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The Sony KDL-32BX300 is a cheap TV, which makes it all the more impressive that the designers managed to make this a pretty good looking TV. True, it has a thick bezel, but the TV owns it. Frequently, you'll see designs where the edges are curved or become translucent in order to hide the fat lines. Sony goes in the other direction, with bold edges and sharp, clean lines.

The front of the Sony KDL-32BX300 has a 32-inch (diagonal) screen surrounded by a thick bezel of of shiny black plastic. There are indicator lights along the bottom-left side.

Front Tour Image

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has all the ports located in the back, which is otherwise unadorned.

Back Tour Image

Sony KDL-32BX300 is not a particularly thin TV, as you can see from these pictures, but at least it's thinner than your old CRT television. The onboard controls are located on the right side; the left side is blank.

Sides Tour Image

The stand is lightweight and unassuming, nicely matching the style of the TV. Unfortunately, it does not allow the TV to swivel. You'll have to work around this by lifting the whole unit up if you need to move it around, or moving the rest of the furniture in your house to accommodate the position of the the TV.

Stand Photo

The stand doesn't swivel. Too bad.

The onboard controls are located on the right side. In a rare (and perhaps unintended) touch, the plastic on the controls is not shiny, and therefore won't pick up fingerprints very easily.

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Controls Photo

The remote control that ships with the Sony KDL-32BX300 (the RM-YD035) is a bit simpler than those that come with more expensive Sonys. The shape is the same – about 10 inches long and 2.5 inches wide – but there are fewer buttons, which should make it easier for people that hate 200-button remotes (this one only has 36 buttons).

Remote Control Photo

The remote is simple and comfortable.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 ships with the stand, a remote control, batteries, and some documentation, including the instruction manual. There are no cables or anything beyond these minimum inclusions.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 fared decently when pushed for its best black level. As you can see from the chart below, it didn't perform quite as well as the more expensive Sony KDL-32EX700 and the Samsung LN32C350. It did, however, do far better than the LG 32LH40. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 produces a good, strong white level in our peak brightness test. It performed strongly against the competition. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart

Thanks to solid black level and peak brightness performance, the contrast ratio of the Sony KDL-32BX300 was quite good, measuring 3051:1. You can see from the chart below, the other Sony and the Samsung in this comparison pool have equally good or better contrast ratios, and all outperformed the LG. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

The tunnel contrast of the Sony KDL-32BX300 shows that it can do a decent – but not a perfect – job of maintaining a steady black level, no matter how much bright white is displayed elsewhere on the screen. You'll typically see this being a problem on plasma displays, but not LCDs. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 showed exemplary performance in the white falloff test, which demonstrates a TV's ability to maintain white level when varying amounts of black are elsewhere on the screen. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has a sufficiently uniform screen, which is a welcome feature on a budget TV. When we looked at both all-black and all-white screens, as well as cable television, we saw no major problem areas. There were some minor instances of dulling in the corners when looking at an all-white screen, and some very subtle, brighter blotches on the all-black screen. More on how we test white falloff.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 showed a decent, but not perfect performance, in the greyscale gamma test. You can see in the chart below that the slope of the curve is relatively smooth. The notable exception is the lower-left corner, which represents the shadow details. In this area, the KDL-32BX300 fared quite poorly, as evidenced by the squiggliness of the line. More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 managed to maintain a consistent color temperature for most of the input range. However, as the signal got very low (or 'dark' in common parlance) the color temperature became much cooler. It's limited to such a small portion of the spectrum that you probably won't notice the issue very much. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 had to be put through more than one run of testing in order to get the best scores. On our first run, we noticed a reddish hue to the whites. It was hard to miss, even to the naked eye. When we ran color tests, we noticed the RGB curves peaked very early and the color temperature test fared poorly. Occasionally, you'll see problems like this on cheaper TVs. But you don't always have the tools in the menu to correct them. The Sony KDL-32BX300 is the rare instance wherein you have a cheap TV with a comprehensive set of controls. It's a bit unusual from our normal procedures, but we entered the 'color temperature' submenu and decreased the Red-channel gain from 0 to -30. To the eye, this was about the point where the red hue disappeared.

When we re-ran the color tests with this modified calibration, the performance was much improved. The Color Temperature test results were described in the section above. The RGB curves are shown below. As you can see, they're not perfect. Each channel peaks early, but not nearly as early as in our original tests. The green channel loses the most information in the highlights, and the blue channel loses the least.

In the lower-left hand side of the RGB curves indicate the lack of shadow detail. This is unfortunate, but it coincides with what we found in the Greyscale Gamma test. The Sony KDL-32BX300 is simply not a great V for shadow details. More on how we test RGB curves.

RGB Curves Chart

The strips below are digital recreations of the information from the chart above, along with comparisons other TVs.

Motion Smoothness (6.0)

The Sony KDL-32BX300 performed decently in our motion testing. This TV did not wow us, but it's hard to complain. Objects in motion were sufficiently smooth, but they tended to lose a noticeable amount of fine detail. On the more expensive Sony EX700 series, there was a feature called MotionFlow that made a big improvement to detail retention. The BX300 series does not benefit from the same features. There is another feature, called CineMotion, but it only affects video in a native 1080/24p format, which excludes all cable TV.

Motion Artifacting (6.5)

The Sony KDL-32BX300 showed a minor amount of motion artifacting when we looked at 1080p samples, limited to occasional strobing and some false color trails. Footage in 1080i, however, was noticeably worse. We saw the same problems, but more frequently. More on how we test motion performance.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 is capable of playing 24fps footage, but in order to get the best performance, you may want to turn on the MotionFlow setting (located in the Picture menu). Wen engaged, it significantly reduced strobing and choppiness when panning left and right. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has a native display of only 720p (1280 x 720 pixels), as opposed to the higher standard of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) on most TVs. At this point, only cheap TVs are limited to 720p. That's not to say that this is a big problem. HDTVs receive all sorts of different signals, and it's up to the TV's processor to convert those signals and either upconvert or downconvert them to fit on the screen.

Overall, the Sony KDL-32BX300 was pretty bad at resolution scaling. There was always the presence of overscan, which means a loss of information around the edge of the screen. No options on the TV's menu were able to eliminate it completely. There were other problems as well, described below. More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

When we looked at 480p footage, the Sony KDL-32BX300 showed a 3% overscan loss on all sides. However, the scaling created few other issues.

1080i

With 1080i footage, there was a 2% overscan loss on all sides. We also saw a lot of artifacts created by the scaling, like frequent Moire patterns in high frequency patterns. Fine text displayed on the screen had some legibility issues. This is unfortunate, because the bulk of HD cable television is in the 1080i format.

1080p

Footage in the 1080p format also had a 2% overscan on all sides, and the same issues described in the 1080i scaling.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has a native 720p screen, which is a lesser resolution than you see on the latest TVs. The new standard is 1080p. A 720p display is limited to cheap TVs these days. The Sony KDL-32BX300 can, of course, handle all the standard NTSC resolutions. It's up to the processor in the TV to upconvert or downconvert the video to fit the screen. Unfortunately, it performs this task poorly, which we detail in the Resolution Scaling section of the review.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 had a below average viewing angle for an LCD TV. The total viewing angle was 37 degrees (or 18 degrees from center in either direction), before losing a significant portion of its contrast ratio. By comparison, the Sony KDL-32EX700 was about 52 degrees and the Samsung LN32C350 was about 60 degrees. The LG 32LH40 came in third with 46 degrees. The Sony KDL-32BX300 came in last.

Viewing Angle Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 did not do a great job staving off reflections. It wasn't terrible, but when a light shines directly on the screen, there's a big, fat, soft glow. On higher-end TVs, you tend to see incoming light dispersed in a defined, geometric pattern. Fortunately, if a light is coming in at an angle rather than dead-on, it does not cause too much of a glow.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has a handful of special processing features. The noise reduction features don't make an enormous improvement, but it's worth experimenting with the CineMotion feature if you're watching native 1080/24p content (i.e. Blu-Ray videos).

The calibration process was a bit odd with the Sony KDL-32BX300, because there was no 'Movie' mode or 'Film' mode from which to start. These modes typically have the most faithful color modes. Use the table below if you want to match our settings. If a setting isn't listed below, we left it at its default.

The unusual change we mad to make here was a shift in the Red Gain, which is located in the Color Temperature submenu, under the Advanced Settings Submenu. As we mentioned elsewhere in the review, we noticed the TV had a predilection towards a reddish hue. We manually lowered the red gain to get the best color performance.

Any other special processing features not mentioned in the table above should be considered set in the 'off' position.

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DisplayMate_Logo.jpg

All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.

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It's a bit of a shock to see a TV that does not include a 'Movie' or 'Film' video preset, which is usually the direct entry point into the most accurate color performance. Instead, you'll have to rely on Standard mode, or follow our calibration suggestions from the table above.

The remote that ships with the Sony KDL-32BX300 (the RM-YD035, to be precise) is a scaled down version of the remote that ships with more expensive Sonys. It's the same size, but has fewer buttons, which should make it easier for those who hate big, complicated remotes.

It feels sturdy enough, and has a solid back rather than that sliding mechanism on the other Sony remotes that causes creaking.

The button layout is pretty straightforward. The playback controls for other Sony Bravia AV devices are at the top, menu controls are in the middle, numeric buttons below that, and finally volume and channel up/down are at the bottom.

The remote control can be used to control any other devices bearing the Sony Bravia Sync logo, but it's not a universal remote beyond that.

Input Ports (7.0)

All the Sony KDL-32BX300's ports are located on the back, and each is clearly labeled. The TV does not swivel on its base, making the ports a little less accessible than we'd like.

Connectivity Tour Image 1

It would be hard to call this a wealth of ports, but there's enough here to get you hooked up for a modest home entertainment system. You'll find two HDMIs and two component AVs. One of these component ports doubles as a composite AV. The Sony KDL-32BX300 lacks some of the high-techier ports like ethernet or even a USB for photos and music. You may or may not consider these important to your 32-inch TV. (Technically, there is a USB port on here, but it's a service port only).

Output Ports (2.0)

There are two output ports on the Sony KDL-32BX300, an analog audio output and a digital audio output. This is standard for most HDTVs. Occasionally, you'll get the screwballs like an RS-232C port on the LG 32LH40, which can be used for high-end calibration and other computer-to-TV connections.

Other Connections (0.0)

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has no other ports.

Media (0.0)

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has no media ports such as USB.

The Sony KDL-32BX300's ports are all located on the back, and the TV doesn't swivel on its base, making the port access less than idea. However, it's not all gloom and doom. The ports are grouped together in a corner, making them a little easier to get to. Also, the TV is so light, it's not too much trouble to just pick it up and swivel it a little.

The audio quality of the Sony KDL-32BX300 is so-so, as you might expect for a 32-inch budget TV. There are a number of settings for adjust the sound, including four presets: Dynamic, Standard, Clear Voice, and Custom. The names are apt of their characteristics. We thought Standard sounded the most authentic.

The bass response is terrible, as you might expect. You'll want this attached for a separate audio system for any performance improvements. Surprisingly, the surround sound emulation feature did not seem to do much of anything. Normally, we experience some dramatic shift in sound quality (though rarely does it actually replicate actual 'surround sound').

Overall, it's not a terrible audio performance, it's just entirely unremarkable.

The menu system does not use the XrossMediaBar menu system, which is found on many Sony devices. If anything, this is even simpler, though. The main items of the menu are grouped together along the left side. You use the d-pad on the remote.

Menu Main Photo

Main menu

There are several little submenus, but you're not likely to get lost in them. The Return button on the remote is right next to the Menu button.

Menu 2 Photo

Advanced Settings of the Picture menu

The instruction manual that ships with the Sony KDL-32BX300 is good, offering at least cursory information about every feature and element of the TV. There's a table of contents in the front and an alphabetized index in the back, which is always appreciated. You can find the Sony KDL-32BX300's manual online here.

Instruction Manual Photo

The manual is adequate for most users.

Alas, the Sony KDL-32BX300 does not have an internet connection. As such, it has no access to Sony's amazing line-up of streaming content. For full details on what you're missing, read the Multimedia section of the Sony EX700 series. Granted, it's a step-up in price to access features like these.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 has no USB port, and therefore no ability to playback photos. There's always the low-tech method of duct taping a photo album to the screen.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 cannot play back music or video clips, as there is no USB port or media card slot.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 does not support any other types of media.

The Sony KDL-32BX300, as a smaller, 32-inch LCD display, does not require an inordinate amount of power. With the backlight at its brightest, it should only cost you $19.46/year. If you set the backlight to 2, which gives you a peak white of 200 cd/m2, the cost is reduced to $12.17.

As you can see from the chart below, the only standout, power-hungry television is the LG 32LH40, well out of line with the competition.

Power Consumption Chart

The Samsung LN32C350 performed slightly better in most of the tests, except for motion performance. However, it's severely limited in its selection of ports. The Sony is limited to a 720p resolution, and the resolution scaling could have been much better. Overall, we'd probably choose the Samsung, if you can work around its limitations.

The Samsung LN32C350 produced deeper blacks than the Sony KDL-32BX300, but the whites were not quite as bright. As a result, the contrast ratio more or less the same. Both TVs did well in these tests.

Contrast Chart

The Sony KDL-32BX300 did not excel in the color tests. As you can see from the chart below, the color temperature consistency is less than ideal. The Samsung LN32C350 also performed better in the RGB color curves. The KDL-32BX300, by contrast, had color curves that lacked detail in both the shadows and the highlights.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 performed better than the Samsung LN32C350 in the motion tests, overall. We witnessed major problems with the Samsung's motion artifacts, notably the instances in which straight, vertical lines became diagonal when in motion. The Sony showed some strobing and color trailing, but nothing as bad as the Samsung.

The viewing angle on the Samsung LN32C350 is much better Sony KDL-32BX300 – 60 degrees versus 37 degrees. There's no comparison. Samsung wins.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 and the Samsung LN32C350 are both small, budget TVs, and therefore are a little light on ports. Each has just two HDMIs, but the Samsung is unusually constrained by having only share the component and composite AV connections with the same plugs. The Sony also has to share, but offers two sets of component AVs, one of which doubles as a composite AV.

The Sony KDL-32EX700 is a high-end model, while the Sony KDL-32BX300 is an entry-level model. As such, the Sony KDL-32EX700 outperforms in almost every area. It also has an ethernet connection for access to Sony's excellent array of streaming content, which is the best that any manufacturer has to offer. Of course, this comes at a premium. Are you willing to pay, or will a budget 32-inch TV suffice?

The Sony KDL-32EX700 is a better TV, there's no real doubt about that. The testing bore out as much. The black levels were deeper and the white levels were brighter. As a result, the contrast ratio is noticeably wider.

Contrast Chart

The color temperature tests results were closer than the black and white tests, but the Sony KDL-32EX700 still had an advantage. It maintained a more consistent color temperature and smoother color curves with more detail.

The Sony KDL-32EX700 outperformed the Sony KDL-32BX300 in a big way, thanks to the inclusion of a special processing feature called MotionFlow. That feature made a big improvement in retaining fine detail of objects in motion. The Sony KDL-32BX300 lacks this feature.

The Sony KDL-32EX700 also outscores the Sony KDL-32BX300 in viewing angle – 52 degrees versus 37 degrees. That's a big difference, if you're trying to service a wide room.

The Sony KDL-32EX700 had far more ports than the Sony KDL-32BX300. The chart below has all the details. Notably, you'll get two extra HDMIs and and the ethernet port for access to streaming content.

The big difference is that the Sony KDL-32EX700 has access to Sony's fantastic streaming content features. There are over 30 channels of video and audio, many of them free. The Sony KDL-32BX300 has none of this.

The LG 32LH40 was not one of the best TVs that we saw last year, but it was decent enough to warrant consideration if you can find it as a bargain. The resolution is higher than the Sony KDL-32BX300, which is limited to 720p, but the Sony manages to outperform it in most of our lab tests.

The LG was not a terribly strong performer. The black level was quite poor compared to the other TVs in this pool. The white level was decent, but not enough to salvage an overall poor score for contrast level.

Contrast Chart

The LG 32LH40 had a very hard time maintaining a consistent color temperature. As you can see from the charts below, the Sony KDL-32BX300 was not star performer itself, but the LG's errors were spread out across a much wider area. RGB color curve performance was more closely matched.

The LG 32LH40 was not a knockout performer in our motion tests, but it certainly wasn't bad. The Sony KDL-32BX300 performed similarly. Both are sufficient performers.

The LG outperformed the Sony KDL-32BX300 in at least one area: viewing angle. The LG managed a viewing angle of about 47 degrees; the Sony KDL-32BX300, only 37 degrees.

The LG 32LH40 beats the Sony KDL-32BX300 with two additional HDMIs and the odd-ball RS-232C, which most people will not have a use for.

The Sony KDL-32BX300 ($429 MSRP) performs above average for an entry-level HDTV. Sure, it's only a 720p display and the frills are few and far between, but it fared rather well in our lab test: solid black levels and a good contrast ratio.

It's far from perfect, though. The KDL-32BX300 lacks shadow details and the colors peak too early. The picture tends to be a bit noisy, and the noise reduction features do nothing to help.

Overall, the Sony KDL-32BX300 is a good budget TV. It lacks access to Sony's great streaming content features, as well as some of the more helpful processing features you find on more expensive Sonys. But it's reliable, inexpensive, and looks pretty.

There are just two models in the entry-level BX300 series, a 22-inch and a 32-inch. Both are limited to the 720p resolution, and don't feature may extras. There's a modest but functional selection of ports including two HDMIs and a few legacy connections.

Meet the tester

David Kender

David Kender

Editor in Chief

@davekender

David Kender oversees content at Reviewed as the Editor in Chief. He served as managing editor and editor in chief of Reviewed's ancestor, CamcorderInfo.com, helping to grow the company from a tiny staff to one of the most influential online review resources. In his time at Reviewed, David has helped to launch over 100 product categories and written too many articles to count.

See all of David Kender's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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