While Sony popularised the LCD format with its public move from plasma in the mid-noughties, over the past few years Samsung has taken the lion's share of the attention. However, TVs such as Sony's HX800 have put the Japanese giant back in the game.
Far from the heady highs of models such as the, the EX420 is a more modest affair. It's a 32-inch television, one of a handful of Sony models that have peeked out from beneath the AU$1000 mark. As a "budget" TV, how does it compare against other televisions at the same price?
Sony appears to have stuck with what it's good at this year, as the design of the EX420 is very similar to theof 2010. It maintains the two-tone look, though it's arguably more stylish in pleasing variations on gun-metal.
The biggest change is in the often-overlooked part of any budget TV — the stand. It may be a little harder to attach than most other televisions, but the effect of the two metal poles poking out from the base is worth the effort.
The remote is similar to most that the company has put out in recent years, which is to say it's easy to access all of the relevant functions. But it is missing the (somewhat strange) back-mounted power button that the company has been so fond of recently.
While we were quite impressed with the feature set of another budget Sony TV — the— the EX420 trumps it in both ease of use and breadth.
If you've used a Sony device in the last couple of years then you'll be quite familiar with the Xross Media Bar (XMB) navigation system. With the EX420, Sony has taken this horizontally-scrolling menu and tweaked it for the better. The menu now stretches across the bottom and right-hand side of the screen, which gives ample space to display the source you're watching in a picture window.
The XMB enables you to access Bravia Internet Video content from ABC iView, SBS and Yahoo!7, in addition to other web-portals such as YouTube and Moshcam. Unfortunately, material is a little harder to find than before, as instead of cascading down from the "Video" icon, most channels are hidden within the Bravia Internet Video icon on the Video menu.
Sony shows its age, though, with the specifications; this panel is 1366 x 768 in an age when most 32-inch screens have a full-HD resolution. While the TV boasts the company's latest X-Reality picture engine, it doesn't include "true" 100Hz processing, just a feature called "Intelligent Image Enhancer". The TV does support the cinema-compatible 24p output from Blu-ray disks, though.