I was at Magnolia yesterday and got to see the 46HX701 next to an 46xbr8. I had to stand about 20-25 feet away and in the center of the two sets just to avoid off axis washout, but my observations:
-The xbr8 is a matte screen vs. the glossy of the HX701.
-With the dim lighting of Magnolia, the glass/front filter makes blacks appear darker than on the xbr8 with little ambient light. Depth of black was incredible on the HX701.
-detail was sharper on the HX701.
- HX701 couldn't get as contrasty as the xbr8 due to a lower peak light output, although they didn't have the remote to the HX701 and it was definitely in a different mode- possibly standard or cinema, but not in vivid. Lowering the light output of the xbr8 would have made this a non-factor.
-This glass/filter makes this set look Kuro black. I have no doubt Sony has lowered the idle luminance, improving blacks during dark/night scenes, since this set was equaling and surpassing the reigning Sony champ with low level lighting.
-This is the best looking ccfl I have ever seen. In fact, I forgot it was ccfl, since it smoked the Samsung and Panasonic plasmas in the showroom, too. I viewed the set under different conditions last time, and it didn't look as good as the plasmas, yet the backlight/peak light output was jacked up so high, it was a light box.
-While the HX900 and HX800 will no doubt achieve greater black levels, we're getting to a point of diminishing returns, where you'd have to be looking for these things to a greater extent than watching content.
"If you weren't such an ignorant troll, you'd be adorable" -rogo