The time has come to meet with the new generation of TV’s from Sony released earlier this year. The new 2014 models come without any major changes but with a redefined design, a slightly better image quality and the most important improvement comes on the Smart TV feature.
Sony has come up with slight improvements in image quality, a full suite of Internet apps and an upgrading in the response time of the TV on start up as well as on loading the SEN platform, due to the use of separate modules for each function of the TV, seen here for the first time.
Basically a module is responsible for turning on the TV, while another runs in the background preparing to run the Smart TV platform. This reduces long waiting times at start up and on loading the menu and apps which were some of the issues that bothered us Smart TV users.
Let us now look at some strengths and weaknesses of this model. Today we will talk about the Sony KDL42W706 model, a Smart tv with a very good price-quality ratio.
The design is visually similar to the 6th and 7th series of last year. The same Sony table top stand that can turn into a wall mount and a reduced thickness of the surrounding bezel as the components were moved to the lower/bottom part of the TV brings back last year’s memories . The frame that surrounds the screen is very thin and the designers at Sony have chosen for KDL42W706 a color similar to aluminium for this led Tv .
Connections This 42 inch smart Tv comes with 4 HDMI connections, 2 USB ports (one for HDD), a jack component and scart socket.
As we can see until now all these are present in the 2013 models as well except that we now have 2 more HDMI ports for connecting your favorite gadgets and stream video content. There is no need for anything else, after all how many devices can we connect to a TV? F
or Internet we have an integrated Wi-Fi connection as well as a LAN port for those that haven’t given up their cables yet. The NFC feature is present also and has been upgraded this year, the connection being achieved more quickly with a compatible device. If we need to render content remotely from your smartphone or tablet directly on your TV screen we have Screen Mirroring available. I have also written here a tutorial about how to use this method for sharing video clips or pictures and even running games from your smartphone directly on your TV.
Picture – excellent
For image processing the Sony KDL42W706 Smart TV uses the same X-Reality PRO processor which has been extensively promoted by the manufacturers. We have tested the new 2014 model next to a last year model 42W650 (a balanced smart TV launched in 2013). We have run various video materials to see if there are noticeable differences on this year’s panel.
After some hours of viewing we noticed better contrast and more realistic colors. The black color is visibly enriched, which can be noticed on the brighter images as well as on the darker ones.
People’s faces are somewhat more natural, the skin tones are rendered in a more complex palette of shades.
We all know that most TVs have issues with faithfully rendering skin tones whether it is cable TV or a higher quality source such as a Blu-ray disc.
However, after adjusting the black and the other colors for a better contrast we have noticed that the white isn’t so great having a pinkish tint (we ran a material of a snow covered mountain, so a high level of white).
In order for the image to be more fluid and reduce the flicker we have 200 Hz image processing. You can notice an improvement on some images but there are also some amplified flaws. We need to find the right settings and this requires a little bit of studio and work in front of the TV.
As a conclusion referring the image: do not expect a revelation. If I were to estimate I could say that there has been a 20-35 % progress on the image quality of this Sony TV model of 2014.
If you want to comapre this model against its rivals , I must say that models like Samsung 40H6400 ( or even Samsung 40F7000 ) , Lg 42LB650 or Philips 42PHH4509 are no match for Sony’s image quality as we see here .
Smart TV and hundreds of apps
I can honestly say that I really like how Sony and its Smart TVs are progressing. From the moment we pressed the SEN (Sony Entertainment Network) button it took a couple of seconds until the main menu with the app platform was displayed.
On the left side of the screen we have the most used apps framed by a narrow window and on the right, occupying most of the screen we can start installing our favorite apps.
As you can see in the pictures below there are apps for everyone: online movie watching and trailer apps, brain teaser and round games directly on your Smart TV, online TV channels, magazines and many more.
The manufacturer tried to cover all tastes and not disappoint any possible user. There are apps for children, teenagers, adults and grandparents as well. The loading time has been considerably improved as well .
Of course when I ran an app for the first time we were left with a nice black screen which didn’t disappear until we reset the TV by unplugging it from the electric supply. After updating the software we didn’t have any more problems and I continued to test the apps on Sony KDL42W706 .
I am still waiting for the manufacturers to revolutionize the Smart TV (any brands not only Sony) and implement components and a software that is truly efficient and fast as we can see on even the cheapest smartphones or tablets. To be honest a cheap tablet connected to a TV will run any app a couple of times faster.Needless to say we also have Android which allows much more than the operating pseudonyms on Smart TVs. How expensive can it be to use the hardware of a tablet or a cheap phone on a Smart TV ? I am sure everyone is waiting for that.
Conclusion for this middle-class 2014 Smart Tv from Sony :
Well, enough talk about Sony KDL42W706. It didn’t blow our minds but we are not talking about a model meant for that. It is a quality Smart TV, with a decent price if we take into consideration what we get in return.
We like it because it has a much better image quality than the previous series, because of the Smart TV’s suite of apps for all tastes and the loading and running speed is fairly decent.
We don’t like it because: it hasn’t evolved enough on image quality which remains the basic function of a TV. We have yet to see the competition’s counter model (Samsung, LG and others) .