This being a Sony television, you get proprietary connections alongside the usual Scarts and component inputs. Here, you'll find a Memory Stick port for slotting in Sony's solid state media, to view photos, listen to music or watch short movies. It's probably a worthwhile addition if you're the sort of person who works on a Vaio laptop while listening to a Sony MD Walkman.

However, there's no PC connection, which is a shame as we're now beginning to see some Sony televisions introduced that include connections for Vaio PCs.

You'll be glad to hear, though, that the KLV-26HG2 has component inputs that will accept PAL progressive scan sources and high definition support (Sky has confirmed HD broadcasting for 2006). This sits alongside two Scarts, although sadly only one is RGB, and an S-video and composite input.

While you'll want to rig digital television into the RGB Scart, component input is where it's at as far as DVD performance goes, and it's not unfair to suggest that we were blown away by the performance of the Wega Engine. Perhaps we've been brought up on a staple of empty technological promises, but this is arguably the best LCD performance to date.

Performance

Most of all, the picture is unbelievably sharp and crisp. This set offers detail levels that are so far ahead of the competition as to make you believe you've been watching all other TV through a pair of ill-prescribed spectacles. It's that good.

Other digital enhancement systems often bring with them side effects such as dot crawl or grain. This goes for all sources as well, and while you'll never want to consider using composite input for prolonged periods of time, the result is still very flattering.

Go up to high def material and the result is even more pronounced, offering a complete lack of artefacts and the sort of colour we've only previously seen on CRT sets. In particular, skin tones looked as natural as is possible, and there was none of the green tinges commonly witnessed on previous LCD technology. Even motion effects, which often look like an uneven mess on lesser screens, were given no respite by Sony's new technology, and produced little or no blocking.

The design is elegantly understated, and would fit into any home cinema. Sony's latest IDTVs boast a beautiful glass screen capsule, which makes the display appear to be floating, something that we think it should run perhaps as limited editions of all other sets such as this one.

At only 3W, the speakers give away the 'small' nature of the set somewhat, and suffer when given a bombastic soundtrack to deal with. For everyday viewing they're more than enough to convey vocals, but pair the screen with something better and you'll be rewarded.

So, to conclude, we absolutely loved this screen to bits. Contrast levels were among the best we've seen pass through our test lab, and help to make this the best performing 26in screen in the world. The high definition compatibility in particular makes this a truly excellent investment if you are interested in quality viewing.

The only downside is that this performance comes at a price, and we soon expect to see Wega Engine screens with DVI connections. These will probably come at a premium, and if you are in the position of being able to afford the set now, we wholeheartedly recommend you make it yours.