Why did I choose this set? There are a few reasons...
- 1920x1080 resolution
- Support for 1080p inputs
- Looks great from any viewing angle
- DRC 2.5 (Digital Reality Creation) - Image Enhancement Chip
- Sony XBR well respected brand for high end TV's
- Floating-glass Bezel looks cool
- Not too big for standard definition, not too small for high definition from a viewing distance of 9 feet
- Automagically brightens when the room gets brighter (lights on, Sunlight)
I used the THX Optimizer from The Incredibles DVD to check the setup. I changed the color mode from "vivid" to "standard." Other than that, all settings were left at the factory defaults. I was surprised that the default settings gave the best results for the THX Optimizer...I didn't have to adjust anything.
I watched some of The Incredibles and I was blown away by how good it looked. I sat about 3 feet away and it looked amazing. I noticed *much* more detail than before. One reason for this is probably because my old set did not support anamorphic DVD's, but this one does. Anamorphic DVD's use the entire frame for video instead of wasting data on the black bars. The DVD player will stretch the frame to fit a wide screen and add the black bars.
I watched a bit of Star Wars Episode III and was again impressed. Granted, I chose these movies because I knew they were filmed at 60 fps for HDTV, unlike most movies that are done at 24 fps.
Next I watched an episode of 24, season 2. It did not look as good as the previous movies, but it still looked great.
DirecTV looked terrible at first. I played with the settings for DRC and then I got a picture that looked almost the same as my old TV, which was really good. Lesson learned: DRC can improve picture quality when done right, and it can make TV look horrible when done wrong. The default is on with some funky settings which make regular television (NTSC) look awful.
I will be getting FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Discovery, TNT, and MSNBC in HD tomorrow. My apartment complex in the past month has added HD support to the DirecTV they supply us. I can't pick up HD using an antenna because I am surrounded by tall buildings.
I played Xbox 360 last night, which is currently my only true HD source (720p). I sat really close and played Project Gotham Racing 3. I've had this game since I bought my 360 back in February, but I haven't played it much. It feels like a new game...you can see further in the distance, the detail is a amazing. The wide screen fills my field of view...it was a completely different experience than before. I will *definitely* be playing this one more.
My initial impression...I *love* this set.