"no true 1080p"on by lanion
Pros I'm sure its got an awesome picture
Cons specs are a little deceptive
Summary After reading through the manual online I realized that this TV cannot display any 1080p signals. The TV upconverts everything to 1080p, but cannot recieve a 1080p signal from any source. This is only any issue for computer users and playstation 3 owners-to be, but I think it is important.
Pros Stunning detail, bold colors, deep contrast levels
Cons Somewhat pricey, odd cabinet design, strange "blob" artifact
Summary Purchased this model after initally buying the current 50" Sony LCD projection model (Sony KDF-E50A10 -- see CNET for full review). Was disappointed with the blacks/contrast level on that unit. Colors were bold and sharpness was excellent on the KDF 50", but I just couldn't stand the lack of contrast. Dark scenes in DVD's looked purple-black, losing detail. Figured if I was going to live with this TV for several years I better make a change. Traded up to the SXRD 50".
First thing out of the box: the SXRD 50" has a funky cabinet with "bat wing" speakers. Not the best design, IMHO. The Sony KDF 50" LCD projection TV has a much less obtrusive design, with a simple black bezel.
However, the SXRD 50" is still a nice looking unit. It just
takes a bit to get used to. Also, the bat-wing speakers will probably not be used by most home theater enthusiasts since they'll be running their audio through multi-channel amps.
Double whammy: the audio from the built-in speakers is trebly, not very good on bass. It would've been nice if Sony had designed the speakers to be removable.
But now the feature presentation: How's the Picture?
Well, after doing much research and lurking around retailers, oogling their LCD's, DLP's, plasmas, etc. -- comparing features and price, I can confidently say this:
This is definitely the TV that I will be able to enjoy for years to come!
The picture is everything you've read about: beautiful detail, excellent color rendition with strong contrast levels. I'd say contrast is near-CRT, around 95% subjectively.
The true HD 1080i/1080p nature of the display means that there's good legacy inherent in the design. Dual HDMI ports, with selectable/customizable picture settings for all inputs -- absolutely fantastic idea! What this means is that you find the right settings for each of your inputs, like your DVD, your Satellite, etc. and the
Sony remembers them. It's so obvious and useful that I can't understand why this isn't a more common feature on other TV's.
Watching upscaled (720p/1080i) Star Wars Episodes I, II, III on this TV was breathtaking. Several times I gazed speechless at the extraordinary depth of the images ... watching other DVD's now brings out detail I never saw before. I was watching Star Trek Voyager on DVD last night and could see the nicks and imperfections in the wall of the set, as well as the imperfections in the hair and makeup of the characters.
As has been stated before, the image on this TV is a little "soft", compared to standard LCD. Adjusting the sharpness control makes only a slight difference. But the "softness" is due to the extraordinary resolution of the LCoS chips -- a good input signal on this TV produces an almost film-like smoothness that blows away every other
LCD or DLP set I've seen.
Also, out-of-box, this set need a lot of tweaking. Took about 30 minutes to get the levels (color, sharpness, contrast, etc.) to an acceptable balance.
One final quirk -- another reviewer here has mentioned a "glowing green blob" present on the screen. After a bit of searching, I actually did notice the same artifact on my own set. It is most noticeable in the first few minutes when the set is warming up. On my particular set, the blob is an ellipse which dominates the center area of the screen, maybe 70% of the viewing area. But it's subtle, and seems to disappear after a few minutes. When I look especially hard for it (after warm-up), sometimes I see it, and other times, I can't find it. Very strange.
I spent about 15 minutes yesterday searching through different inputs and screens, trying to find "the blob" and notice any logic to its appearance. It seems most noticeable on washed-out Standard Def signals from satellite. Highly compressed mpeg-2 signals, especially fade-to-white scenes or very bright off-white backgrounds seem to bring it out. It has the effect of producing a "color tint distortion", making whites look more lime-green. But it's extremely subtle and sometimes when I looked for it, I couldn't find it. In scenes of varying contrast or bold color & motion, the artifact is not present.
Granted, this "blob" is very odd -- but it doesn't change my decision in purchasing this set. I feel that ANY set on the market today is going to have quirks unique to its inherent technology, and unless a person is willing to spend a HUGE amount of money to buy a top-quality plasma, there will be compromises.
My advice: go see this set in action at your nearest retailer, and compare it to LCD or DLP projection, and you will be suitably impressed.
Pros Picture quality best I have seen, including plasma screens.
Cons Not inexpensive. Matte screen vs regular glass may not please everyone.
Summary I have had the Sony XSRD 50 inch tv for just a few days and cannot write about longevity or "technical" aspects, but I can say that in my opinion, it offers the most gorgeous HD picture you can buy today. I would not call myself a video expert, but as a graphic designer who works all day on a razor-sharp 23 inch LCD HD display, my eye is extremely suceptable to noise, fuzziness and pixel artifacts. I wanted a tv with the absolute sharpest and clearest HD image. The XSRD delivers it. I have been shopping tvs for a few months and have the luxury of at least 6 major appliance and tv stores within 10 minutes of my house, so I have had plenty of opportunity to look at all the major players out there.
After looking at all the 50 inch projection and plasmas out right now, I had narrowed my choice to 2 for what I thought was the best picture quality, regardless of technology, including sharpness, color accuracy, variety of inputs and good deep blacks with detail. Many plasmas have good gutsy blacks, but some, like the Samsung seem to lose detail in the shadow areas. The Sony XSRD and the Panasonic TH-50PX50U seemed to offer the best combination of sharpness and rich blacks while holding onto the detail. It came down to the Panasonic selling for $3,999 and the Sony XSRD which I could buy for just under $3,000. To my eye, although the Panasonic displayed a beautiful picture, the Sony just looked more detailed as well as being a smoother, more natural image. It looks like a moving photograph. I was worried about the viewing angle on the Sony projection vs plasma which is uniformly bright from nearly any angle, but after putting the set in place, which is in the corner of a brightly lit room, the brightness from various angles does not seem diminished. The Sony's factory settings are far too bright for evening viewing, but the advanced iris makes changing the overall brightness easy. During the day, when a bright image is desirable, the iris can be opened up for a brighter picture.
Also, the "vivid" setting, which is the default looks too saturated. The "pro" setting looks natural yet still very vibrant. Another consideration for me was the reflective glass of a plasma vs the matte screen on the Sony. The regular glass on a plasma gives the picture the appearance of more depth, while the matte screen tends to look grey in the daylight. While viewing though, the matte screen absorbs reflections making it very easy on the eye. At night, the reflections dissapear completely. In my case, with a wall of windows in our family room, I opted for the matte glass of the Sony.
DVDs input from a progressive scan dvd player look beautiful and nearly HD. I did notice some jaggies along sharp angled edges, but I think that can be corrected by changing the settings to allow the 3:2 pulldown to work. I will post additional reports as I am able to put the tv through its paces, but as a new owner, I could not be happier with the picture. WTTW in Chicago broadcasts HD over the air and even with a cheap Radio Shack set-top antennae, the Clapton concert they were broadcasting was like being in the front row. Every detail was crystal clear. While watching Monday Night Football in HD my wife kept using the term "freaky", as in "It's freaky how good the picture looks!"Updated
Before someone calls me on my mistake, I'll catch myself. For some reason I kept typing it incorrectly.
And I did think of one negative about the tv. The remote, although very slick looking brushed metal, is not backlit and the lettering on the keys is tiny. I'll be keeping a mini maglite on my drink table!Updated
After owning and using the 50 inch Sony for over 4 months now, I am totally happy with my decision. The anti-reflective screen helps in well lit rooms. The TV is in a family room with french doors opposite the TV and even in bright lighting conditions the TV looks good. Major golf tournaments, baseball and movies broadcast in HD are really something you have to see. Standard signal shows are not bad either. Of course you get spoiled by HD broadcasts, and more and more stations are going that route. My only negative would be the sony remote, but since Comcast provided me with a universal remote, I only use the Sony to tweak the settings on the TV. I also purchased the Sony stand made for the 50 incher and it really completes the look.
Pros Clarity, brightness, resolution, sound (without A/V on)
Cons Sony Remote has no codes for my Directv HD- DVR box
Summary I bought this after the standard 30 hours of internet research and talking with the TV guys at the stores. I was going for the Panasonic plasma but I overheard the salesman stating that the SXRD was the best TV in the store. After another 20 hours of research I pulled the trigger (with the help of 24 months no interest).
I am so happy. I have three other geek friends who are very jealous right now. Coupled with Directv, this TV blows away my friends DLPs and one's plasma. The 1080I basketball and football games both from Satelite and OTA can't be beat. Suddenly, Discover HD is one of my favorite channels. I am glad I waited and I look forward to watching HD programming that I never thought I would watch. Do yourself a favor and find someone who has this TV matched up with a satelite feed before buying any other TV.
Pros Blacks Great, Color Good, Features Excellent
Cons Gray Scale Not Consistant Across The Screen
Summary I bought KDS-R50XBR1 just before Christmas '05. This is my first HDTV. As a long time videophile, I wasn't that pleased with prior sets (except CRT) and I waited for the technology to get to where it is today. I needed at least 50" to make it worthwhile. No doubt, DLP just didn't have it and LCD, Plasma either not big enough or not good enough in many important areas. After a lot of patient waiting and research from "experts" who write reviews here and in enthusiast magazines, I was excited that the 2 best TV companies, JVC and Sony, both were consentrating on Lcos. I bought in and decided Sony had what I was looking for, especially 1080p. Finally a large screen can resolve all of 1080i and pixel size is smaller so we can sit closer.
In "Pro" mode and with a little tweaking using my eyes and the Avia test disc, I set up what I felt was the best compromise between HDTV and SDTV viewing using HDMI from Cable DVR and seperately for DVD using Component In. Sony gives us full control using Pro mode and is remembered based on inputs.
Color pictures on good quality DVD are as good as it gets! HD color pictures can sometimes look incredible! Up to a 9.5 out of 10!
Black&White (and in rare cases certain colors)is another story. Areas of the screen change color especially seen in medium to light grays and white. If this was a CRT set, one would say the "color purity" needed adjustment or the set was magnetized. Frankly I'm surprised that no users on CNet, no reviewers here, or in reviews in Sound&Vision and Perfect Vision Magazines commented on this problem. I felt my set was performing like a 7 out of 10 in this regard.
Live Tech at Sony website was helpful, but didn't know enough to understand my problem. By phone I opened a case file and got to a "level 2 tech" who at least can understand my problem. The set was scheduled for a warranty repair in mid January. A technician came in less than a week, replaced a module in my home and the set was now a 6 out of 10. The problem was changed, but made worse, not better. Areas of the screen were different color from before. The technician who came out was courteous, knowledgable, and understanding. No doubt, he felt the picture was unacceptable. He advised me to wait a few weeks to see if the new part would burn in and improve things. 3 weeks later, no change.
I kept calling Sony until I got another service call scheduled. A part was coming from Sony which was supposed to be "tested" first. Late Feb. same guy came, new part, and again effected areas of the screen changed, but now I'm back to 7 out of 10 and not happy. Sony had a customer service rep. call me and he told me this is a small problem, mostly gone unnoticed, and engineering recognizes this is the best the technology can do. I receieve an additional 6 months on my warranty, a promise that my set would get considered if a running change can be made, and he offered to give me my full purchase price back - which I'm still considering.
Sony people were very helpful, and I believe I can't find a better picture, yet, so another set from Sony may not help. JVC uses the same technology so I'll look at one and maybe get a refund to buy it. I'm not sure yet.
Doesn't anyone out there have this defect with their TV?