Overview

By this time next year companies like Sony might not even sell TVs like the KDL-BX420 series. The CCFL (cold-cathode fluorescent) backlight that illuminates this TV's LCD panel is slowly going extinct, replaced especially in larger screen sizes by LEDs packed into razor-thin cabinets that can generate more light from less power. They can also generate higher profits. The BX420 is Sony's least-expensive 1080p TV for 2010, and it's a very good value. The picture quality isn't up to the best non-LED models we've seen, like Samsung's more expensive LND630, but we noticed no major problems and a couple of surprising strengths. We wouldn't recommend it for budget videophiles, but casual viewers who don't want to pay more for LED will find plenty to like about the Sony KDL-BX420.

Read the full review of the Sony KDL-BX420 series.

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Corner detail

Sony eschews the transparent edging, color accents, and swivel stands of Samsung and LG in favor of unadorned glossy black.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Stand view

The low-profile base doesn't allow the TV to swivel.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Side view

With its 3.75-inch depth, it's obvious the BX420 isn't an LED TV.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Inputs

Compared with the Samsung, Vizio, and LGs at its level, which offer at least three HDMI ports, the BX420's two-port offering is one of its biggest weaknesses. Two HDMI might be enough for the most basic systems, but to add something beyond a cable box and a game console--say, perhaps, a Roku or even a temporary camcorder or laptop PC connection--you'll need to get an external HDMI switch.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Remote control

The basic Sony remote is an ergonomic winner despite its petite size. A sensible number of buttons are arranged into logical areas differentiated by size, color and shape, centered on a big Home key below the cursor control.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Menu system

The menus are similarly simple and satisfying, managing to place plenty of choices onscreen without seeming overwhelming.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Options menu

A few oft-used items are accessible via the Options key.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

White balance control

A two-point white balance works well, but it's not as accurate as LG's 10-point system on the competing LK450 series.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Scene select

In addition to the three adjustable picture modes available under the General setting, there are (confusingly) six more under Scene. A seventh, called Auto, can't be adjusted. That's plenty of presets but only Custom and Standard allows access to advanced settings like detailed color temperature controls and gamma.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Picture quality

While the Sony BX420 doesn't do anything particularly well from a picture quality standpoint, it also, surprisingly for an entry-level LCD, doesn't do much badly. Its worst offense is color inaccuracy in dark areas and imperfect screen uniformity, but its black levels were decent and it actually handled 1080p/24 cadence--something we didn't expect from a 60Hz TV. Overall its picture deserves the same score of 6 we gave to Sony's EX720 LED-based model, which costs hundreds more. We'd give the BX420, with its more accurate color and better processing, a slight edge over the Samsung LND550 with its better black levels and uniformity, but the two are neck-and-neck overall.

Read the full review of the Sony KDL-BX420 series.

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season for a gadget upgrade

Check out these 8 tablets you'll want to bring home for the holidays.

Hot Products