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Sony MFM-HT75W review: Sony MFM-HT75W


The MFM-HT75W's dimensions go beyond those of the typical wide-screen display, running 15 by 8.75 inches, with a resolution of 1,280x760 pixels; it's almost twice as long as it is tall. The wide silver-colored bezel measures 1.25 inches along the top and 1.5 inches along the sides; the 4 inches on the bottom accommodate a built-in subwoofer and speakers. The MFM-HT75W's spring-loaded, easel-style support arm gives it stability but limits its adjustability; you can't raise or lower the monitor or pivot the screen. You cannot tilt the monitor forward either, but you can tilt it as much as 20 degrees backward.

7.3

Sony MFM-HT75W

The Good

Attractive design; integrated TV tuner; integrated speakers and subwoofer; good image quality; well-designed remote control.

The Bad

Limited adjustability; can't view TV in wide screen.

The Bottom Line

The Sony MFM-HT75W is a snazzy, well-designed dual-purpose LCD that will please those who want a display that can work and play simultaneously.
Sony MFM-HT75W
It takes a while to get used to the Sony MFM-HT75W as a computer display, but its charms as a mini movie screen are evident immediately. Designed as a combination TV set and computer monitor, the 17-inch wide-screen display has a built-in TV tuner, and a clear and bright screen. The MFM-HT75W performs best as a monitor, but it also makes for a decent television. As a combination unit, it's one of the best we've seen.

The image-adjustment buttons are tucked behind the right side of the bezel, and small gray icons along the bezel indicate their functions, giving the monitor a clean, untarnished look. The eight buttons control the onscreen menu, the TV channels, the volume, the input selection, the picture-in-picture mode (PIP), and Sony's ErgoBright High, Middle, Low and Auto presets. The MFM-HT75W's controls are easy to use, but it's easier (and more fun) to use the included remote control, which mimics the functionality of the on-monitor buttons but has easy-to-read labels.

The MFM-HT75W's built-in TV tuner card sets it apart from other LCDs. However, before you watch TV on the display, you'll have to plug in the antenna cable, change the LCD to TV mode, then run Auto Program to set the channels. The TV viewing area measures 8.75 by 11.5 inches, with 1.5-inch black bars--a vertical letterbox--on the left and right sides. Watching TV in wide screen isn't an option, and we wish it were, because the black bars distract slightly from the viewing experience and take away part of the fun of having a wide-screen TV. When watching TV in PIP mode, you can choose from three viewing box sizes, the largest being 3.5 by 4.75 inches, and place the PIP window in any corner of the screen. The MFM-HT75W supports HDTV, but you'll need your own HDTV tuner.

Hidden behind a removable piece of thin plastic on the MFM-HT75W's back are an AC power port, an analog signal input, two audio input ports, a UHF/VHF antenna port, and two DVI-D ports--all standard for double-duty displays. The DVI inputs are High Definition Content Protection enabled, so you can't use the MFM-HT75W to duplicate copyright-protected materials. Other connections included on the MFM-HT75W are S-Video, right and left audio, composite, and component video ports. Sony provides a good variety of cables, including analog, digital, PC audio, and coaxial; the company also includes two AA batteries for the remote.

The MFM-HT75W has two built-in 3-watt speakers and a 5-watt subwoofer--a feature not available on other monitors we've seen. Equipped with SRS Labs' WOW Audio Effect technology, the MFM-HT75W's sound is full and rich for a built-in system.

We tested the MFM-HT75W in CNET Labs as both an LCD television and a monitor. It fared well overall but scored higher as a monitor. As a monitor, the MFM-HT75W performed well on CNET Labs' DisplayMate tests. Set at its 1,280x768 native resolution, text looked sharp and was easy to read, and the grayscale was well defined and smooth. Some unwanted colors did crop up in the grayscale, however--most notably red--which gave midtone grays a purplish tone. Overall, the MFM-HT75W's color performance was solid, with only slight compression on the ends of the color scales; colors remained true through various levels of shading.

As a TV, our biggest complaint about the MFM-HT75W's performance was its shiny antireflective screen coating; supposed to reduce glare and ambient light reflection, we found that it actually attracted glare from light sources in the room. We also noticed inconsistent grayscale rendition, tinting brighter areas of the screen blue and reducing their green levels. The MFM-HT75W's Auto Picture mode, which adjusts the display according to the room's ambient light conditions, improved the grayscale quality without significant loss of detail. In our video tests, the Sony MFM-HT75W handled HDTV well, displaying details sharply with very little noise.

The Sony MFM-HT75W comes with a standard three-year parts-and-labor warranty, and phone support is available via a toll-free number for the life of the product. The included CD-ROM has a detailed user manual with links to a searchable knowledge base and FAQs on Sony's Web site. You can also e-mail questions or chat with a Sony service representative online.

CNET Labs DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Brightness in cd/m²
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

7.3

Sony MFM-HT75W

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 7Support 6Setup 7