At 23 inches, Sony's KLV-23HR2 is too small for home theater but could make a nice television for a secondary viewing room, such as a kitchen or a bedroom. Its high-tech yet understated design belies its relatively utilitarian nature; unlike some models, such as LG's , it's not designed to handle computer signals. It can, however, display high-def.
Like most LCD panels, the 5.6-inch-deep KLV-23HR2 is light (about 24 pounds) and easily wall-mounted with an optional bracket (Sony's SU-W210, which lists for $350). The removable back panel hides all the connections and holds the wires together in one tight bunch--although it will be foiled by thicker, Monster-style cables. This unit's bottom-mounted speakers make it a good fit for a wall unit that once housed a larger, squarer CRT.
The included universal remote can be programmed to control your VCR or DVD player as well as your satellite or cable box. It is comfortable to hold, and the buttons are well laid out, but it's not backlit, so you'll have to keep a mini Mag Lite handy if you want to use it in the dark.
As we expected on a 23-inch LCD, this unit is not overflowing with features. Its wide-screen 1,280x768 resolution will display every pixel of 720p HDTV, and it'll also handle 1080i and standard television resolutions. There is no built-in HD tuner, so you'll need an HD satellite/cable box or other external HD tuner to watch HDTV.
The set does include 2:3 pull-down--Sony calls it CineMotion--so film-based sources appear smoother, with fewer jaggies and moving lines. Unlike some LCDs we've seen, the KLV-23HR2 doesn't include global RGB controls; you'll have to rely on standard picture controls for any adjustments.
Connectivity isn't extensive, even though Sony does include a DVI input with HDCP copy protection. However, with only one component input, you'll want to make sure your HD tuner has a DVI output so that you can save that component jack for a DVD player. Two composite-video inputs are also on hand, along with an RF coaxial video input, four stereo RCA audio inputs, and one stereo RCA audio output.
Out of the box, the KLV-23HR2 was set to the Vivid picture mode and appeared way too bright. The grayscale leaned significantly toward the blue end of the spectrum. By switching it to the Pro picture mode and choosing the Warm preset, we were able to bring the color temperature down a little but still couldn't get it anywhere near the standard 6,500K (see the geek box).