Price Paid: $3499.98
Purchase at: Circuit City
Perfect picture geometry, very bright picture, non-glare screen surface, immune to screen burn-in, good remote, light weight for it’s size, nice cabinet design
Somewhat gray black level – not true black like a good CRT, tubby sounding speaker system, consumable bulbs that cost $250 apiece.
I got this set as a result of Sony’s failed attempt at a good 40″ XBR set, which I returned after it could not be fixed to my satisfaction. I searched for a replacement for that set for about three months, and looked at every RPTV technology available – CRT, LCD, plasma, DLP, and LCOS, and this LCD was the winner. Here is what I found:
CRT – “hot spot” in center of screen, somewhat fuzzy picture compared to other technologies, great black levels, minor to moderate burn-in if static items are displayed continuously
Plasma – prohibitively expensive, suffers moderate to severe burn in when viewing static images, games, or 4:3 picture continuously, high energy use, easy to fit in your viewing area, good off-axis brightness, decent black level, but not as good as CRT
DLP – good brightness, ok black levels, a little higher priced than LCD and definitely more than CRT, muddy yellows and greens compared to LCD and plasma, expendable bulb
LCOS – I only saw one set, and it was a good bit more expensive than LCD / DLP, though not as pricey as plasma, great brightness, decent black level, again, not as good as CRT, but a little better than LCD, vivid colors, expendable bulb
LCD – Black levels not very good, expendable bulb, very bright picture, great color saturation, good price for performance, immune to burn-in, nice sharp picture
Based on price/performance, LCD was my choice, and this set, when compared to others, namely Panasonic and Hitachi, had a sharper picture, better black levels, and brighter image, so I took it home.
I have been very happy with this set because of it’s performance with progressive-scan DVDs, bright picture, great color, and anti-reflective screen. It is positioned on a wall in my living room perpendicular to a wall with three windows that let in the afternoon sun, and it does not distract with screen reflections, and it is bright enough to watch even when the curtains are opened. Showing satellite program material on a TV this size shows the compression artifacts quite a bit, so it looks like the set has a grainy picture, but stick a DVD in a progressive-scan player, and the picture is outstanding. I have not seen an HD signal on this set yet, so I cannot comment on that aspect of its performance. However, if it is as good or better than progressive DVD, I will not be dissappointed.
I have heard about some people who have had trouble with the lamps burning out in a very short time after getting the set, but mine has worked flawlessly now for 6 months. I have read that if the set is connected to a switched AC outlet on a receier, that the bulbs will burn out prematurely due to a lack of cool-down time. Mine is plugged straight into an APC UPS, so it gets plenty of clean power to run on, and will not be shut off instantly even in the event of a power failure.
One amusing (as well as maddening) issue I have with the set is the presence of a good sized spider who has taken up residence inside the set. It will periodically run across the screen, and will sometimes sit in the middle of the screen, and it drives me absolutely crazy. I can only hope that flies and bugs do not find entrance to the set and unwittingly provide food for my unwanted guest.
Regarding my comments on sound, I can forgive it’s tubby sound because the vast majority of people who want this size screen will already have a good surround-sound system. I wish they had saved me a few bucks and not even included speakers and amps in this set.
Other than the black level issue, tubby sound, and the presence of my little arachnid friend, I find no fault with this set. There is no perfect technology out there right now for projection television, but I feel that LCD has the best compromise between shortcomings and performance, and this set has the best perfomance of the LCDs I have looked at. I can recommend this set without reservation.