"Picture is absolutely gorgeous!"4.5 starson by drehus
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.