KV-36FS210

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Price Paid: $1000.00

Purchase at: Best Buy

Strengths
Great color saturation
Great contrast – nice deep blacks
Great picture stability
Great connectivity – 2 sets of component inputs
Good sound (for a TV)
Input labeling
RF in/out for use with a cable box
Ease of use – good menus

Weakness
The common “funhouse mirror” flaw
Picture just a bit soft overall
Very, very heavy set
Case resonance/vibration at higher volumes (DVD input only)

Comments/Review
I am a satisfied owner of a 1999 model Sony KV-27S42 27″; I was rather suprised that when I went out shopping for a 36″ set to replace the Sony as my main set, I found the Toshiba 36AF43 to possess a better picture, compared to the Sony KV-36FS100. At least, that’s what I thought at first.

After only a couple of hours, I noticed that the Toshiba’s picture, while sharper than the Sony’s, lacked a great color saturation. Even on the “warm” color temp setting, everything seemed a touch “blue”. In comparing the Sony 27″ with the new Toshiba, the Sony was clearly the better picture: brighter, more color-accurate, and most of all, more “contrast-y”. Additonally, the picture is much more stable than the Toshiba’s – sudden, bright images (such as strobe effect in “Alien”) do not cause the image to “bloom”, or swell suddenly, as the Toshiba’s did.

Anyway, upon my return to Best Buy, I found the KV-36FS210; it appeared to be a more sculpted version of the FS100. The FS210 possessed more inputs and PIP (which I seldom use). The attractive case was a good selling point, as well. I had read several favorable reviews, and I told the salesperson to send one out to replace the Toshiba.

I liked the picture much more than than Toshiba’s, mainly because of the improved color accuracy and the better contrast. There is an overall “softness” to the Sony’s picture; I am used to this type of picture, but I must say the Toshiba did excel in this area – it did have a very sharp, clear picture. Its colors were “washed -out” looking compared to the Sony.

Now, on to the flaw: the “funhouse effect” that so many others have written about is quite evident in this set. It appears in the same place mentioned in the other reviews: divide the screen in half vertically, then vertically divide each half into thirds. The flaw appears in the middle third of the left half of the screen. From top to bottom, the picture bulges, then goes back to normal on either side of the flawed area. It’s like a rise in the carpet sort of thing. It’s really only evident in slow side pans; the scrolling text on CNN shows the flaw somewhat, but it’s not as evident as when the image itself pans to either side. It is, as so many others have mentioned, very annoying that Sony would continue to produce these sets with flawed tubes (this set is dated September 2003, so it just rolled off the assembly line). What’s even more annoying is that they charge a thousand bucks for them!

Am I happy with the set? For the most part, yes. I’m not yet ready to move to HDTV, and I want a large set on which to watch DVD movies and commercial TV. The Sony KV-36FS210 has a big, bright, color-rich, and contrasty picture. Lots of connections and good sound make for a great package. The tube flaw is starting to bother me after two days of viewing, and I cannot, at this point, say for certain that I will keep the set.

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