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Although it's Sony's new high-end models that are grabbing all the headlines these days, thanks to their skinniness, 200Hz processing or, in the X4500 range's case, stunning picture quality, we suspect that it will actually be Sony's basic but highly affordable V4000 range that most people will be thinking of bagging for themselves in these credit crunched times.
A couple of weeks ago we saw the 37in 37V4000 and found it considerably better than we'd frankly expected it to be. So now let's turn our attentions to the smaller, ‘second-room' 26in version, the 26V4000. It's by no means uncommon for smaller screens in an LCD range to be actually considerably less well specified than the bigger models, so let's hope this is not the case here.
Aesthetically the 26V4000 has no nasty surprises up its sleeve. For while its piano black bezel and grey speaker section are certainly nothing particularly special to look at, the build quality is definitely a cut above the budget norm.
Connectivity is perfectly respectable, too. There are three HDMIs, for instance, as well as a D-Sub PC port, and all the usual standard definition TV stalwarts. Some form of multimedia connectivity, such as a USB input, would have been the icing on the cake, but we won't get too hung up on this given the 26V4000's price.
The 26V4000's feature count is very limited by Sony's usual standards - though not excessively so considering the TV's affordable price. The only notables, really, are the set's carriage of Sony's respectable Bravia Engine video processing, an optional dynamic contrast system delivering a high claimed contrast ratio of 30,000:1, and backlight adjustment.
The screen, as we would have expected, is an HD Ready affair, with a 1,366 x 768 resolution. But it's not quite as au fait with HD as we might ideally have liked, since it can't handle the 1080p/24fps feed we prefer our Blu-ray players to output. Instead you have to set your Blu-ray decks to output something like 1080i/60Hz.