Nope, we still don’t fully understand Sony’s TV model numbering system. For no sooner have we got used to Sony’s 2011 model numbers ending in 3 than we’re now faced with the KDL-37EX524. Which, as you’ve hopefully noticed, ends in a ‘4’.
Our best guess is that this signifies that the 37in TV is part of a ‘mid-season refresh’, or something - a supposition which seems supported by the fact that the 37EX524 has only very recently hit UK stores.
Anyway, putting our puzzlement over the 37EX524’s name aside, it’s aesthetically in line with Sony’s other ‘non-Monolithic’ sets this year. Which means that instead of the sheer, glassy, single-layer black fascia of Sony’s opulent Monolithic designs you get a more conventional raised bezel featuring a colour combination of grey and black. This isn’t unattractive by any means - especially as the top and left/right sides of the bezel are impressively narrow - but the rather plasticky build quality lets it down a bit.
Connectivity on the 37EX524 is strong. There are four HDMIs for starters: three on the rear, and one down the side. There’s also a D-Sub PC port, a pair of USBs, an optical digital audio output, a component video input, and a LAN port.
The USBs can play a fair selection of photo, music and video file formats (excluding MKV, though), as well as being able to record to a USB HDD from the set’s built-in Freeview HD tuner. The USB can also make the TV Wi-Fi-ready via an optional dongle. This is all good stuff given the 37EX524’s approachable sub-£550 price.
Even better, though, is the functionality delivered by the LAN port. For this most certainly isn’t just there to support the Freeview HD tuner. It also enables you to connect the TV to a DLNA PC for streaming in multimedia files, and best of all it grants you access to Sony’s excellent Bravia Internet Video (BIV) online service.
This delivers video streaming services galore, including - as just the tip of the iceberg - the BBC iPlayer, the Demand 5 Channel 5 catch up service, Sony’s Qriocity movie subscription platform, LoveFilm, YouTube, Sony’s World Of Television catalogue of classic TV series, and a Sky News video bulletin ‘app’. A startling amount of the video content available on BIV is free, and by focusing so strongly on video streaming rather than much less useful (in a TV context) apps BIV remains for us currently the most attractive online TV platform.
We should add that Sony’s online features also include Facebook, Twitter, Skype (if you add an optional camera), and an open Web browser. Though the text on this browser is so small that it makes the feature all but unusable in our opinion.