Review date:  July 5, 2005
December 14, 2012

2004 line of Sony Projection TV Sets
The Sony 'WS655' Series of Rear Projection CRT HDTVs

Product Review

The latest 2004 line of CRT Sony Projection TV sets represent the best option in terms of picture quality and size for your dollar. They may not be as compact and lightweight as LCD or DLP rear-projection sets, yet the Sony CRT projection HDTV's are relatively inexpensive. Further more, picture quality is among the best one can find, with unbeatable black level performance no other LCD or DLP projection TV can achieve.

Mitsubishi 73-inch WD-73642 3D DLP HDTV
Mitsubishi WD-73642 3D DLP TV

This is the most affordable 3D 73-inch HDTV presently available on the market. It is true that this Mitsubishi DLP TV comes with a reduced feature set, but you get a massive 73-inch 3D TV for the price of a 50-inch LED TV.

More on 2012 Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs can be found in our rear projection TV review page here

Introducing the Sony 'WS655' Series of CRT Rear Projection HDTV Sets

The 'WS655' series is Sony's 2004 line of CRT rear projection TVs. These represent a step-up over Sony's 2003 KP-xxWS510 series.

This latest series of Sony wide screen CRT RPTVs comprise the Sony KDP-51WS655, a 51" CRT rear projection TV, and its bigger brother, the 57" Sony KDP-57WS655 HDTV.

Both sets come with identical features and specifications except for a different screen size. These Sony projection TV sets are based on the Sony HD MICROFOCUS™ CRT and Lens System with DRC® MultiFunction Technology and MID®-X Multi Image Driver Circuitry.

Main features include:

HDTV ATSC tuner for over-the-air HD reception with PIP support; CineMotion 3:2 pulldown with auto detect and reversal to display a film-frame-accurate picture with 24-fps movies; Playback Auto 16:9 Enhanced Mode; Enhanced Memory Stick® media slot to view photos onscreen and listen to MP3 audio; and CableCARD™ Slot for digital cable reception with no need for an extra set-top-box, apart from a comprehensive range of inputs and output, including an HDMI Interface.

These CRT-technology-based Sony projection TVs represent a relatively inexpensive large screen TV option for the home theater. OK,  maybe not as cheap as some other brands, but surely affordable considering the accompanying list of interesting features and technical specifications.

In fact, the smallest in this series of Sony projection TVs - the 51" KDP-51WS655 is selling online at less than $2,000, while the slightly bigger model, the 57" Sony KDP-57WS655 HD-CRT Projection TV is selling at amazon for less than $2,100 - worth considering over the smaller 51" model if you have got the necessary room space.

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The WS655 Sony Projection TV: A Detailed Technical Analysis

Sony KDP-57WS655 57-inch CRT RPTVAs indicated earlier on, both products in this series of Sony projection TV sets share the same technical specifications and features - the only difference being a different screen size. Interesting to note here that these relatively inexpensive Sony CRT rear projection models share a number of similar audio/video specs and features found on the more expensive Sony LCD projection TVs.

All sets feature a wide 16:9 aspect ratio screen and offer compatibility with standard-definition 480i, enhanced-definition 480p, and high-definition 720p and 1080i signals.

Integrated HDTV Tuner: These Sony projection TV sets come with a built-in HDTV tuner which can receive both over-the-air broadcasts as well as digital cable broadcasts (ATSC and QAM). This means that there is no need to spend a few hundred dollars in an external HDTV decoder to feed in high definition signals. The tuner supports picture-in-picture through Sony's TwinView PIP, a feature that lets you view any 2 sources simultaneously - side by side, even at different image resolutions.

Digital Reality Creation® (DRC) Multifunction: These CRT Sony rear projection TVs are also capable of making a good show out of a standard-definition video signal through Sony proprietary Digital Reality Creation MultiFunction Circuitry. Unlike conventional line doublers, the DRC Multifunction feature replaces the signal’s NTSC waveform with the HD equivalent, while doubling the number of vertical and horizontal lines. This results in four times the picture density for quality sources, such as DVD, satellite and digital camcorders.

In the process, it also increases the video signal's signal-to-noise ratio to ensure rich, natural-looking images from any source. In addition, the MID-X Multi Image Driver Circuitry scales all incoming standard and high definition signals to the configuration of the panel without degrading signal quality.

Sony CRT Light Engine: These CRT Sony projection TVs make use of quantity three High Definition MICROFOCUS™ 7-inch high brightness monochrome type picture tubes optically coupled with 3 large diameter F1.1 lenses in a horizontal in-line arrangement and using a liquid cooling system. The use of HD MICROFOCUS™ CRT ensures bright crisp clear high definition images. The convergence process uses both Sony proprietary auto Flash Focus as well as 63-point manual adjustment.

Other picture enhancement features on these Sony Projection TVs include:

Clear Edge VM™ Wideband Velocity Modulation, which improves the definition at picture edges, creating sharper images by slowing the CRT (cathode-ray tube) beam's horizontal scanning during demanding work - say, when rendering transitions from light to dark parts of an image - and speeding it up when scanning easily rendered sections, like broad dark areas.

HD Detailer™ Wide Band Video Amplifier with its high bandwidth frequency response, is capable of supporting finer picture quality, especially for HD sources.

3:2 Pulldown: Sony's CineMotion 3:2 pulldown detection and reversal is a handy feature for watching progressive-scan movie programs in their native 24-frame format. Digital video mastering introduces a common distortion when adjusting 24 frames-per-second movies to 30 fps video; 3:2 pulldown digitally corrects this distortion, removing the redundant information to display a film-frame-accurate picture.

Screen Surface: The screen makes use of a high contrast screen with an A/R (Anti-Reflective) coating to help reduce glare.

Other features include:

Built-in Memory Stick media slot  allows quick, easy viewing of digital photos (JPEG images), MPEG-1 video, as well as listening to MP3 audio.

A 3D Digital Comb Filter - this is the best type of comb filter available today since in addition to separating the Y (luminance or black and white) and C (chrominance or color) elements of a video signal, a 3D Y/C filter also performs two additional key functions - that of comparing three consecutive horizontal scan lines within a single video frame, and also of analyzing each frame in advance. In this manner, a 3D Y/C filter is able to ensure the best possible picture.

Channel Fix lets you select a specific TV channel (3, for example) for cable box reception. Then you can control a compatible cable box via the TV remote without inadvertently changing the TV from Channel 3.

A CableCARD slot gives you the option to connect to cable TV without a set-top box, giving you access to analog, digital cable, HDTV, and premium cable channels like HBO and Cinemax (if supported by your cable company).

Inputs and Outputs: These Sony projection TV sets come equipped with a full range of inputs and outputs - an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), which permits a direct digital connection with a compatible DTV set-top box, 2 component-video inputs, 4 composite-video inputs, 3 S-video inputs (with 1 each composite-/S-video on the front panel for ready connection to a camcorder or gaming console), and 2 RF coaxial inputs for hookup with an older VCR, cable box, or antenna.

HDMI is a lossless, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface to link the set with any audio/video source (such as a set-top box, DVD player, or AV receiver). HDMI supports standard-definition (SD), enhanced definition (ED), or high-definition (HD) video, plus multi-channel digital audio - all using a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports up to 8-channel digital audio, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.

Audio: These CRT Sony projection TV sets support MTS Stereo and Auto SAP, and include an onboard 2-way speaker system powered by a 20 watts per channel (x 2) amplifier. An optical digital-audio output is also included that lets you pass a Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround-sound signal to a compatible audio/video receiver or other surround processor for powerful, enveloping sound through your home theater multi-channel speaker system.

Parental Control: (V-Chip) allows parents to block unsuitable programming from younger viewers.

Product Dimensions and Weight:

The table below lists the respective product dimensions and weight for each of the Sony projection TV sets referred to in this review article:










  KDP-51WS655   51" 16:9 CRT HD RPTV 47" 50.5" 26.25" 175.5
  KDF-57WS655   57" 16:9 CRT HD RPTV 52.25" 54.25" 27.25" 203.5
What's in the Box

These CRT Sony projection TV sets come with a remote control, remote batteries, a user's manual, product registration information, and a limited manufacture's warranty.

Concluding Remarks

Pros: Considering the list of features and technical specifications, these Sony projection TV sets represent an inexpensive - presently selling at around $2000 online - HDTV big screen option for your home theater.

The use of the HD MICROFOCUS CRT and lens system renders these sets capable of delivering superb picture quality with vivid, bright detailed images - better than many other similarly priced rear projection TVs. Sound quality is very good for a TV. In addition, the built-in HDTV tuner and cable card slot represent savings of a few hundred dollars in the form of a dedicated set-top-box.

Cons: None considering the price - except that these Sony projection TVs are bulky and heavy. But this applies to all CRT type rear projection TVs.

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