Pros Incredibly deep plasma like blacks
Cons No built in WI-fi
Summary I recently decided I was going to purchase a new TV. I went online and spent a lot of time researching everything. It seemed like the Samsung UNC8000 was a well liked set by most reviewers. It is a edge lit LED set with the added feature of local backlight control.
So I go to BB to look at this set. I'm in a relatively bright area and I see flashlights in the bottom corners. No guessing where the light source is located. I think to myself, "self, how terrible will this look in lower light?" So I go into the Magnolia room and spot the Samsung UNC9000, the flagship. Really beautiful looking set. Turn it on and it is flashlighting also. I ask the guy to turn on the other TV in the room. We are watching Beowolf and the scene goes black. The Samsung turns dark gray with corner flashlights and the other TV goes pitch black. I can't tell the bezel apart from the screen. "Oh my God!", I said, asking what TV I was looking at. Turns out it was the Sony HX909. I didn't remember reading much about it. More about the PQ. Gorgeous is all I can say. The colors were dead on. The trumpet in Beowulf was gold like a trumpet should be. Turn around and it is dull yellow on the Samsung. The dark blacks of the Sony create so much contrast that all you can say is Wow! I really tried to get the Samsung to match the Sony. I lowered the backlighting, made sure it was in cinema mode and that it had its backlight control on. It still looked terrible compared to the Sony. I then tried to make the Sony look bad. I put it in torch mode and there was no flashlighting and it was still pretty impressive.
So I knew I needed to research a little more. Turns out what separates this set from the masses is its full array back lighting. Said another way, Most sets use LED lighting along the sides. This allows for cheaper manufacturing costs and thinner profiles with the downside of poor screen uniformity and annoying flashlights and waterfalls of bright light on a dark screen. The backlit sets puts the LEDs in the back behind the display. This adds the benefit of a more uniform appearance and much better black levels. The only downside I have heard of with these is the cost and halos around bright objects on dark backgrounds. Last year several manufacturers made full array sets. Samsung made the UNB8500, which cnet rated as one of the best sets they ever tested. Now all they make are edgelits. It seems that Sony, LG, and Vizio are the only makers left. Rumor has it that Sony is getting out of the game. Having seen the two technologies side by side, The full arrays are worth every penny. Better get one while you can as it looks like the manufacturers are taking a step backwards in PQ and focusing more on thinner, gadgets, and 3D. I guess that they are too expensive to make and thus hard to market and sell.
I have not seen the Vizio. The LG 9500 IMO is a really nice set but did not have as nice of blacks as the Sony. For the Sony...Televisioninfo.com rates this TV very highly except for its MSRP of $3,500. Cnet also rated it very good, criticizing it for some blue tones on black and also for its price. My set is calibrated (You can get very good settings for free off of AVS forums) and I see no blue tones on black. If you look around you can find this set for $2,300 online, which in my opinion makes the best LED out there at a good value.
Pros TV has outstanding picture colors are true and deep blacks with excellent contrast, good internet interface and selection. Slick monolith design.
Cons The remote has normal universal functions to be used on a BD or DVR except there is no "pause" function. Why bother putting DVR and BD functions on a remote if you can not pause? Isn't that the most used dvr button?
Summary Great TV picture and features and a remote that is simple and easy to use but missing the most common button that most people look for.
Pros The colors were dynamic, especially the ability to distinguish from the black and partition the black colors from the other colors. They are running a special right now where you can get 2 glasses for free together with the 3D transmitter.
Cons The price is on the high side, but after considering he quality of the sony name versus say a samsung, where customer service is non-existent, I would go with Sony every time.
Summary This is my first purchase of a Sony product and given that they are pioneers in 3D, it is better to go with the company that is pioneering 3D content and making sure that the 3D elements in the TV work well with the 3D content that is coming soon. Is 3D a gimmick or real - I think it is the real thing - with the expansion of 3D in the movie theaters and the emergence of so many upcoming events in 3D - the world cup soccer tournament, the upcoming NFL season - it behooves me to assume that 3D is the real thing and Sony is going to lead the charge. I like their maintenance plan - $289 for a 5 year plan and furthermore, they are supposedly well known for their service repair in case if I run into problems. Apart from that, I am not really into getting the most intricate thing out of the TV and so I am lacking on the technical side. But I love the TV and the picture.
Pros Design and Picture quality in 2D and 3D( limited viewing angle)
PS3 on it is great.
Cons Speakers are okay but not great. Especially if you have a big room.
Internet Browser weak. Sony need to transition to a qwerty layout.
3D not so great when viewed from a sharp angle or if you are too close to edge
Summary It took me months of research to educate myself on the latest TV technology. Trying to understand the difference between edge lit LED/ Dynamic edge lit LED/ Full Array LED w local dimming/ refresh rate 480Hz vs 960Hz vs 600Hz for Plasma/ Gorilla glass...ETC. At the end it came down to two TVs: the Pioneer VT30 ( best plasma TV on the market) and the Sony HX929 ( best LED TV on Market). I felt that the xbr produced a clearer image, more brilliant/brighter colors and the image was less grainy than a plasma TV. I finally bought the HX 929 and will definitely recommend it to all my family/friends.
Pros Picture quality
Cons Cost and durability
Summary I too thought Sony is a pioneer and paid more for the Sony name. My LCD panel did not last and Sony customer service refuses to help in any way. Sony TVs provide a great picture when they work. If they don't, you are out the money and a TV. After 2.5 years, my Sony sits in the corner and I need a new TV. I will never pay a premium for a Sony product again.