LCD TV prices may be falling fast, but the 32-inch and above category is still the domain of the wealthy or hardcore. In the mid-range, LCDs are much more affordable -- the perfect candidates for the bedroom. After all, space is likely to be at much more of a premium there than in the living room, and what better way to show off than hanging a TV on your bedroom wall?
Sony's LCDs have impressed us, and its Wega Engine technology has blown us away. By keeping all content in the digital domain, Wega Engine can produce pictures that are way ahead of the competition, especially from Freeview. And if you have a DVD player with component outputs, it gets even better. The KLV-26HG2 is not quite as physically impressive as the KDL-L32MRX1 but it still looks the part, with added features such as Memory Stick photo compatibility.
The KLV-26HG2 is a solid piece of Sony design. The company has been adding plenty of flourishes to its LCDs of late, but it has held back on this mid-range model. The silver body is standard issue for most TVs, but the Wega Engine badge is a nod to those in the know that you respect picture quality over fancy design.
Given the small amount of space round the back of the TV, Sony has managed to offer a decent amount of connectivity. There are even more connections on both sides of the television, some under a flip-out panel, and it has a Memory Stick slot underneath the function buttons.
You should demand at least two Scart inputs on a TV these days, because you probably have a combination of Freeview/Sky boxes and DVD players and games consoles fighting it out underneath. Sony is happy to oblige, although only one of the two inputs is RGB-enabled, which results in a much better picture quality than using regular Scart. Despite this limitation, Scart 2 can also be used as an input or output -- it might be of limited use, but you could output something to be recorded on a VCR or DVD recorder.
The big news on the TV is that it features component inputs, so if you have a relatively new DVD player, you can get a high-quality picture from the TV. It's a shame, then, that there's no PC input, because this would make it ideal for dual use in the office. This limitation also means that the TV isn't fully high-definition compatible -- but hi-def is unusual on a TV this size. All that's left on the rear is stereo audio out, in case you want to run the audio through a separate sound system.
The flip-out side panel is a clever addition, as you can hide everything out of view when you're not using it. With S-video, composite and audio inputs, you don't have to go fiddling around the back to connect a camcorder, and the sockets can be hidden out of view when not in use.
On the other side, there's a Memory Stick slot that supports Sony's portable storage format. Only the full-size variety will fit into the slot -- the smaller Duo variety requires an adaptor. Above this, there are control buttons to change channel, input and volume. They are well located and a nice shape, finishing off a nigh-on faultless design.