capsule review

Sony LCD WEGA KLV-21SG2

At a Glance
  • Sony WEGA KLV-21SG2 21'' LCD TV

Sony LCD WEGA KLV-21SG2
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The Sony KLV-21SG2 LCD TV is the easiest to set up of the five models we reviewed--mainly because of its sensible default settings. Colors were a bit oversaturated--this was especially visible in the slightly-too-rosy glow of people's faces--but simply turning the color saturation down a few notches produced an optimal image for the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD and a sampling of IMAX movies recorded in the Windows Media High-Definition Video format. Other settings, such as brightness and contrast, were acceptable at their default levels. Most other TVs needed some serious tweaking to produce optimal images.

You can customize screen and sound settings for each input source. When we switched to a standard NTSC TV signal, we lowered the color level a bit more and pushed the hue a few notches into the green range for better accuracy in skin tones.

With a native 4:3 aspect ratio, the Sony is particularly good at displaying standard television, as it doesn't produce the distortion inherent in stretching a 4:3 image to fill a 16:9 wide screen. The flip side, of course, is that you get a "letterbox" effect (black bars above and below the image) when you view the 16:9 format of HDTV, and you loose a bit more screen with the still-wider format of some DVD movies. In addition, the 21SG2 "down-converts" HD content from its native 720 or 1080 lines to 480 progressive-scanned lines, but we nevertheless preferred the look of this enhanced-definition screen to the image quality on some of the native HDTVs we reviewed.

The one true blemish on image quality was a defective pixel above and to the left of the screen center. Permanently stuck in an improbably deep shade of blue, it stood out painfully in scenes depicting the sky. When we asked Sony if this defect would qualify for replacement, the company answered simply, "Any issues with LCD TVs are replaced within 2 business days with a refurbished model if a problem is detected by our customer service personnel."

To complement the fine image quality, the 21SG2 provides rich, full sound from the twin 4-watt speakers mounted on each side of the display. Switching on the SRS WOW enhancement really opens up the audio for music and action scenes.

The set's slim, silver remote (which will be familiar to anyone who has used a WEGA TV) sends a strong signal that often reaches the TV even when you don't aim directly at it. But finding the correct buttons on the remote can be a bit tricky. With minimal color-coding, they present a monotonous array of white and gray circles, distinguished only by tiny icons or text labels. In contrast, once you find and press the Menu button, the 21SG2 presents a large, bright, and well-organized on-screen menu that makes it easy to tweak key picture and sound settings.

The 21SG2 has a respectable assortment of input and output options, including one set of component inputs (which we used for our DVD and HD testing) and pairs of S-Video and composite inputs. It also has left and right audio outputs should you want to plug in a beefier stereo sound system. Unlike many other LCD TVs, however, the 21SG2 makes no nod to the computer world--it provides neither a DVI nor an analog monitor port for attaching a PC or Mac.

Uniquely, it does provide a memory card slot for viewing JPEG photos or MPEG1 movies directly on the TV (without the need of a computer). Unfortunately, the slot is for Sony's Memory Stick card only--making this otherwise handy feature useless for the owners of most digital cameras, which use other card formats, such as CompactFlash or SD (Secure Digital).

The 21SG2 is one of the best midsize LCD TVs we have seen. It's 4:3 aspect ratio makes it an especially good choice for people who intend to watch a lot of regular TV, but those focused on high-definition TV should consider a true HD model.

Sean Captain

This story, "Sony LCD WEGA KLV-21SG2" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Sony WEGA KLV-21SG2 21'' LCD TV

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