound.
Their superior performance is more than enough to justify the extra expense. The Sony WEGA line is also one of the very few that still includes models in the 34-inch and 36-inch screen category. In particular, if what you are after is a large 36-inch CRT TV, Sony is probably, the only tube manufacturer that is still delivering CRT TVs within the screen size.
Article continues after this advertisement.
Standard Definition Sets: The latest Sony Additions
Standard definition television lacks the picture detail of HDTV sets, but if price is a major issue, then standard definition CRTs offer you the cheapest solution, with a variety of inexpensive - yet good performing - options available from most major manufacturers.
However, as already expressed earlier on in our introduction, if you want the very best, even in standard definition television, the FD Trinitron WEGA line of Sony CRT TVs offers one of the best pictures and TV sound. The latest additions in standard definition to this line of Sony CRT TV products include the 27-inch Sony KD-27FS170 FD Trinitron WEGA Digital TV, presently selling online at around $360, the 32-inch Sony KD32FS170 Trinitron WEGA Hi-Scan Digital Television - selling for approximately $550, and the largest tube TV presently available, the 36-inch Sony KD36FS170 FD Trinitron WEGA Digital Television, available online at around $750.
All three models basically enjoy the same feature set with the except that the 27-inch Sony CRT TV model do not include the Clear Edge Velocity Modulation (VM) feature found on the other two models, designed to sharpen picture definition for a crisp clear edge presentation.
Though these sets come with a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screen, yet they boast a true flat-screen display tube to cut down on glare, enhance contrast performance, and render an image that is free of geometric distortions. Picture performance, is as we have all come to expect from the Trinitron WEGA line of Sony CRT TV sets - to say the least, exceptional - capable of delivering outstanding image detail despite being standard definition sets.
The analog and digital receivers built-in tuners allow you to receive both analog (NTSC) and digital programming. This means that you will be able to receive 'free' over-the-air HDTV broadcasts using an antenna - however, HDTV content will be re-scaled to display at the lower 480i standard definition, which is the native display resolution for these Sony CRT TV sets.
To get the most out of the Trinitron WEGA picture tube and enjoy the best picture possible from compatible cable/satellite set-top boxes and DVD players, you can make use of the three-jack component video (Y/Pb/Pr) inputs, which provides separate connections for luminance (Y), blue color difference (PB) and red color difference (PR). This results in increased bandwidth for color information, resulting in a more accurate picture with clearer color reproduction and less bleeding than you would get with S-Video or composite (RCA yellow video plug) connections.
A 3-D digital comb filtering is included on all models for improved picture quality. A digital 3-line comb filter compares each horizontal scanning line with the lines above and below, separating black-and-white detail from color information to virtually eliminate edge crawls and rainbow effects while enhancing horizontal resolution and minimizing video noise.
These Sony CRT TVs also incorporates the following convenience features:
- Wide Screen Mode to watch digital 16:9 (widescreen) broadcasts in their original widescreen format, or zoom to fill the 4:3 aspect ratio screen.
- Parental Control (V-Chip) to monitor/control what children watch on TV by establishing rating limits.
- Favorite Channel function enables you to set up and select from up to five of your favorite channels.
- Program Palette presets offer combinations of picture settings engineered to make the most of specific content types, with setting for Vivid, Standard, Movie and Sports.
- Front panel controls allows access to the on-screen menus without the use of a remote control.
- Front composite A/V inputs let you quickly connect video games, camcorders, and stereo/mono equipment.
- Meets Energy Star guidelines for energy efficiency.
Sony CRT TVs come with built-in stereo speakers that produce 5 watts of power per channel (for 10 watts of total power) as well as Dolby Digital for 5.1-channel surround sound.
Connectivity options include:
- Composite (RCA audio/video): 2 inputs (1 front)
- S-Video: 1 input (audio connection uses composite left/right audio jacks)
- Component (Y/Pb/Pr): 1 input (with left/right audio jacks)
- RF: 1 analog VHF/UHF and 1 digital ATSC
The Sony CRT TV High Definition Option
High definition TV looks terrific when compared to standard analog or digital television. The greater number of horizontal lines - in the case of a CRT TV - provide an image that looks far sharper with more detail. It is therefore no surprise that with the availability of more high definition content and the latest new low prices on HDTVs, many are now turning for a high definition TV solution for their home entertainment center.
The latest addition in this respect to the Sony WEGA line is the widescreen KD-34XBR970 34" FD Trinitron HD Sony CRT TV, which follows on the footsteps of the previous model, the Sony KD-34XBR960, but with a few significant differences.
First of all, this new Sony CRT TV comes substantially cheaper; in fact, this high definition TV is presently selling at amazon at around $1,000. Unfortunately, this cheaper price comes at the expense that a number of desirably features - including the super fine pitch CRT readily available on previous high definition models - had been dropped.
OK, the new model uses the well established FD Trinitron WEGA flat-screen tube, which thanks to its 1080i display resolution, is capable of delivering exceptional image accuracy that is above competition, but it is still not exactly on par with the super fine pitch CRT in terms of image quality. This change may be disappointing to some, but then keep in mind that the difference in image quality would be only noticeable if your viewing distance is too close to the screen.
There are a number of other features that had been dropped, including the CableCard, picture-in-picture, and the memory-stick viewer. However, this new HD Sony CRT TV is still packed with a long list of useful features. Among these, you will find:
Built-in NTSC and ATSC tuners to receive both analog and digital over-the-air programming - including free HDTV content.
CineMotion® Inverse 3:2 Pulldown technology, that provides smoother picture movement when playing back movies or other video sources on film. This feature automatically detects and compensates for the difference in picture frames when 24-frames per second movies are transferred onto 30-frames per second video. The 3:2 pulldown compensates for the inherent flaws in film to video frame rate transfers, thus rendering for a smoother playback with less motion distortion.
DRC-MF® (Digital Reality Creation Multi Function Circuitry) replaces an analog signal's NTSC waveform with the near-HD equivalent. The result is an image with improved picture density.
HDMI (High Definition Multifunction Interface) provides an uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface between the TV and any HDMI-equipped audio/video component, such as a set-top box, DVD player, and A/V receiver. More information on HDMI is available at our HDMI Guide.
3-D Digital Comb Filter separates luminance from chrominance in composite video signals using digital memory to improve the image, while reducing edge artifacts and improving image transition detail.
As with the standard definition Sony CRT TV sets, this high definition model also incorporates a similar convenience feature set.
The audio part consists of built-in stereo speakers that produce 10 watts of power per channel (for 20 watts of total power) as well as Dolby Digital for 5.1-channel surround sound.
Connectivity options include:
- Analog Audio Inputs: 3 (1 Front/2 Rear)
- Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr ) Inputs: 2 (Rear) 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
- Composite Video Inputs: 3 (1 Front/2 Rear)
- RF Connection Input: 1 Rear
- S-Video Inputs:3 (1 Front/2 Rear) with Detection on rear connection
- Audio Out (Variable/Fixed): Yes
- Digital Audio Output: 1 (Coaxial)
HDMI™ 1 Connection: 1 Rear
Sony CRT TV Comparative List
|Sony CRT TV Model||
(W x H x D)