Pros If you can get this TV for less than $1,400 (like I did thru Amazon, including a sound bar with subwoofer and a Blue Ray player) you will be thrilled with this TV! If you base your buying decisions on "expert reviews", get ready to spend like crazy!
Cons Con number one, this "black level issue" is overrated...tell me something, will you stop watching a movie just because a certain scene is not displaying a "true black" level? And con two, you went all out to buy this TV, the sound should come from??
Summary Bottom-line, if you want "true blacks" from a movie, go watch the movie at the theater, no TV can match that...none! If you're looking for those same "blacks" in a "live" program, buy the tickets to be there live. Otherwise, this TV will give you "the next best thing" to being there. If you're looking for a bargain, you really need to be patient and look at online deals practically every day. That's how I found the deal I got thru Amazon. I am not fanatical about any brand, but I did my leg work...I went to "brick and mortar" stores and did side-by-side comparisons of different models, brands and sizes of HDTV. I really liked the natural colors that the Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and Pioneer TV's reproduced, but, holy moly, the price on models that I really liked were, let me be honest, as if someone cussed at me, I'm talking about fighting words. BUT, I wanted to stick to my plan - be patient, pick one or two TV models I would be really happy to own and wait...wait for the right (crazy right!) prize. And the day came (and went...really fast!) I saw this TV on sale and without hesitation whipped out the plastic and got it. I am extremely happy with this TV. But don't listen to me, I am not an expert, just an average user who got the best price on a high end TV. Do more research, read more expert advise, but in the end it's you (and your family) who are going to watch the movies and shows on this TV. The black levels are not perfect, the sound is not perfect. But like I mentioned earlier, for true blacks, go to the source (or a better reference you can afford to buy, like going to the movies.) And for the best sound? Do I need to repeat myself? Okay, no offense, but for everyday TV viewing, the sound on this TV (like any TV at any price range) is acceptable. But for watching a Blue Ray movie? Please! Let me say this, if you are going to complain that the sound on this TV is "bad" while you're watching a Blue Ray DVD and you consider yourself an expert in this field...get off the crack! For the best picture this TV can offer, get the best sound system you can afford...and (surprise!) the sound from the speakers on this TV are not the answer! This TV has other features that many people will enjoy...movie rentals thru Amazon, streaming music, syncing with other components like the surround sound and Blue Ray player...blah, blah, blah...this TV is awesome, shop wisely!
Pros I like this tv, picture quality, easy to navigate menu, lots of custom settings. I will tell you up front that, "Yes I am a Sony fan." Does that mean I instantly love anything Sony comes out with.........no.
Cons there's nothing wrong with this tv and now that it's been out for awhile you can find some great deals on a new one
Summary I don't know if I qualify as a videophile but I'm the one friends and family call to help install or research a product. As stated I am a Sony fan not just because they consistantly but out a product they stand behind (even when they shouldn't, ever heard of the xbr10?) they've always had excellent customer service and well it always is ascetically pleasing. Is this the best hdtv ever? No. I'm not going to pay an excessive amount of money to try to beat this picture quality or "reproduce real to life black levels", I don't know what that means. Look I don't think you can beat this picture, the colors are spot on everything is sharp, no blur, no jutter, and the black levels are black. When you can see the seperation of the different shades of black in say Pixar's " The Incredibles" you're not going to get much better. I replaced a Sony kdl-46xbr5 with the 46 xbr9. I did like the appearance of the xbr5 better (floating glass and all that) but I got over that quickly once I had the xbr9 up and running. Even my wife (who's not into electronics) stopped to say "Wow" at the picture. I have an entire 7.1 surround sound that I love to use whether watching a movie or just surfing channels, but once the kids are in bed the stero goes off and the xbr9's speakers come on. They work great, crisp sound to hear conversations and can handle action just fine, and you don't have to crank up the volume. All of the streaming works fine easy to setup, little slow even with fast connection speeds, but that's all they are for me is extras, we do use the yahoo weather widget alot. Look this isn't a new release tv you can find some really great deals online. Oh and as far as Sony customer support the xbr5 I replaced was having some problems I live in an area that Sony couldn't get a service person to come to so they sent me the new model as a replacement I paid the shipping. That's par for the experiences I've had with Sony regarding customer service.
Pros Looks good in store.
Cons We bought our KDL46V41OO in June 2008; by Sept. 2009, it needs a panel! 3 months out of warranty, and Sony offers 3 replacement sets, calling it a discount, but no more than sale price from Costco. POOR CUSTOMER RELATIONS! Cluster of bad panels!
Summary Bottom-line is that Sony will not admit to a cluster of poorly-constructed panels. Until Sony is willing to fix the problem, they are unreliable. Perhaps the layoffs and resignation of CEO this year has caused this?
Sony's "international customer relations" are cold to customer's complaints and unwilling to help!
Buyer beware, Stay away!
Pros Not much given the prduct only function for 10-15 minutes
Cons Sony has a history of defective LCD panels and electronic modules
Summary We bought a KCL 52XBR LCD TV in Feb 2008. As previously reported by others, in Aug 2009 we experienced lines progressing to a black screen. At that time we were told by a tech that it was a due to a bad LCD panel. Worse, when our installer contacted Sony he was told there was only a 12 month warranty (when Sony had extended to 18 months). Recall that Sony has you register your purchase so that you could be notified of issues like a warranty extension, but of course this is only likely a ploy to sell your name. Since the cost of repairs approached that of a replacement we passed on the repair. In researching a new TV, we learned of the special extended warranty on the 46 in models and of numerous reports of similar problems in the 52 inch products. Breaking through customer support, we got to consumer affairs. They insisted on a report from a Sony approved repair shop and proof of purchase. 110.00 dollars later once again we we informed that the problem was a defective panel. Two levels of customer affairs later Sony's response was "we'll assist you with covering 25% of the parts". Sony will not even refund the wasted $ 110.00 on the service call they insisted on. The Sony approved repair tech and our installer both have said they have experienced similar responses from Sony, but that a few customers have their entire repair cost on these 52 inch TV's covered fully. Needless to say, Sony is not a honorable company.
FYI There is also a problem with an electronic module at the top of the these KDL XBR's. The problem source can be differentiated by the fact that if the module is responsible, the Sony menus are unaffected.
Pros Very nice picture. Minimalist design.
Cons Functions don't work.
Something wrong at least once a month.
Cost if not on sale.
Summary The picture really is as good and as true as you get without jumping up to $10,000 TV's or buying an entire movie theater. However, do NOT pay full price for this TV. You are simply paying for functions that work half the time, or you cannot use wthout paying extra for, and the Sony name, which is starting to be worth about a dime to me.
December 25, we plugged everything in and ran set up exactly as Sony's manual reads. Nothing varied from setup of a TV to basic cable service. Ran all the coax exactly as the manual read. Despite this, the TVGuideOn Feature would not work. NOONE, not Best Buy floor staff, managers, geek squad, Comcast cable, or even Sony knew why not. Sony would only repeat their pre-written script in broken English. After the TV decided to randomly shut off on us a week later, we traded it in for another. This time we hooked it up the same. Same problem. So I did a software update through the internet connection. The TVGuide On feature appeared to work immediately. However, 48 hours after I'd disconnected the internet line (since I'm not investing in an expensive wireless bridge if the TV is just getting returned), there was no more TVGuide On. No where does the manual specify the internet has to be plugged in for TVGuideOn to work. In fact, the feature will supposedly work from simply a digital antenna...
Anyway, to this point, we've decided to keep the TV and blame the TVGuideOn feature on our Comcast cable. We did the trial run of Netflix, but prefer Redbox $1 movies vs. the $10/month Netflix fee. Most of their on-demand selections are not high def anyway, and look like crap on such a large screen. The other internet video stuff is even worse looking being that it's even lower quality video. The music is cool, but I can do that from my computer, and technically, I could do video as well with the right cable (yet another reason not to pay full price).
Throughout the whole process, the TV has been doing odd things and having odd delays every once in awhile. Then today the picture went out. No warning. Just POOF! I have sound and signal, but no picture. My 20 year old standard TV still has picture in the basement, but my retail $3,000 TV does not, so it's not the cable signal. I'm afraid I've had it with this thing. Sony is losing ground fast. I should've gone with the Samsung, LG, or Sharp. My friends have those brands and haven't had one problem in the same amount of time or longer.