Ten... smart TVs
Net set and catch up
Sharp Aquos LC-46LE831
Sharp’s second generation Quad pixel Quattrons have plenty going for them: lush, detailed hi-def images, a sophisticated GUI and exceptionally bright Active Shutter 3D (glasses extra). But they rather under deliver when it comes to IPTV. While this 46-incher has YouTube, DailyMotion, Cinetrailers and iConcert on tap, there’s no BBC iPlayer, and for many that will be an instant deal breaker. Subscription services such as BoxOffice 365 and Hit Entertainment, and a flash-less web browser, are scant compensation.
The set redeems itself with well-heeled local media playback, courtesy of its DviX +HD licence. AVI, MKV, MOV and MP4 test files all play. But across a LAN, MKVs go AWOL. Musical support is limited to MP3s, but the set will record to an external USB drive.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Sharp
Sony Bravia KDL-32EX524
The cutest of Sony’s populist EX models, this 32incher combines excellent image quality with low running costs (it’s A-rated for energy) and solid network functionality. Party tricks include Track ID, which uses Gracenote wizardry to identify tip-of-the-tongue song snippets from TV or disc (this sometimes even works), Skype video calling and USB to external drive recording.
Using an IPTV service on a screen this small helps disguise compression artefacts, consequently the wide variety of channels on offer from Sony’s Entertainment Network (iPlayer, YouTube, Lovefilm, Daily Motion and more) look refreshingly fine on this 1080p panel. Indeed, ‘net delivered HD streams appear to rival Freeview HD channels. Unfortunately, video file playback does not cover MKVs, although AVI, AVCHD and MPEG4 are served. Audio support straddles MP3, WAV and WMA.
Reg Rating 90%
More info Sony