"Absolutely beautiful picture!"4.0 starson by sundog1969
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.