Having only recently reviewed Sony’s rather excellent KDL-40EX503, you’re probably wondering why I’m looking so soon at the 37in version of the same TV.
In fact, I often get asked as a matter of course if there’s really much point reviewing different sizes of the same series of TV. After all, the thinking goes, in the vast majority of cases the features employed by different sizes of TV across a single series will be the same - including the technologies employed to deliver picture quality. So surely the differences in performance between alternate sizes in a series just can’t be enough to justify multiple reviews?
If only it were that simple. In fact from my experience, where LCD TVs are concerned, the truth is rather different. I have at times noted really quite considerable differences in the performance standards of different sizes within a single series. And actually, if you think about it, this isn’t really all that unexpected, given how many manufacturers source different sizes of screen from different places.
As a classic example of what I mean, I’ve traditionally found it difficult to get Samsung to send me any 37in LCD TVs to review, with the quietly muttered excuse appearing to be that Samsung hasn’t traditionally manufactured all of its 37in screens themselves, instead 'buying in' 37in panels from elsewhere and then working into them their own electronics.
Clearly the inference from Samsung’s reluctance for me to look at the resulting TVs suggests that the brand has concerns about potential quality issues at this particular screen size. Please note, however, that I’m not suggesting for a minute here that all 37in Samsung TVs are rubbish!
The all-important issue of price also justifies dipping into different points of the same series, as I regularly find that some sizes seem to offer notably better value than others.
At this point you’re probably wondering if a) I’m ever actually going to start writing a proper review, and b) exactly why I’m raising all this debate. As in, am I building an excuse for a review that’s ultimately going to turn out to be near-identical to that of the 40EX503, or am I merely setting the scene for a review that’s going to bear out my feeling that all sizes with a series aren’t equal?
Actually, it’s the latter. For while the 37EX503 and 40EX503 certainly aren’t chalk and cheese, there’s enough difference between them to earn one model a Recommended badge while the other goes home merely with an appreciative pat on the back.