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Sony KLV-23HR2 review: Sony KLV-23HR2

The 23-inch flat-panel KLV-23HR2 has some impressive specs--the ability to display HDTV, a DVI input--but its main claim to fame is sleek styling. Hang this set on the wall or stand it on the included pedestal, and the neighbors will ooh and ahh. Sure, it's no bargain, but is any flat TV these days?

Phil Ryan

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4 min read

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.

5.2

Sony KLV-23HR2

The Good

Slick look; back panel conceals wires; decent black-level performance; DVI input; 2:3 pull-down.

The Bad

Somewhat blue color temperature; some red push; nondefeatable edge enhancement.

The Bottom Line

For noncritical viewing, this stylish Sony can do the trick, but it's not the best bargain.
Sony KLV-23HR2
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 RU-23LZ21, it's not designed to handle computer signals. It can, however, display high-def.

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).

The panel's edge enhancement could not be turned off completely, leaving faint artificial rings around objects even when the sharpness control was turned all the way down. Sony's Dynamic Picture feature only made the problem worse, so we left it off with DVD and HDTV sources.

A quick viewing of scene 53, "Crack of Doom," on the The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King DVD revealed fairly obvious red push. Frodo's face looked a blistering red on this Sony as he stands over the fires of Mount Doom; it appeared much more natural on LG's RU-23LZ21. The Sony also had orangey reds compared to the LG.

The Sony's black-level performance, though not overly impressive, isn't bad for an LCD. It is about on a par with the LG, but not as nice as that of the 30-inch Sharp LC30HV6U, which admittedly is in a different class than this 23-inch--although it doesn't cost that much more. Happily, the KLV-23HR2 did not show too much false contouring, which can be one of the biggest picture-quality drawbacks when viewing LCD TVs.

Overall, the Sony KLV-23HR2 offers smart styling and HDTV compatibility in a smaller LCD screen size and--despite its picture-quality issues--will still make a serviceable set for casual viewing. More critical watchers, or those looking for computer compatibility, should probably invest in something like the aforementioned LG or Mitsubishi's LT-2220, while those who'll be watching more standard TV, as opposed to high-def or DVD, may want to consider a similar-size 4:3 model such as Sharp's LC-20B4U-S or Sony's own KLV-21SR2.

TESTRESULTSCORE
Before color temp (30/80)8,400K/8,800KPoor
After color temp (30/80)N/A 
Before grayscale variation 20 to 100 IRE+/- 2,453KPoor
After grayscale variation 20 to 100 IREN/A 
Overscan5%Average
Color decoder error: red+ 10%Average
Color decoder error: green+10%Average
DC restorationGray pattern stableAverage
2:3 pull-down, 24fpsYGood
Defeatable edge enhancementNPoor

Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

5.2

Sony KLV-23HR2

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 4