Sony's pricing for CRT-based rear-projection televisions continues to be extremely competitive. The KP-51WS510, for example, doesn't cost any more than other comparably sized RPTVs, yet it delivers a better picture than nearly all of them. Like most entry-level rear projectors, the 510 isn't a great performer straight out of the box, but it looks quite good after you've set it up properly.
The 510 is very attractive by RPTV standards. Its silver finish lends it a sleek, stylish look. Designed as a floor-standing model, the 510 measures about 4.5 feet tall. Its depth, 25.63 inches, is somewhat greater than that of non-CRT sets; the 50-inch, LCD-based Sonyis about 8 inches thinner.
The universal remote was designed and laid out well, and the key function buttons are illuminated for use in the dark. The slick thumb joystick allowed us to navigate the menus and access most of the set's functions by feel. Sony hid the less-used keys--those that command other A/V components--beneath a flip-up panel. Our major complaint has to do with changing inputs: we had to keep pressing TV/Video to cycle through them all.
Despite its relatively low price, the 510 is fully loaded. It displays HDTV at 1080i resolution when connected to an external tuner. With standard programming, you get a choice of 480p or 960i.
Split-screen two-tuner PIP allows you to watch two sources or channels side by side. This convenient feature also works with HDTV. The set provides Sports, Vivid, Pro, and Movie picture presets, but the inputs can't each have their own settings for contrast, brightness, and so on. While the picture modes are adjustable, you have to manually select the appropriate mode when you switch inputs.
The 510's video processing includes 2:3 pull-down, which helps remove jagged edges and other artifacts from film-based video, such as DVD movies. Also among the picture-enhancement features are four selectable aspect ratios; three preset color temperatures; a multipoint-convergence option in the User menu; an automatic convergence circuit; and a best-of-breed 3D-YC comb filter for VHS, laserdisc, cable TV, and other composite-video sources.
For an entry-level television, the 510 has comprehensive connectivity. You get two sets of broadband component-video inputs and one DVI jack with HDCP copy protection. There are three S-Video and four composite-video ins; one of each lives on the front panel. Two hookups take in RF signals, and one set of stereo-audio outputs rounds out the suite.