720p or 1080p on 32" TV?


31 May 2006
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United Kingdom
I realsise that this might have been gone over before....

After 12 years with a Sony Bravia KDL-20S2000 20" 720p HD ready TV, it's time for my tired eyes to move up a size or two. (Our viewing distance is about 6 feet, the room does not lend itself to huge TV screens, and nor do we). The 20S2000 is excellent with a superb picture on both SD and HD (yes, we can tell the difference). Brand loyalty being what it is I have in mind the Sony KDL-32WE613. I am surprised that after all these years it's still 'HD ready' with the same resolution as the 20" set. My dilemma is that will I get this set and sit there thinking that the old set was a better picture? (Sound is not a problem, it plays through the hifi.) Does the s/w drive the picture quality and not necessarily the pixel count, or do I really need full 1080p?

I remember the old 20S2020 cost over £500 in 2007, I think Sony threw everything at it. Oh yes, we watch HD through a Humax PVR, the new TV will have a HD Freeview tuner onboard (no HD tuner on the 20S2000). We also have a 1080p Samsung 24" in the Kitchen and the picture is rubbish.
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Viewing tv's in store is as good a way as any to make judgements and comparisons as any.

The modern Samsungs are good IMO, current technology will determine the best picture.

It appears that Sony only offer two 32" TVs now, the WE613 and the RE403, both from 2017. I don't think that the RE has wifi, so that's out. The 1080p 2016 models are still available, but I'm beginning to wonder whether they are worth it.
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It's not a straightforward question to answer.

An old basic 32" Sharp I had was HD Ready (1366x768 pixels). Aside from lacking a bit of brightness and not quite having the colour saturation compared to Sony/Panasonic/Samsung/LG it looked pretty natural once tweaked up. The set was made by UMC, I think. They're an Eastern European budget TV maker who had/have the rights to use the Sharp name.

We have another UMC TV in the house. This time it's a Blaupunkt 24" TV/DVD combi. My lad uses it for XBox gaming. No matter what I do with that set the picture is always disappointing. IMO, the Sharp was aimed to compete against lower-end branded TVs whereas the Blaupunkt was just a cheap small bedroom set.

My lounge TV is a 50" 4K Panasonic GX800. I had the same concerns about stepping-up in size. The standard response is that as screen size gets bigger, then SD and eventually HD, look poor compared to a source at the native resolution of the TV. However, my Sharp and Blaupunkt experience tells me there's more to it than that. The smaller Blaupunkt should have looked better, but it didn't. I think the Sharp had better picture processing.

In my job I see a lot of TVs in peoples homes. A staggering amount are set up really poorly. The picture is generally over-contrasty, overly-blue and then too saturated try to compensate, and the sharpness is often too high. This makes me question whether the end-user reviews I read have any credibility: Are the owners just looking for a TV that's even more garish and cartoony; is that what qualifies as 'good'?

I have set up my Panasonic so that HD looks great and SD from ripped DVDs and those TV channels without a free HD alternative still look decent. No one in the house has complained at the SD quality.

As you've found out, Sony's product offering in 32" is limited. It's the same story with most of the manufacturers. 32" is now considered a bedroom TV size, so there's a lower price expectation or an unwillingness in the market to pay for premium performance. Good enough is good enough so long as the price is right. That means there's little incentive to produce premium quality 32" TVs. There's very little money in TV manufacture, and even less in 32".

If I was buying another 32" TV for lounge or another main viewing area then I'd be tempted to look at Samsung first, then Sony.
Our Samsung 37" LED is probably 10 years old or more now.

Definitely looks better displaying 1080p content although the kids Xbox One seems to push even higher resolution through it.

4 HDMI ports as well which is a godsend.

Keep mulling over a 4K but I have no 4k media to play through one.
Most TV's are supplied in "Shop Display Mode", I found Movie mode the best starting point with a few tweaks (for each input).

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