26" LCD TVs: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

Video Quality

The Sony KLV-26HG2 made a fairly good impression in terms of movie quality. The black was very deep and we noticed fairly little video noise, both using cinch and S-Video connectors. The colors were warm and well balanced, but the brightness was a little weak. The viewing angles, though, were comfortable, and viewers seated off-center still see a good-quality picture.

For TV programs, Sony is a little off in the choice of its zoom factors - they don't result in proper undistorted display of 4:3 images in zoom mode. You always sacrifice a part of the picture to get a bigger image, by choosing which areas to cut off at the upper and lower parts of the screen. And that choice is what poses a problem.


Unfortunately, interpolation wasn't this TV's strong point. In 4:3 mode (that is, without zoom), images in video games weren't bad, but as soon as we zoomed in a little to get a bigger display area, the image became fuzzy. That's always the problem with interpolation: it's hard to find a compromise between an image that's too sharp and jagged, and one that's less sharp but not fuzzy. As we'll see though, very few TV sets can claim to do much better.

Sound Quality

The set put out fairly good sound. Naturally it was fine for broadcast television, but it also held its own when screening DVDs. Despite bass that was a little pale, the Sony KLV-26HG2 delivered rich, dynamic sound, without being rough.


Lacking the right connectors, we weren't able to make our usual test measurements. But since this set has undeniable qualities, we felt it would be unfair not to mention it. What conclusion can we draw on this unit? Let's say that the product is a good one, but for the asking price, there's better to be found on the market. If you're a fan of the brand and if you feel that style is what comes first, then you'll surely be drawn to the Sony KLV-26HG2's charms. But for now, I expect a little more from a TV that costs over $1,800.