Sony 40XBR800

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Price Paid: $2099.99

Purchase at: Good Guys

Strengths
The quality of the built in speakers is quite impressive when I rarely decide to not use the surround sound set. The picture itself is bright, vivid, and absolutely crystal clear using the proper sources. It’s very easy to fine tune the settings to your liking. The greatest strength to the tv is the large screen itself. This being an awkward transition period where HDTV is emerging, leaving the present format behind, it’s nice to have a set that can pull off both. I’ve never had any complaints about basic cable picture quality (thanks to some helpful tips in the forums). The 16×9 enhanced mode is impressive, depending on the video sources’ OAR, you’re getting the equivalent 36-37″ widescreen tv.

Weakness
The size and bulk of the set has been an itch I cannot forgive. While I love the clarity of the screen, it cannot be beat, the weight of it all has become a problem only because of one irritating reason – glare. We traded down from a 57″ projection set because of the glare coming in from all of the windows in our house. No matter how dark/thick the curtains we put in to reduce the day light, or even lamps at night, there was always distracting reflections coming in from various sources. This would all be moot if the tv was lighter, where it could reside in the upstairs theater/media room that has the best lighting situation, but it’s hard finding anyone who will help haul it up there. Even movers are afraid of the thing.

Comments/Review
While some would suggest I’m on crack for faulting the set over conditions that should be controllable. I cannot give the set a great score with two niggling flaws, even though if all things were based on excellent image quality (especially with dvd’s & our x-box).

This is the second sony set I’ve had to return because of the glare and reflective properties on the screen. It’s really a shame though because if our house wasn’t so well lit I’d be an extremely happy camper.

I’d easily recommend this tv for those looking for a great all around package. The 16×9 enhanced mode is great for enjoying dvd’s the way some of them were meant to be seen, playing video games on the thing is a treat using the component inputs, and once tweaked basic cable is tolerable.

However, if you find yourself in the same boat as me, with a house that has too many freaking windows, I’d kindly back away and search for another solution.

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