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REVIEW

SONY KV-G2515 £750 (Dish £70)

 

Putting a satellite receiver inside a television seems like a fairly smart move but why do so few manufacturers bother? Part of the reason is that TVs are designed for global markets and making one model, specifically for the UK, is deemed uneconomic, or at least, it used to be. Satellite TV is rapidly becoming a world-wide phenomenon and now receiver and decoder technology has begun to settle down we can expect to see quite a few more sets like the Sony KV-G2515.

 

Itís a good looking NICAM stereo TV, sporting one of Sonyís finest Super Trinitron tubes, which by any measure has one of the flattest screens and produces one of the sharpest pictures in the business. Features? Itís got the lot, including a 100-channel memory, menu-driven on-screen display, advanced fastext decoder, three SCART connectors, sleep and event timers (for STV time-shifting), widescreen display option, Astra 1D ready and Sonyís Spectrum sound system. The satellite receiver slots in seamlessly with the UHF tuner, so itís possible to channel hop between terrestrial and satellite transmissions as easily as flipping from BBC1 to C4, once youíve jiggled the cumbersome factory presets into some semblance of order. The STV receiver has a built-in Videocrypt decoder, to unscramble SKY and other encrypted channels, the smart card slips into a discreet slot behind a flip-down panel below the screen.

 

Itís VCR friendly with time-shift recordings of satellite channels possible with the TV in the standby mode; alternatively the STV receiver can be switched on using the sets event timer. The front mounted AV terminal (with S-Video input) is good news for camcorder users, and the fastext decoder is particularly impressive with a 100-page memory.

 

Picture quality from terrestrial broadcasts is excellent, satellite reception rates only as average; it appears that the receiver is not especially sensitive, compared with many stand-alone receivers. In Northerly locations this could result in a higher than normal number of picture Ďsparkliesí on casually aligned dishes, or during very heavy downpours. Nevertheless, on BBC and ITC channels colours are bright and crisp and thereís plenty of contrast with very little noise, even in heavily saturated colours. Factory alignment and picture geometry was right on the nail on our sample and there was no need to deviate from any of the pre-set picture defaults. Sound is very reasonable, given the size and positioning of the speakers, though bass is on the thin side and the stereo image rather narrow. Overall, though, a very competent design from a company who know a thing or two about top-class TVs; itís good value, on-screen performance is very respectable  and the built-in satellite receiver is very convenient if youíre trying to keep the box-count down.

 

Plus: One of Sonyís best, an excellent picture from BBC and ITV channels with a bright, crisp, picture and fair to middling stereo sound. Well thought out controls with effortless transition between satellite and terrestrial reception, as far as the user is concerned theyíve just got fifty or more channels to watch.

 

Minus: The satellite receiver could do with being a little more sensitive and the sound output lacks punch. The menu driven on-screen control can be awkward to use, and the display is on the small side, making it difficult to read. Itís a real lump, and although itís not meant to be portable, it really could do with something to get hold of when moving it around.

 

Picture quality                        ****               

Sound quality              ***

Build quality                           ****

Features                                 *****

Ease of use                             ****

Value for money                     90%

 

Features: NICAM stereo, 2 x 12 watt output, reversible remote control handset, advanced fastext decoder, 100 channel memory, menu-driven on-screen displays, S-Video inputs, front AV terminal, 16:9 display

Sockets: 3 x SCART, front AV terminal (line audio, composite video and S-Video), headphone, line audio out (phono).

Dimensions: 593 x 502 x 512mm

Weight: 34kg

 

The opposition

 

Nokia SFN 5515 £800 HE Score 85%

A very workmanlike design, and a top performer,  with NICAM, fastext, twin SCARTs, on-screen display and 2 x 10 watts audio but lacking the glitz and refinement of the Sony set

 

SONY UK LTD Sony House, South Street, Staines, Middlesex TW15 4AT. 

Telephone (0784) 467000

 

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1994 1006

 

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