Considering there’s a good chance that the Sony KDL-26EX553 might end up in a teenager’s bedroom, we should also add here that it carries Twitter, Facebook and Picasa social networking apps, as well as Skype - if you add an optional camera.
Also worth mentioning is the new interface Sony has developed for the SEN platform. This is a huge improvement over previous BIV menus, using lots of attractive icons and a simple but mostly effective structure. It’s perhaps a bit annoying that Sony emphasises its own Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited services by giving them their own dominant onscreen categories. But you can always move Netflix or LoveFilm out of their generic ‘Apps’ menu into an easier-to-access Favourites menu if you like.
The only annoying things about the SEN interface, really, are that the main menu is a little sluggish to load, and that it would be helpful to have a couple more app categories to make finding apps easier.
The Sony KDL-26EX553 is an LCD TV with edge LED lighting, an HD Ready 1,366 x 768 resolution, and standard 50Hz processing. We guess the last two specs may seem a little disappointing given that the 26EX553 isn’t the cheapest 26in TV in town. But the set’s multimedia talents and online services are much more important on a small-screen TV it seems to us. And anyway, the set does still get Sony’s X-Reality processing, as well as boasting a dynamic contrast ratio of more than a million to one, which leaves the quoted contrast figures of most small-screen TVs for dead.
Happily the Sony KDL-26EX553’s expansive contrast claims seem to be more than just hot air, too. It produces the deepest, richest black levels we’ve seen on a small-screen TV for a very long time, if ever. This is a seriously good start considering that we generally consider a believable black level response to be the foundation of any decent picture quality.
As well as dark pictures not suffering with nearly as much greyness over them as we usually see with small-screen TVs, it’s gratifying to see practically zero evidence of the sort of backlight inconsistencies that continue to be quite common in the edge LED world.