The 32in Bravia KDL-32NX503 is the smallest model to be found under the ‘Network’ category of Sony’s rather tortuous TV sub-divisions, making it a potentially interesting and unusually affordable multimedia-savvy option for second rooms as well as small main living rooms.
Before we find out if it fulfils that potential, though, there is one more immediate bit of good news to report. For the 32NX503 is the proud owner of Sony’s new Monolithic design, whereby a black bezel, specially blackened LCD panel, sheer one-layer fascia and the facility to tilt the screen slightly back all combine to create a TV that really could be a smaller brother of the mysterious knowledge-imparting black edifice at the heart of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
As with the 40HX703 we looked at recently, it’s a pity the impact of the black, minimalist design is rather spoiled by the TV’s startlingly deep rear end. But it still looks a cut above your average 32in TV, at least from the front.
The set’s connections are prodigious by 32in standards, and inevitably provide some serious clues as to the sort of multimedia talents the set’s Network categorisation would lead us to expect.
There’s an Ethernet port, for starters. And this has not one, not two, but three uses. First, it’s there to provide obligatory support for the set’s built-in Freeview HD tuner – presumably to cater for future interactive features like the BBC iPlayer.
Second, you can use it to jack into a DLNA-enabled PC and stream over a wide variety of file types. Last but by no means least, you can use the Ethernet to access Sony’s Bravia Internet Video service.
Regular readers will already know how impressed we are by this new service, which replaces the frighteningly limited features of Sony’s previous AppliCast online efforts with a veritable smorgasbord of high quality, often HD video streaming content, including the inevitable YouTube; Channel 5’s Demand Five iPlayeralike; various golf tip services; lots of general ‘advice’ sites; and even LoveFilm, complete with the facility to synch the TV to your account for full movie streaming.
Sony has even gone to the trouble of building in a small data buffer, to help its video streaming achieve impressive stability versus one or two rival online platforms we’ve seen. Even via our relatively snail-like broadband service.