For those considering the Sony 40" XBR7, I thought I would post as to why I purchased it over the very comparable 40" XBR6.
Here are the key reasons:
1. Styling -- the 40" XBR7 has the XBR8 series styling with the speakers on the left and right sides of the screen (as opposed to the bottom of the screen), which I preferred from a strictly styling perspective.
2. Sound -- according the Sonystyle.com, the XBR7 has more speakers (6) versus the XBR6 (4). In addition, the left and right placement of the speakers I believe improves the overall stereo effect as well.
3. Processing -- the 40" XBR7 has Digital Reality Creation (DRC) settings for 480i sources, which is great for handling standard cable upscaling. Once set, standard def. via cable looks quite good.
Picture-wise, from a high-def source like blu-ray, performance I would say are very similar between the two: both are stellar once calibrated. The XBR7 might have a slightly wider viewing angle (before the brightness gets washed out) than the XBR6, although this is just my personal experience and opinion.
The 40" XBR7 works best if you want a high-end tv for a small apartment or bedroom, watch a good amount of standard def material (in addition to high def), and don't need or have the space for a separate home theater system. From a pure value perspective, consider the XBR6 which is a great set as well. Hope this helps all those out there considering these two sets.
Calibration-wise, here is what I would recommend:
Use the XBR6 CNET settings which works wonderfully for the 40" XBR7 (Link: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...?tag=mncol;txt
Picture Mode: Cinema
Color Temperature: Warm2
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off
Advanced Settings menu:
Black Corrector: Off
Advanced C.E.: Off
Clear White: Off
Color Space: Standard
Live Color: Off (grayed out)
White Balance menu:
Motion Enhancer: Off
CineMotion: Auto 1
Game Mode: Off
Video/Photo Optimizer: Video
General Setup menu
Power Saver: Off
Light Sensor: Off
For DRC for a standard cable source, I am using this:
DRC: High Density
DRC Settings: Reality: 29 and Clarity: 9