Originally Posted by cyberook
Here's my initial impressions - keep in mind that I don't consider myself a serious AV aficionado by any stretch of the imagination and I haven't done any calibration.
After taking it out of the box, it requires two people to place it onto the stand and then it is screwed to the stand with the four included screws.
Power and minimal control buttons are on the right hand side. I/O is on the left hand side and left rear - 2 HDMI each. However, they didn't set the left side I/O panel in far enough as beefy HDMI cables may stick out a tad.
Upon initial power-on, it took a while to "boot" and get to the language screen. I actually had enough time to look in the manual to read what to expect. Further boots were fast - much faster than my XBR1.
The setup wizard had 22 steps, however I skipped most of them as I am not using the tuner (stupid Comcast) and I don't have internet access readily available (no nearby cable and USB Wireless not included).
The picture quality is fantastic, IMHO. The HD picture is very crisp and sharp, perhaps too sharp as I feel it overemphasizes the pixel interpolation of SD imagery. You can test the PQ with the included HD pictures, but I'm sure that's why Sony included them.
The color is also fantastic, but I'm coming off of an XBR1 with a yellow screen (bad Optical Block), so any reasonably correct color looks great.
The black level is pretty decent. The first Blu-Ray I popped in (via my PS3 over HDMI) was Bladerunner - Final Cut (my all-time favorite movie). During the initial credits, the black was solid and uniform. There was no discernable light bleed. However, I usually watch movies with the TV backlighted. With all the lights off, the black of the screen looked grey in comparison to the black frame. I don't recall the blacks being that grey on my XBR1, but then again, the XBR1 had that iris technology. As part of a whole image, the blacks look fine in comparison to the colors.
We followed Bladerunner with The Dark Knight and Ultraviolet (my guilty pleasure). Both Blu-Ray and both looked fantastic.
The skin tones on the newscasters this morning looked a bit "ashen", so I'll probably have to fiddle with the reds.
The audio leaves something to be desired. I believe the speakers are located in the bottom, facing downward. We had to crank the volume up to get a reasonable audio level above background noise. On the XBR1, it was usually a "10-12" or about 1/6th of the volume bar. On the HX701, it's "30-35", almost half the bar. I know it's relative, but I'm guessing Sony expects you to output the audio to a home theatre system. The volume out can be set to variable or fixed via the settings menu.
When switching channels and inputs, the info display is placed against a black bar that starts at the top and fades into the picture. The volume slider looks like a cool little blue comet.
It has a pseudo-PIP, in that you can display PC input alongside other inputs. At least, that's what one of the menus tell me.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this television.