Pros: TV Guide plus Internet gadgets galore. The TV of the future.
Cons: A few controls on the remote control are not to my liking.
In choosing the TV there were certain requirements that were important to me. Number 1 was the TV Guide feature. I use the TV Guide to see what is on and to find out if I’ve seen it before. The next important issue was a bright display and antireflection. This TV is going in the living room where it is bright and reflections exist during the day. The Sony KDL-52XBR9 is a perfect choice.
The TV only weights 75 pounds so I could set it up by myself. It comes with the table stand installed so it will stay there until the wall mount is ready to be used.
The first thing I notice is a small frame perimeter that is very simple. This makes it easy to establish the décor of my home theater system. The colors are vivid. This was obvious in the show room displays. I found no TV with a better picture. Most were not as good as this one. They say the $5000 LED TVs are better but I could not see the difference. I have a 52” Panasonic plasma with the best picture on the market. This XBR9 is equal to it in all respects except the plasma may have slightly better black level contrast. It is really difficult to see any difference. The nice thing about the Sony KDL-52XBR9 is I can run it at full brightness all day without the danger of burning the screen. Then the light sensor will adjust the brightness automatically when the sun goes down and the room darkens.
I finally plugged the TV into the Blu Ray player and put on Over America. I set the Blu Ray player for 1080P-24. Few TVs in too few showrooms can reproduce this quality. It is equal to my Panasonic Plasma and may actually have more vivid colors. My plasma TV is 1080i and the 1080P-24 difference could be seen. It is the best picture I’ve seen.
I’m using the TV with over the air signal. The HD pictures are great. It is also connected to the Internet through my router and cable modem. It picks up the connection easily and there is an abundance of features to play with. This is the wave of the future as TV technology and computers merge together. The TV Guide advertising is done professionally and is acceptable. The U-Tube and about 30 other available programs are already good but they are still in the early phase of development. I like it. The TV Guide is a must as far as I am concerned.
The speakers have a good rating according to some reviews. I say they are OK. My only comparison is a Dolby 6.1 sound system with high end speakers. You really need a professional sound system to properly complement this TV. The TV provides an optical audio output so your amplifier will like that.
The TV accesses DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) Certified equipment? You can look up DLNA on the Internet. I believe you can put server software on your networked computer and access that computer data from the TV. DLNA will probably gain mass adoption.
The external connections on the TV are great with everything needed and then more.
If you are a computer geek then the Sony KDL-52XBR9 is for you. If you just want to watch cable TV and nothing more then the cheaper Sony TV without the extra electronics and programming may be for you. The cheaper TV does not have TV Guide. In fact no other TV on the market has TV Guide except for a discontinued Pioneer TV.
I went into the Sony KDL-52XBR9 menu and selected the maintenance area. The TV went on line and did software upgrade automatically. This was impressive.
The electronics and features are incredible on this TV. The gadgets, widgets and Internet function will keep you busy for a long time. Watching a movie online had very good picture quality on my high speed connection. I believe you need about 3 Mbits download speed. I have 7MB download speed and one gadget service offered a scenery video in HD quality. This was a new experience.
The TV has conventional mounting options. I chose the swivel mount at Top TV Mounts and it is perfect. This is also their best selling mount and is excellent quality.
So I looked at every show room in Austin TX and the Sony KDL-52XBR9 always came out on top. The $5000 TVs either did not have the 240 Hz refresh rate or they did not have the TV Guide. I reiterate here that it was highly improbable that I would give up the TV Guide feature. Now that I have it I know my choice was correct. Then on top of that I get all these Internet toys that I have only partially explored.
This review could be much longer and cover much more material since many features are not documented. I feel comfortable in saying it has everything. Sony is a well designed TV. There are only a few problems in my opinion.
The remote control is OK but the left, right, up and down arrows on the Menu functions is difficult to press without hitting other function keys around it. The area here is too congested.
The remote control lights up but the light goes off too soon if you do not press the buttons.
It has a sleep function but accessing it is a nightmare. Many remote controls have the sleep function on the remote control. Sony has it very deep in the Menu system. This is a big mistake in my opinion. I mean it might take as many as 20 button presses to set the sleep timer. However you could just set the TV to turn off automatically if you do not activate any controls for a specified period of time.