I found a Best Buy in my area that carries the KDL-46HX850, amongst other models, including Panasonic and Samsung plasma displays. So I did some comparing and auditioned the HX850.
Honestly, I really felt the plasma displays were too limited in brightness for my taste, not to mention there are not too many available in a 46" size, which is what I'm limited to on my TV stand.
I demoed the HX850 watching Star Trek (2009). I was sold on that model as far as picture quality goes. They also had a XBR-46HX929 there, but I noticed some of the screen uniformity and blooming issues that some reviews have mentioned (CNet, Television Info, etc), plus I don't like the fact that manufacturers are forcing people away from analog (like this model for example), when it is not dead yet, so the HX929 is out. From what I have read, the HX909 from 2010 is better as far as uniformity and blooming goes, although the 3D isn't quite as good. But I wonder if the picture quality would be similar to the HX850?
The price tag is also part of my final decision, and the HX909 is available used in excellent condition on Ebay for $1150 with shipping (with a $140 optional warranty), but the HX850 is $1688 new with a manufacturer warranty. I also just tripped over a posting on Craiglist for an HX850 for $800, but this is only if the seller is willing to ship. I know the HX850 would be the way to go if the seller will ship.... but if he doesn't, which would you go for?
The HX929 is far superior to the HX909 and the HX850. You cant trust Best Buy to have any of these models setup correctly. You should adjust the settings yourself in the store, try the owners thread for specific settings.
Not sure what you mean by manufacturers pushing consumers away form analog, what is still in analog? Also not sure why someone would sell a HX850 for only $800 on Craigslist since the HX850 is $1699 everywhere, sounds like a scam.
Not to move the focus of this thread away from the subject at hand, but there has been a trend of manufacturers removing analog connectivity on a lot of TV sets lately.... even higher end sets. I have some analog sources using either composite or component video I would need the option to plug in without some adapter dangling off the back of the set. It's just a matter of preference for me. The 929 is out in my opinion from that perspective alone, and from the reviews I have read concerning some aspects of picture quality. I obviously can't take the TV home with me to audition, so I do have to look them over at stores, even if the viewing conditions aren't right. If you feel the 929 is far superior to the 909 and the 850, then that's your opinion and I respect that. But I do not plan on purchasing one myself.... it's simply not for me and I can get a better deal (equating to value) with the other two models.
Which goes back to my original question... which model would you choose between the two? The 909 or the 850?
If the Craiglist is a scam, then so be it. I haven't heard back from the owner yet (if I do at all).
I would go with the HX850 since it is a current model, not sure where you are getting your HX929 info from but the owners thread is full of praise. The local dimming edge LED on the HX850 seems to do a very good job but still wont hold a candle to the HX909 or HX929.
what's the difference if you have to plug an analog piece of equipment directly into the back of the TV versus into a small breakout adapter attached to the tv? The source will be displayed either way. You said you had a TV stand, so i would assume that you aren't mounting it, so what what would a tiny dangling adapter hinder you from doing? You're free to do what you want, but IMO that's a pretty silly reason for not choosing the set with the superior PQ. When buying a premium display, the picture quality should matter the most. While the HX850 is no slouch, the HX929 is clearly better.
As far as reviews, television info is a joke. They are not serious reviewers and they do not know how to properly calibrate a tv. The settings they use are worse than those used in any Best Buy showroom. If you back and re-read their hx929 review, you'll see they purposely reviewed it with local dimming turned OFF.
It may seem like a silly reason, but when you have two children in the house, a funny looking dangling breakout adapter can be a tempting "toy" for them to snatch and lose. It's not just the reasons I've mentioned above, it's also the dollar factor as well. I really don't want to spend $2500 on a TV. There's a HX909 on Ebay for $1150 with shipping and an optional $140 warranty for it. I can also get a HX850 for $1450 + $50 warranty and free shipping.... which to me, those dollar amounts add much more value (especially where picture quality is concerned), which is the bottom line between these two models and the reason why I'm asking for advice for only these two models. I need to know which is the better deal. I'm leaning toward the HX850, but if the HX909 produces a better picture (which I have yet to see), I will go with that model. I need to know soon or I may miss out on a great deal.