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Sony KDL-20B4050 review

Sony proves that great things really do come in small packages

Sony KDL-20B4050
The KDL-20B4050's speakers produce the best small TV sound this side of a mini B&O set

Our Verdict

Design might not be to everyone's taste, but HD pictures and audio are very good


  • Design
  • Nice price
  • Great sound
  • HD picture performance


  • Some motion blur
  • Rather drab onscreen menus

The KDL-20B4050 is Sony's latest Bravia screen and looks very classy with its subdued 'mocha' colour frame, rounded speaker design and neat grip handle.

The HD Ready resolution is supported by a single HDMI output and a set of component video connections both able to carry 1080i HD signals, which is more than enough at this size.

Menu navigation

The only disappointment is the KDL-20B4050's old-style operating system with its functional onscreen menus. It's easy to use, but not a patch on the XcrossMediaBar found on current Bravia bigscreens. The set does have some trouble ordering the stations correctly when tuning in to Freeview and analogue channels, but that's easily remedied and a further one-touch favourites list can be generated in seconds.

More significant is the fact that the KDL-20B4050 features Sony's own Bravia Engine picture processing suite. The set also has Theatre Sync mode, which enables simple device-to-device control of other kit connected via HDMI, such as a Blu-ray player.

The good news is that it can play, pause and skip through chapters on Blu-ray players from a number of different brands.

Happily, Virtual Dolby Surround and BBE ViVa audio signal processing have been included.

Impeccable hi-def pictures

Pictures from the Freeview tuner lack clarity, even with the noise reduction circuitry working flat out, but the overall experience is enjoyable nevertheless. Some video nasties do creep in, but overall viewing is enjoyable.

Hook-up a Blu-ray player and the performance improves vastly, with Beowulf's highly detailed images picked out impeccably. Movement causes a little motion blur and some judder, but the small screen size stops these issues from dominating.

Contrast is reasonably good, with plenty of detail on show in gloomier scenes of Beowulf, while colour is another of its strong points.

Powerful audio

Audio is equally impressive. The Virtual Dolby Surround option that widens the soundstage and pushes background effects to the side is effective, while standard settings produce the best small TV sound this side of a mini B&O set.

Excellent HD picture quality, combined with powerful speakers, make this Bravia a special set where space is of a premium.