Second, with the 37EX524's backlight set to ‘five’ on Sony’s scale and contrast set to around 80 per cent, our review sample didn’t display any of the backlight consistency/clouding issues that plague so many edge-lit LED TVs.
Even the extreme corners of the screen looked as black as the rest during dark scenes - so long as you’re sat reasonably perpendicular to the screen, at any rate. Sit more than 35 degrees or so off to the side, and the screen’s brightness levels do start to show inconsistency, and colours and general contrast levels drop off too. But this is, of course, typical of 95 per cent of other LCD TVs too.
Another strength of the 37EX524’s pictures is their colour response, which makes up for the lack of dynamism noted earlier with impressively natural toning (despite the lack of a full colour management system) along with plenty of blend subtlety for a TV with such an aggressive price tag.
There’s an unusually rich, stable look to HD images too (particularly if you deactivate the active contrast system) which makes watching films on the 37EX524 quite a treat by 37in standards - provided, at least, that you can dim the lighting in your room as much as possible to counteract the picture’s lack of brightness.
Turning next to the 37EX524’s standard definition performance, it’s pretty decent. We’ve certainly seen sharper standard def images, but colours hold up well and noise is kept comfortably under control.
As a gaming monitor, the 37EX524 is efficient rather than spectacular. Its input lag measured 33ms on average, which is a perfectly respectable result and shouldn’t impede your reflexes to any great extent. Its rich black levels help the look of dark games no end, too. The only niggle is resolution loss when panning around your environment, but this isn’t a game-breaker. Pun intended.
Turning finally to the 37EX524’s audio, it’s surprisingly solid. There’s a bit more basic volume and mid-range openness than we generally get with such a slender TV, and trebles manage to add detail to a soundstage without sounding excessively harsh. Bass is boxy and fairly shallow, though, and if you crank the volume any higher than around 45% of its supposed maximum level, voices start to distort, and the cabinet sometimes rattles alarmingly.
If you can accommodate the 37EX524 in a reasonably dark room, or an environment where you can at least reduce light levels heavily when watching anything ‘serious’, then it’s capable of producing some impressively cinematic, contrast-rich images free of edge LED’s usual backlight clouding pain. We’re also big fans of Sony’s Bravia Internet Video online service, and its price seems fair for what’s on offer.
Just bear in mind that its slight lack of dynamism versus many LED models could make it feel rather muted for a bright living room, and that the lack of any serious motion processing can leave pictures looking rather soft, even when watching HD.