To say that Sony's Bravia TVs have been successful is an understatement. So, the discovery that the series is getting the upgrade treatment is a welcome one.
However, Sony is asking customers for a fairly huge £1,300 to lay their hands on the KDL-32V2500. In light of the good performances provided by much cheaper LCD TVs Sony could be asking too much.
The HD-ready KDL-32V2500 is an upgrade of Sony's popular 'V' series of LCD TVs, and fans of the Bravia's distinctive looks won't be disappointed. Dressed to kill in slinky black and silver, the KDL-32V2500 looks like a serious proposition for your living room.
The first improvement comes in the form of the new Dynamic Contrast feature, here to make adjustments to the backlight output, depending on how dark - or bright - the image actually is. Sony claims that this helps the KDL-32V2500 deliver a contrast ratio of 5,000:1.
The second improvement can be swiftly discovered by a peek at the connectivity, as you'll find a second HDMI. Stingy digital connections have been a problem we've had with previous Sony Bravia TVs, so it's nice to see that issue being properly addressed. Other connections of note include a double helping of Scarts (both RGB-enabled), component video input, and a CAM slot.
The Sony KDL-32V2500's feature count is not too dissimilar to that of its KDL-32V2000 sibling, and is impressive to boot. There's a built-in digital tuner with a seven-day electronic programme guide (EPG), black correction facilities, video noise reduction routines, WCG backlight system (for a wider colour range), SPVA technology (for a wider viewing angle), and - of course - the Sony Bravia Engine and the aforementioned Dynamic Contrast feature.
Significant elements of this impressive feature count make their presence felt when we set the KDL-32V2500 to work on our test movie of Casino Royale. Setting the Blu-ray disc spinning, we soon discover that the Dynamic Contrast system is on the ball - darker scenes, such as Bond's covert operations, are blessed with great black levels, boosted colours, great shadow detailing, and not a trace of greying over.
The KDL-32V2500 delivered as good a contrast performance as we've seen from a 32in Sony Bravia TV. Colours are arresting too, and the sharpness of the picture is superb, making for a really involving visual experience. Setting a DVD of Casino Royale in motion reveals that the KDL-32V2500 is a good performer with standard-def footage too.
Although pictures don't scale the heights of their hi-def counterparts, images are clean, sharp and convincing in the main. Faster scenes reveal some motion smearing, but the overall performance is watchable - the same goes for programming from the built-in digital tuner.
The KDL-32V2500 is a fantastic LCD TV, with sound that's also a match for its pictures. The upgrades are worth the admission fee alone, but that's where the problem lies. While the KDL-32V2500 is one of the best 32in LCD TVs out there, it's also one of the most expensive.