Sony Wega KV-36XBR450

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Price Paid: $1800

Purchase at: Sony Shop

Strengths
One of the finest, if not the finest picture available on the market today.

Weakness
The set will need “tweaking”, most likely by someone using the hidden service menu with the help of a $50 service and repair manual before you see the full capability of this outstanding model. Not all owners are going to feel comfortable doing this on their own.

Some reviewers have listed the weight of this model – well over 200 lbs – as a weakness. I don’t see that as a weakness so much as the reality of what it takes to produce this kind of picture.

Others have also mentioned that the built in audio section doesn’t measure up to the standard set by the picture. Frankly anyone who buys this set has got themselves the primary component of a fine home theater, and I myself wouldn’t consider putting together a home theater using any TV’s audio system. Home theater sound is going to be much better with a good audio/video receiver, and of course you need one to receive Dolby Digital and DTS sound.

Comments/Review
I should explain that I am not a novice when it comes to television pictures. I spent nearly a decade working as an installer and then repairman for a large cable company, and moved on from there to become a freelance TV news videographer in the nation’s fifth largest market. I am used to seeing video shot on and played back on multi-thousand dollar Sony broadcast equipment.

I have never, inside or out of a TV studio, seen anything which can produce a picture comparable to the XBR450. I have a very critical eye and was disappointed when the set was first delivered. I just couldn’t get the color to come out right, no matter how much I tried adjusting the user controls. Then I was lucky enough to discover this website and learned of the hidden service menu and adjustments. I sent off to Sony for the repair manual and using it I managed to get this set to produce the most perfect picture I have ever seen.

What makes this set look so good, besides the lack of visible scan lines is the incredible number of colors that it can display. I had never realised just how much other sets don’t show us until I found the XBR450. With a high quality input such as satellite or progressive scan DVD the effect is that of looking through a very clean window.

Just a note here about DVD. I have seen discussions about whether a progressive scan DVD player produces a better picture compared to a non-progressive one with this set. My experience is that after changing to a progressive scan DVD player I saw a noticable difference.

I have been watching this set since the first of the year, and am still amazed by the picture every time I turn it on. I feed it a broadcast quality signal from C-band satellite (the big 8 1/2 foot dish); with HDTV (Showtime and HBO both simulcast their main channels in HDTV); from a progressive scan DVD player; from a S-video VCR and on occassion from a mini-dv camcorder.

As you may have read, others report that some cable companies and “little dish” satellite systems have some channels which don’t look terribly good on this set. I can understand that. While this set can provide the best possible picture from the signal fed it, it cannot perform miracles. As the computer folks say “GIGO” or garbage in, garbage out. If you are going to spend this much money on a TV don’t scrimp on the signal you feed it. If possible go for a big satellite dish, if not then sign up for one of the small dish services. If you have to get cable, get digital cable if it is available in your area.

Stock up on popcorn, put a movie on and enjoy your new set!

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