Originally Posted by jasebud
I’ve been reading these boards for several months. Just received my
52W4100 yesterday, so here are my initial impressions (sorry for long post).
My objective: Replace an existing 42” Samsung EDTV (480p) Plasma in
light-filled family room which has a picture window opposite the TV with
cellular blinds (not blackout blinds). Main viewing position is 12 feet from TV.
The Samsung ED Plasma is a great set (had a better picture than many 720p
Plasmas when I bought it 3 years ago), but main reasons for replacing it are:
(1) want larger TV (around 50”), (2) want TV with less glare (dark shows/movies difficult to watch during the day), and (3) want TV with better, brighter picture/whites/blacks (for better daytime viewing).
TVs researched/considered over last several months: LCDs - Sony W3000, W4100, XBR4, Samsung 4669, LN550, LN650; Plasmas - Panasonic PZ77U. Initially was leaning towards the 4669, but largest size is 46” and decided that 46” was not going to be much different from my 42” (plus read about many motion/firmware issues). Next leaned toward the XBR4, but wife did not like the glass frame/bezel which makes the 52” a monster on the wall, plus the XBR4 has some issues handling motion (observed in-store and read online), a problem for my sports watching. The W3000 wasn’t bad, just not near the picture quality of the XBR4. Also really liked the PZ77U but when compared with the LCDs, the picture just seemed too dull (ok for a light controlled room, but not my light-filled family room), but the anti-glare screen was very effective (too bad it's no longer available). Then waited for the new Samsungs and really liked the 650 and 550. The 550 has a nice semi-matte screen that does a good job of reducing glare, but the more I compared the 550 to other sets (in-store), the picture looked a bit washed-out and dull. To me, the 650 has as good a picture as the XBR4 and seems to handle motion better. The only thing that kept me from pulling the trigger on the 650 was its glossy screen which produces reflections as bad as my Samsung ED Plasma. Then waited for the new Sony sets and the W4100 finally fit the bill…picture approaching XBR4 quality, handles motion better than XBR4 and almost as good as the 650, styling ok with wife, semi-matte screen cuts out glare/reflections, and priced less than the 650 and XBR4.
Connected to my 52W4100: Time Warner Motorola 8300HD DVR cable box (set to output everything in 1080i) connected via component, Sony DVD Recorder/Player (480p) connected via component, and PS3 connected via HDMI for Blu-ray.
My initial impressions are based on out of the box picture settings (i.e.
Vivid mode), and varying the Motionflow and Cinemotion settings.
Overall Picture: Excellent, even in Vivid mode. Picture quality gets close to XBR4 in equiv. Vivid mode (XBR4 likely has a bit more detailed picture…hard to tell at this point, as my W4100 still needs calibrated). Whites are white and blacks are black. Colors jump off the screen. No green or purple tint to blacks or whites.
Flashlights: Very slight flashlights in each corner, visible when all lights
are turned off in room at night. Not noticeable with any amount of light on in
the room (and I will not be watching this set in the dark). Also, this is with
the backlight turned all the way up (Vivid mode).
Overall Motion: Better than XBR4. Compared the W4100 next to XBR4 in-store with same settings. With Motionflow on Standard, W4100 had no smearing/artifacts while the XBR4 often showed some (good 1080i Food Network cable feed). On High, XBR4 pretty bad with motion, W4100 not perfect, but still better than XBR4. However, I still think the 650 may be slightly better handling motion vs. the W4100. Wish Sony had one more Motionflow setting between Standard and Off.
HDTV: Looks incredible. Watched MLB, NBA, NBC/ABC/CBS, other typical HD channels and all looked great. Settled on Motionflow on Standard and Cinemotion on Auto1. NBA action was smooth, no smearing or artifacts. Same with MLB. A bit of a soap opera effect on some HD shows (sitcoms, dramas).
SDTV: Not bad. As good as my Samsung EDTV Plasma which does a really nice job with SDTV. But 52" vs. 42" does magnify the flaws of SDTV. Expect it to improve some with calibration.
SD DVD (480p): Really nice with good quality DVD. Not so good with poor quality DVD (picture similar to SDTV). Need to play more with Cinemotion and Motionflow settings on SD DVDs.
PS3 Blu-ray: Picture quality phenomenal. Motion handling and effect runs the
gamut depending on Motionflow and Cinemotion settings. Still not sure what
settings I like. Motionflow on High is definitely too artificial for me, even
Standard might be too processed and “soap opera-ish”, but Standard is smoother than Off, so I might just leave it on Standard. Again, seems to handle motion on Blu-ray better than XBR4, based on my in-store experiences with XBR4 hooked up to Blu-ray feeds.
Gaming: Sorry not much of a gamer, so haven’t tested set for gaming yet. TV does have a Game Mode, so I assume that will help with gaming.
Sound: I use a 5.1 system, so did not play with sound settings. But did briefly listen to Blu-ray through TV and sounded OK to me.
Glare: Minimal reflections. Screen finish is very similar to XBR4, a semi-matte (or semi-gloss, to me it is more matte than gloss).
Off-Angle Viewing: Not very good. My Samsung ED Plasma had much better
off-angle viewing. The W4100 picture washes out quite a bit as move off center (at about 60 deg off center). Seems to be a similar issue with other LCDs (Plasmas seem better for off-angle viewing).
Styling: Satisfies wife. The “hole” really not noticeable when mounted on the
wall, even with light colored walls and lights on. Really like the illuminated
SONY logo, but probably will become annoying over time (can turn it off).
Overall dimensions and styling better than XBR4, takes up less wall space. It is, however, quite a bit thicker than my Samsung ED Plasma, so it stands out further from wall, but not too bad.
Summary: Very happy with this set and would highly recommend it. Expect it to get even better once I experiment with the settings and calibrate with Avia. Glad I went with 52" vs. 46", good size from 12 feet. Picture quality is close to XBR4 for a lot less $$$ and better motion handling than XBR4. If the 650 had a semi-matte screen, I probably would have opted for it vs. the W4100, as it seems a bit better overall, but the reflections from glossy screen are a problem for me. So on balance, the W4100 is the best overall set that satisfies my needs.