Pros: Gorgeous color, 3 HDMI, non-glare screen, backlit remote, sharp black levels, tv speakers crisp
Cons: no swivel stand, fast-action sports look blurry (no 120hz refresh rate), picture setup menu spreadout
PROS: Gorgeous picture, easy set-up, custom controls galore, 3 HDMI connections, non-glare matte screen and frame, side connectors,good black levels and color saturation, backlit remote, tv speakers are really crisp & clear!
CONS: No swivel stand, fast-action sports look a little blurry (wish it had the 120hz refresh rate), picture setup menu all over the place
***First of all, if you're a member of AAA, print out the online coupon and take into Circuit City for an additional 8-10% off. If you're not a member, then join. Your savings will more than pay for the membership to AAA! Circuit matched their online price plus the 10% off. Then after I had paid for it, they realized they were out of stock, so they knocked some more money off - to compensate me for driving to another location to pick it up. Very happy with Circuit City!
I'm in the broadcasting industry and have always favored Sony. I bought this set after much agonizing over all the information available to educated buyers. After also reading Consumer Reports (among many others), I settled on either Sony or Samsung.
My first choice in the Sony line was the XBR4, which looks spectacular...but didn't feel the extra $500-600 necessarily warranted it?
Some comments have stated that the speakers are adequate...they are much MORE than adequate. At least they project out, rather than some sets that have the speakers underneath facing down - for a more muffled sound (Samsung).
This set out of the box is really easy to set-up and has terrific choices for inputs. The side HDMI and composite input is a plus showing off those home movies and pictures. You'll need to get a good HDMI cable. None are included. I went with the Monster Ultimate HDMI...it's a little overkill, But I guess I bought for the future. The standard Monster HDMI will work great.
I have DirecTV HD and it looks terrific on most channels. ESPN-HD and Discovery-HD look great...CSI Miami looks freakin' AMAZING!!!
It all depends on the quality of the source. And HD shows are using a wide variety of HD cameras, etc to shoot these programs.
Having replaced a 9 year old Sony 35", that still looked great, I am a little disappointed in the quality of the standard definition programming. It honestly looked better on my old set. But next year, that will no longer be an issue as broadcasters will only be sending out a digital signal.
So, do NOT buy this tv unless you're also doing the HD thing. There are better HD sets out there that show analog channels better.There is a wide variety of setup picture preferences, although they seem to be in different places in the menu...kind of confusing.
The matte screen and border finish work extremely well in a brightly lit room with windows/glare issues. The glare problem I had with my old tube set is no longer an issue. Some experts say that the matte screen shows off less contrast, which is true. But the contrast at 16000:1 is perfectly fine.
I do notice that some of the darker lit scenes have the black levels looking more "dark gray" than black, but that's not a deal-breaker. The brighter scenes look fine.
Since upgrading to the XBR4 was a little out of my price range, I also strongly considered the Samsung LNT4671, which is in the same family. Samsung makes many of the components for Sony's LCDs.
The LNT4671 has a higher 25000:1 contrast ratio and the newest thing in the HD world...120hz refresh rate for smoother movement (particularly important for watching sports)...HD was made for watching sports! And for watching CSI Miami!
The Samsung 4671 also has an annoying high gloss piano frame finish and a very reflective screen, which is really annoying in a brightly lit room with windows.
But given all that, I should have probably bought the Samsung instead. It is in the same family as the Sony XBR line. At the time, the price difference was less than a $150 for the Samsung vs. the W series...Not anymore. The sale price (at another online retailer) is no more!
So am I happy with the set? Absolutely! I have noticed in my 3 days of watching HD basketball that there is a noticeable blurring effect on fast action. That's where the
120hz processor would have corrected this. I also see the detail a bit grainy in sports for my taste, but I haven't played around much with customizing the settings.
But the networks HD shows look PHENOMINAL!!! Don't have a blu-ray yet, but have seen it also look tremendous on screen.
Two things I would also recommend:
(1) Buy the extended 2 year warranty thru Sony web site It's
$59 and includes house calls.
(2) Turn down the brightness and backlight a little for
longer screen life.
All in all, this is a very NICE set!