Pros Surprisingly strong black levels for LCD; plenty of input options; solid performance & color straight out of box; excellent matte finish screen for strongly lit rooms; remote not overly complicated; sufficient picture adjustments
Cons Speakers are weak in both volume and quality; bezel too reflective on sides & top, while bottom bezel is distracting;
Summary We haven't had this television very long (a few weeks actually), but thus far it has been more impressive than I had anticipated of a mid-level LCD television. While I was sold upon plasma (Panasonic to be specific), I recognized that our rather brightly lit television room presented serious challenges to a wide-screen television with reflective glass. Even screens treated with anti-reflective coatings were clearly reflective in the showroom. This particular Sony LCD comes with a matte-finish screen and it makes a monumental difference.
While not LED back- or edge-lit, I found very little difference in apparent picture quality when compared to it's LED backlit brother, which I was able to compare almost side by side. The additional $300+ in pricing for LED seemed both unreasonable and unnecessary.
While I might prefer a few additional setting options in regards to picture, I haven't yet found any real need for them. Colour, brightness, etc. all seem "correct" right out of the box. We have made use of the custom setting function, but found the standard Normal mode to be very satisfactory under most circumstances. Besides, I sometimes think too much is made of the myriad possible adjustments some televisions come with. Some folks appear to spend more time adjusting than watching their sets. Colours appear nicely saturated and natural with our custom adjustments, but our adjustments were very close to the Normal setting anyway.
Using the opening credits to the Blu-Ray disc of "A Clockwork Orange" I found the uniformity of the backlighting to be very, very good. Even and completely filling the screen it is better than our 32-inch Sony LCD television purchased a few months back for another room. Zero complaints here.
Two reasons I was originally sold on plasma were the unlimited viewing angle and superior black level. Being major fans of sci-fi black levels are obviously an important issue. I was aware that both issues have been addressed over the past few years in regards to LCD televisions, but I was surprised at how much better they had become. In our television room none of the seating is greatly off the central axis of the television so there was less reason to be concerned, but we have not discerned any loss or washing out of colour based upon our particular seating arrangement. In addition, I'm very, very pleasantly surprised with black level performance on this television. I realize a plasma may still be better, but I have yet to find myself experiencing any complaints regarding the black level performance. I'm surprised, but incredibly relieved at the same time.
So, what do I not like? First and foremost the speakers are not the best. Sure.... most television speakers aren't great (or even good), but these are fairly disappointing. They disappoint in both volume and audio quality. I find myself turning up the set's volume more than its 32-inch Sony brethren, and find the overall quality to be lacking. For the first time ever, with any television, I find myself turning on the A/V receiver just to watch cable. I will concede that the downward firing design may have some major impact upon both the volume and quality (all our previous television have had forward firing speakers). Regardless, I consider such to be a design flaw and would like to see the speakers facing forward in hopes it would help. While this may not make for as handsome a unit, it would hopefully solve the speaker volume/quality issue.
Second, while the overall look of the television is simple and clean (and I like it better than some of Sony's previous models), I find the bezel to be distracting. The top and sides are glossy, black plastic, which is highly reflective. This seems odd considering the well matted screen. In addition, as the bezels are fairly wide they sometimes become a bit distracting while watching the television, especially with material that is darker. The bottom bezel is a different style in that it has a matte finish (yea!), but is of another colour. The colour is still dark (medium grey maybe), but also becomes a bit distracting while watching the television, perhaps because it is the only visible design element that isn't black. I understand the desire and/or need of television designers to try and differentiate their wares from those of their competitors, but I don't think this particular style works well when it comes to television viewing even though the overall look is pleasant.
If, for any reason, I find any of this initial opinions changing (for the better or worse) I will return with a follow-up review.
"Very Pleased!"on by johnmc01
Pros East to set up. Easy to learn. Easy to use. Crystal clear images. Beautiful blacks. That's all I want from the TV!
Cons The ONLY thing I wish were different is the bevel around the edge. It is way too reflective! WHY?? It lost half a star for that otherwise it would be a five for me.
Summary After returning an awful Sam-sung Plasma TV (Burn in after three minutes, ghosting, unfocused, fuzzy pixelating and unimpressive blacks) I am glad we bought this Sony LCD which was an easy set-up and stunned us out of the box with beautiful clear deep blacks. What I really liked is that it is NOT overloaded with useless features that just make the TV more difficult to use.( I must admit, I'm a bit of a techno-phobe) I was using the remote within a minute adjusting my color preferences and saving favorites. Compare that to the Sam sung experience where it took ten minutes for my wife and I to figure out how to turn it on! The picture is crystal and I didn't know that images from my Roku box was supposed to be that sharp.
What a pleasure!
"Fantastic TV"on by Weebs86
Pros Jaw-Dropping Picture, Good Price, Lots of HDMI Inputs
Cons Not 3D? But I don't care!
Summary This really is a great set. I bought this set online without seeing it first, which is taking a huge risk, but I am absolutely satisfied with it. Crystal Clear picture and smooth motion. My wife was a little annoyed at me for buying a new set (despite the fact that she said I could), but once I set it up she was immediately won over by the picture. DVDs look great, Blu-Rays look Incredible, and Satellite TV looks great, too. I'm not entirely sure exactly how this whole Motionflow thing is supposed to work but even with it off the picture is incredible. I can't really speak for the long-term reliability since I only just got it today but the initial impressions are definitely good.
Pros Nice picture at a good price.
Cons After 7 months I noticed dead pixels showing up. The 2 year contract I got from PC Richards did not cover dead pixels unless it was greater that a 25cent coin or something. Luckily Sony stepped up and replaced the whole screen.
Summary I'm very disappointed that dead pixels showed up on my TV in less than a year of light use.
Pros Great picture quality (Standard & Hi-Def), sound is better than I expected from a flat panel, excellent value, works great with XBOX 360 & Netflix, no problems to date
Cons No problems
Summary I decided to review this TV while searching for the latest and greatest TVs to help my mom replace her TV that broke down today. The bottom line for me is that there is no "perfect" tv out there. I'll explain later if your interested. However, we're very happy with our Sony EX500 series TV after 6 months and would buy the same TV if we had to do it again. In fact, I plan on getting one for my mom today.
I replaced a beastly Sony 34" CRT HDTV with this TV. While we miss the built in subwoofer, I'm much happier with the EX500. The standard and HD viewing experience is much better, and you don't need a pully to change connections or move the TV. (Anyone who's had to move around the 270 lb CRT understands this one.)
Sound: one thing we noticed is that we didn't have to have the volume up so high to understand conversations on the TV. Compared to my sister's Panasonic plasma and the old CRT, this is quite an improvement. Also, the sound remained even and undistorted as we turned it up for movies with special effects. We use ours as a family room TV.
Picture: Excellent HDTV picture with BluRay, Comcast and U-Verse. Also, great for gaming with the X-Box 360. Better than my mom's Samsung which kicked the bucket today after just 2.5 years. (Samsung side note, the reviews on Samsung seem pretty positive overall, but my mom's seems to have a problem with the power source. After Googling Samsung TV clicking, I found others who had the same problem.) Back to the Sony EX500 picture quality: the only knock I have regarding the picture is the same thing I noticed on pretty much all LCDs that I've seen; jutter during fast motion scenes on cable programming. I don't notice it much with the BluRay.
Summary of current HDTVs: When I go to the stores, I'm impressed by the vivid colors on the LED-TVs. However, I'm the type that would be annoyed by the blooming that accompanies the LED TVs. I'm not overly enamored with the 3D TVs. Maybe later on as the technology is more polished and available programming is more widespread, it would be a consideration for me. The plasmas are interesting, but my sister's Panasonic gets hot in a hurry, and the picture quality doesn't seem to be as good as my Sony EX500.
In summary, if you're looking for a great TV experience overall that's a bargain relative to the current offerings on the market, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this TV. However, if money is no object and possible replacement cost is not an issue, I might lean towards the latest plasmas for the best picture without the jutter of LCDs or blooming of LEDs. The reason I mention the replacement issue is that my sister's Panasonic plasma is consistent with the reviews I've read regarding picture degradation over time.