Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sony LCD TV : Sony BRAVIA XBR KDL-32XBR9 32-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV

First, let me say this TV excels on many levels. Picture quality is great, pre-set picture settings are almost spot on, but plenty of flexibility to adjust, decent off-angel viewing, matte screen deals well w/ bright lighting (we have a lamp directly across from the TV and only notice a reflection in truly dark scenes), and of course the long history of Sony quality standing behind it. However, unless the 120hz is a must for you, see if you can get your hands on a XBR6 on clearance. The XBR9 doesn't add much more, and you do lose some features, like the on-screen tv guide, PAP/PIP, and the proprietary input for things like the ipod dock, etc.
Minor Issues: Sound quality is decent for a TV of this size, but audiophiles will want to add an external speaker system. The bezel is highly reflective, which can be distracting depending on the lighting in the room. Another thing to note is that the input menu has to be navigated with the arrow keys on the remote - can't just keep hitting the input button to scroll through - so depending on your satellite or cable remote, like us (we have DirectTV), you may not be able to use it to change inputs, and will have to use the Sony remote to switch b/t the SD box and HD antenna.
Major Issue: The biggest drawback on this set, for me, is the function that automatically adjusts the backlight based on screen brightness, and, so far, we cannot find any way to shut this off. (Note, this is NOT the same as the light sensor, which you can, and I think should disable, as I think it produces kind of a muddy picture in all but optimal room light conditions.) For average viewing, this is not a problem, and we did not discover the issue until watching The Prestige on TV a few weeks ago - the movie has many dark, candle/lamp lit scenes, and the dark-bright-dark-bright adjustments made the movie almost unwatchable at times. It wouldn't be so bad if the adjustment was smoother, but generally a couple of seconds after the screen brightness changes there is a abrupt and significant darkening or brightening of the screen. So if your main interest is gaming or watching movies that tend to have a lot of dark scenes, then this might not be the TV for you. Even though we use this TV mainly to watch TV and the occasional DVD from NetFlix, and so will probably have to deal w/ this only occasionally, it's distracting enough when it does happen that, if we'd known about this issue in advance, we probably would not have purchased the TV.

My Blog List