Sony Plasma / Television Monitor Review

MODEL:SONY KZ-32TS1 Plasma TV vs. Sony PFM-32C1 Plasma Display
Description: 32" widescreen 16:9 format HDTV plasma TV/monitor
Model Introduction dates: Both February 2002
Warranty: 1 Year parts and labor on both models.
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Date: 04-07-2002

Copyright © 2002 All Rights Reserved.

Key Differences:
  • The PFM 32C1 model is a broadcast quality version of the consumer model KZ-32TS1.
  • The PFM 32C1 has superior circuitry inside though both panels use the exact same glass (and thus the same resolution), which is manufactured by Fujitsu/Hitachi.
  • Depth: PFM-32C1 is 4" in depth / KZ-32TS1 is 5" in depth
  • The KZ-32TS1 has a built in tuner and speakers, which the 32C1 do not contain.
  • The 32C1 can be used with a computer for any multimedia input. The KZ-32TS1 will not take a computer signal.
  • Color: Both come in a very light metallic silver.
  • The 32C1 does have robust built in 7w amplifiers for speakers. The KZ-32TS1 has small built in speakers for which Sony does not list the watts output. They are light.

My Take:
These two models will display the same picture performance from video sources. Please read my review of the PFM-32C1 for this information. The 32C1 has better quality TERES internal circuitry so that it can accept and scale all sorts of computer signals, and amazingly, it costs significantly less.

Why purchase the consumer model rather than the broadcast grade model you ask? Well, depending upon whether you are a consumer, or business customer, you may not be able to readily find the broadcast version, - at least not in a retail store. As well, you may be set on having everything come in one package with the tuner and speakers. This is a really nice gesture by Sony to make things so simple and easy for us ignorant consumers. Of course, the problem with this philosophy is that the speakers are terribly small on the KZ model and do not do a plasma TV justice. Sony does not list specifications on the output watts of the small built in speakers. The PFM 32C1 version has large optional side speakers and 7 watt built in amplifiers. Clearly superior. And how much is a VCR to use as a tuner? Maybe $130.00 or so? And why don't I just use my cable or satellite box to tune the signal?

The other advantages of the 32C1 are that it is slimmer at only 4" and has a flat back rear panel for a better wall mount ($199.00) fit. The KZ model is 5" in depth and has a sloping back, which is fine for the nice looking table stand that it comes with but design-wise is not a great fit for a flat wall mount ($349.00 retail).

There is only one advantage for the KZ 32TS1 model over the PFM 32C1, and that is the component Y,Pr,Pb RCA jack input selection which the 42B1U does not have. I get around this by using component Y,Pr,Pb cable to 15 pin VGA cable on the other end (input into the Plasma). Straightwire custom produces the cable as do some other cable manufacturers. Otherwise, I can buy a DVDO Iscan Pro and connect my VCR, DVD player, and satellite through it. The DVDO connects via 15pin VGA to 15pin VGA to the monitor. Another savory option is use of an HDTV converter, which I will want to be able to view those crystal clear 1080i images. Many of these units already have the 15 pin VGA to 15 pin VGA option. The RCA DTC100 is one such unit.

In addition to being able to take the 32C1 monitor to the office to do a presentation, I like to surf the web with my plasma monitor and this is impossible with the KZ-42TS1 . It does not have the internal scaling and processing necessary to handle computer input.

My preference is normally always towards the broadcast quality product because the manufacturers typically put more money and resources into them . They are particularly careful about the products that they sell to repeat customers such as the U.S. Government, U.S. Military Branches, and Fortune 500 corporations.

Of course, they want to sell the consumer also. But they seem to feel that better internal circuitry features can be sacrificed for some little speakers and a built in tuner. In my best estimation those little "extras" amount to about $300 (cost to the manufacturer) of the $6000 a retail store will charge for the KZ-32TS1. The added design costs of housing the speakers inside the unit are where they really have investment.

Both units have great looks. The KZ-32TS1 model has an extra couple of inches of bezel width on the bottom of the unit where the speakers are housed. The KZ model has controls located on the top right hand corner of the unit, which operate volume and channel +/-, as well as a control for selecting the input source. The PFM-32C1 has controls located also on the top right hand side of the unit.These control menu functions, and input selection, and volume.

In checking recent prices I have found that the KZ-32TS1 model is selling in stores at around $6000 while the PFM-32C1 model is priced at $4700 at Internet dealer sites. The wall mount options are more expensive for the KZ model as well.

PFM-32C1 93 91 91 91.5
KZ-32TS1 93 86 85 88