With more and more of us now proudly boasting flat TVs of varying degrees of enormity in our living rooms, it appears we’re now turning our attentions to secondary rooms like bedrooms, kitchens, studies and conservatories for our next bout of flat TV upgrading.
Certainly the small TV market appears to be enjoying an unprecedented amount of action from all the main TV brands, resulting in the appearance of some startlingly well-specified small models.
A classic case in point is the new Sony 22EX320. This widescreen set’s screen is only 22in across and its rear sticks out a mere 42mm, yet within its diminutive frame it carries a veritable ‘what’s what’ of useful TV tricks.
Particularly excellent is its inclusion of a built-in Wi-Fi system. Sony clearly appreciates that for many people, hardwiring a second-room TV into a network will be extremely difficult, even though day to day experience suggests that a second-room set is arguably even more likely to benefit from multimedia streaming than a main room set.
There wouldn’t be much point having this Wi-Fi connection, of course, if it didn’t provide a gateway to a decent set of features. And in the 22EX320’s case the wi-fi related features are actually much more than decent.
Particularly gratifying is the set’s support of Sony’s Bravia Internet Video (BIV) system. We’ve reported in numerous reviews of Sony 2011 TVs now how this system is for us the finest online TV service currently available, purely because it focusses so heavily on providing lots of video content.
The longer we’ve spent with ‘smart’ TVs, the more apparent it’s become to us that one good source of video streaming is worth more than a dozen of the sort of basic game or infotainment apps sported in such extreme - and often pointless - numbers by some rival online TV platforms. So it’s great to find such extensive video services on BIV as LoveFilm, the BBC iPlayer, Sky News, Daily Motion, the Demand 5 Channel Five catchup service, plus Sony’s own World of Television and Qriocity film and TV libraries. And that’s just part of the full video iceberg.
What’s more, unlike the online video services of the recently reviewed LG 50PZ950, all of the 22EX320‘s services streamed almost immaculately - and with good picture quality - during tests with our typical 6MB broadband connection.
Sony also provides Twitter and Facebook apps, and even Skype support if you take the trouble to add an optional webcam. This is all seriously cool stuff to find on such a small TV.
Another fun little online ‘trick’ is Track ID. Press the dedicated button for this feature on the remote control whenever a piece of music is playing on a programme you’re watching, and rather brilliantly - and with uncanny accuracy - the TV will identify the tune for you. Nerds that we are, we never tired of using this tool to ‘impress’ the unsurprisingly dwindling number of family and friends who still call round from time to time...