Sony has been a household name in Kenya for the past few decades. Their colored TVs were the preserve of the rich as I was growing up and most of us had Greatwall televisions and the only colors we saw were black, white and more than 50 shades of gray. The real colors of news presenters, actors in movies and local programs, fruits, and advertised content was left to your imagination. How we survived then; only the elders can tell. Sony, back then, had a remote control, and that was something magical to us.
Such things we used to see in movies, where people changed channels without moving and even switched off their TVs using a remote and to us it was magical. Our young minds could not fathom how it was possible to change the channel without moving because ours (the Black and White type) required extreme force on the dials to change from VHF to UHF, terms which, I doubt, makes sense to the majority of the readers.
The evolution list
- Sony KV-1310
- Sony KW-32HDF9
- Sony KLV-17HR1
- Sony Qualia 005
- Sony KDL-46X1000
- Sony XEL-1
- Sony KLV-32R302B
- Sony KDL-70W850B
This is one of the smallest display screens and was going for a premium back then. It is also the first of the Trinitron color TVs from Sony. This television was among the first in Kenya to offer color to viewers who were used to various shades of gray. It was also brighter than conventional televisions at that time because they (other TVS) used standard shadow-mask tubes. This feature gave it a good rating because in brightly lit rooms, or when the curtains were drawn during the day, it was much easier to view the content on the television as compared to conventional TVs at the time. Despite the small size, this model was expensive because it was a bit better than the prevailing models back then but it still was an Analogue TV.
This Sony WEGA TV series followed incorporating an FD Trinitron tube. This ensured it produced highly advanced pictures. It was also a flat model, and this made it offer natural picture quality without distortion. The flat screen should not, in no uncertain terms, be confused with the flat-screens of today. The WEGAs flat screen was not as perfect as what we currently have. It also had NTSC video mode that allowed you to watch VCR videos in great image quality. This made the word entertainment have value because you could watch TV day and night. Were it not for the keen eye of our guardians, some of us would have spent every waking hour on the TV. These models also had amazing speakers which could be heard even by neighbors and they made for great entertainment. Wrestling was a show watched by both boys and girls and on the day it aired, children would flock to a friends’ house to catch a glimpse of the action on this TV. 32-inches, by standards employed then, was a huge screen. The biggest we had ever seen in our village.
Sony Qualia 005
This is one of the world’s first truly flat LED-backlit TV. Being completely flat, this TV received positive reviews because of its design. It featured Sony Triluminous proprietary backlight system that uses separate green, red and blue light sources to illuminate the LCD panel. This resulted in excellent color control and brilliant pictures that outdid previous backlight systems. Being a trailblazer in the LED technology, the Sony Qualia 005 became something of a legend. The pictures produced were excellent, and this coincided with the arrival of Video CD players in Kenya. Watching movies on this television became a preserve of the well to do, those who could afford a VCD player and a Qualia 005 were no ordinary folk. Flat TVs were things we imagined but had not yet seen until the arrival of this model. Those, like me then, who had TVS whose screens bulged out like the belly of a person who loves the brown bottle were content with what we had. Not because it was the best, no, but because we could not afford this model which was way superior in terms of picture quality, brightness, color control and weight. Carrying my 21-inch Sony Trinitron TV was a manly exercise, and I really wished for a light flat-screen in my home.
This was among the first models in BRAVIA new series of widescreen LCD TVs. It featured the Live Color Creation that made use of a unique backlight system generating deep colors and Full HD resolution panels for detailed images. Sony did have crisp images back then just as they now produce in their LED TVs. The price was not so outrageous, but it was a bit steep in Kenya. This does not mean that we did not review it. The only way to review this television back then was to pose as kids from the who owns Kenya background, walk into any authorized Sony dealership in Nairobi and pretend to be making a purchase on behalf of your parents. This gambit granted you free and unlimited access to the TV for a considerable amount of time, after which the dealer would come asking you to finalize the deal and you had to use your wits to get out of that spot. We deduced that it had clear pictures with high definition, the sounds were excellent for a medium sized room, and the widescreen feature made its design more appealing.
OLED is not as young as we would like to think, because Sony, back in 2007 employed this technology and came up with a ground-breaking design and amazing slimness. The TV was a beauty in design, and the contrast ratios were off the chart. It had high contrast ratios, high peak brightness, rapid response time, great color reproduction, all of which were a combination that gave unparalleled image quality. It was among the first to utilize organic light emitting diode, and the results were amazing. Whether Sony continued down this path or not is a matter of speculation that an internet search can uncover, but this model remains as one of the best OLED TVs in history.
LED technology gained fast acceptance in the TV industry as many manufacturers realized the benefits of a LED over an LCD backlight. This led to the Sony KLV-32R302B which has a LED backlight and Motion Flow feature that delivers clear images and smooth images when in motion reducing blur considerably. Problems such as the whole screen being bright where only a particular picture should be bright and the rest black were solved with LED which could light up or go off independently giving better contrast levels and detailed images. The blacks are also better in this model and among Kenya Sony TVs, this is the best. Sony TV prices vary, but the affordability of this model makes it a worthy buy. Entertainment on this television is better than conventional colored monitors. Five sound modes give you an audio that you will be proud of. When watching your music videos from your USB input, you can select the Music mode that will tune the speakers’ output and frequency to the best possible for Music and the same applies for movies. HDMI cables allow connection to gaming devices, home theaters to enrich the sound at home and computers so you can use this as a monitor.
This large Sony TV is among the best in the recent past. It has features such as the 4K display that gives you four times the resolution of Full HD pictures. This TV also has a 4K upscaler that converts regular content to near 4K making everything you watch Ultra HD. This will make Kenya digital channels fun to watch on this mammoth display. It also has a long duct speaker with the clear audio plus feature. This produces clear and powerful sounds that make watching anything on this TV worth your while. You will now enjoy your music and movies on the Sony flat screen via the USB inputs. HDMI inputs are also available. Connecting to ah home theater system, a gaming console or a computer will be relatively easy and will utilize only a single cable making the entertainment area neat. It is also a 3D TV; what could be better?
In as much as I enjoyed having a Sony WEGA Trinitron 21-inch color TV, this can not be the case now because we have better technology that has given us more superior display, great audio and more features with the new Sony 4K LED TVs. The Sony KDL-70W850B is the best among the list and also the costliest. I would recommend the Sony KLV-32R302B because it is more practical and pocket-friendly. The features are also good, and it does not disappoint when put to the test. It is also built to last.