Available for around £1,500, this is one of the cheapest 'full HD' televisions on the market -- meaning it has a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and can display the best quality 1080p high-definition video. Not only that, its screen measures up at a whopping 55 inches, boasts one of the highest contrast ratios around and, well, it's made by Sony, not some no-name Chinese brand.
All in all, this TV offers fantastic value for money. It performs brilliantly with both HD and standard-definition material, has plenty of connections for hooking up your gear and yet costs less than half of what you'd expect to pay for a similar-sized plasma or LCD TV. The only real downside is its larger case.
Being a rear-projection television, the KDS-55A2000 is bigger and bulkier than LCD and plasma screens. It isn't heavy like traditional CRT TVs, as there's no weighty glass tube inside, but the set does extend nearly half a metre behind the screen. Obviously, there's no way you can mount this on your wall. A specially designed floor stand is available as an option, but it's not necessary -- you can place the screen on top of any TV bench or low table.
Nevertheless, it's a reasonably good-looking TV from the front, with styling that matches Sony's other Bravia models and speakers located under the screen rather than on either side. The screen itself has a matte, non-reflective finish, which means you can view it in a well-lit room without having to worry about reflections hampering your enjoyment.
A wide range of connections is supplied, including two HDMIs and two component video inputs for high-definition sources and three RGB-capable Scarts for hooking up older kit. Also worth noting is a VGA input for PC users, as well as an optical audio output allowing you to connect the TV directly up to an AV receiver and separate speakers.
This is among the first displays to use Sony's SXRD technology, which is the Japanese company's own spin on the LCoS projection method that has been in use for a few years. LCoS works in a similar way to DLP, except that it reflects light off three LCD panels rather than three DMD mirror panels.
Sony claims its chips are smaller and thinner than its rivals', that the spaces between pixels are narrower, the response times quicker and the contrast levels higher. What this essentially means is that you get excellent picture quality at a price lower than LCD and plasma.
1080p compatibility might not sound like a big deal, but with HD DVD and Blu-ray on the rise, not to mention the arrival of the PlayStation 3, it's an invaluable feature. It's worth noting that the TV only supports 1080p via HDMI, though -- the component video inputs support a maximum resolution of 1080i , so Xbox 360 users are stuck with that.