I went to Circuit City in Sunnyvale, CA and was able to connect my MacBook Pro to a 46-inch Bravia XBR2. My goal was to test the deinterlace capabilities of the television and look at the general quality using HD content from Apple's web site using Front Row.
I used a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core Duo T2500 clocked at 2 GHz running Mac OS X v10.4.7. I have 2 GB RAM and the computer came with the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 and 256 MB of VRAM.
I connected the notebook to the TV using a Monster DVI to HDMI cable. The Mac immediately saw the TV when I woke the notebook and knew the TV was a Sony at 1920 by 1080. Initially the TV cut off the menu bar at the top and most of the Dock at the bottom of the image. I corrected this by setting the Sony to Full Pixels. I had to leave the overscan option in the Display System Preference for the TV turned on. If I turned off overscanning from the MacBook, the TV displayed as inset image.
The first thing I do when looking at Sony TVs is to set the picture mode to Standard and immediately reset the settings to the default values using the Reset menu. I'm looking for the "out-of-the-box" experience knowing that I can adjust the picture to my tastes later.
Having looked at the same HD content from Front Row connected to a 60-inch SXRD A2000, I was very curious how the Bravia XBR2 would compare. One of my favorite personal tests is the Cars trailer. On the A2000 the red of Lightning McQueen looked sickly over saturated. I wasn't sure if it was the TV or a byproduct of content intended to be viewed on a computer display.
Things were very different on the XBR2. The red looked much more to my liking and as I remember it from the film. I was very impressed with the greens. The scene in the trailer in which Lightning goes into the cacti looked especially good. All of the HD content I brought looked very life-like. The Roving Mars trailer and the BBC Motion Gallery-Japan were probably the best. Of course animation like Ratatouille always looks good in HD. For my own set, I would tweak the colors slightly less saturated.
One of the nice side benefits of using Front Row on a Mac is that the DVD playing software seems to be a very good replacement to an upscaling DVD player. The software knows how to scale the DVD video image from the original 480 vertical lines up to whatever output device the software is targeting, be it a 12-inch iBook to a 30-inch Cinema Display. Also, any Mac with optical audio output should just pass the sound data to the receiver.
I agree with previous posters that plain text, especially at small sizes, doesn't look that good. I noticed it most for white text on black and vice versa. I also looked at some high quality Keynote presentations. The graphics that made up the presentation looked stellar. The text in the presentation looked a little edgy up close, but from about 9 feet it looked fine. Small text from an application like a text editor never really looked that good at any distance.
One of the major deficits for me of LCD and plasma televisions is the screen-door effect (SSE). I can usually see it easily from about 4 feet from the screen and have always noticed a graininess to the image displayed by older flat-panels. This is what drove me to consider the SXRD TVs. While there is very slight SSE from the Bravia it is indiscernible at about 1 foot from the screen.
I intended to test the Bravia's ability to deinterlace video using VLC and following I found in post 87 of the "New Sony A2000" thread (The site won't let me post a link as this is my first posting). When I displayed the test patterns on the Bravia, everything looked perfect! Another customer was watching me and asked if I could connect the MacBook to one of the new Samsung LCD TVs, I don't know which model exactly, but one of the Bravia's competitors.
After connecting to the Samsung, I noticed that the Display System Preference listed the resolution at 1920 x 1080 (interlaced). I had not noticed that on the Bravia. What I ultimately found out is that when the MacBook Pro was connected to the Samsung there was no way for me to specify a 1080p resolution. For the Bravia, there was no way for me to specify a 1080i resolution.
Not being able to send a 1080i signal to the Bravia made my deinterlacing test moot. I hope someone in this forum will run the tests linked above on the Bravia. By the way, the Samsung did not seem to handle the deinterlace test properly although I could not figure out how the get the Samsung and MacBook combination to display 1 for 1 pixels.
I was only able to produce 1080p, 720p, 480p, and 480i television resolutions using the MacBook Pro with the Bravia. Once I realized what was going on with the resolutions, I set the MacBook to output a 480p signal. This time I confirmed the signal using the display button on the TV's remote. Then I watched some of my older QuickTime content that has an original resolution of 640 horizontally. Such content was very watchable.
The only thing concerning me about this TV is the macroblocking that AndrewScott has experienced. I did not see display anomalies that looked anything as bad as what he points out. The 40-inch Bravia on the wall with all the other LCD TVs was the best of the bunch. It was being fed Discovery HD through components. It too did not display any anomalies.
If there's anything I should have been on the look out for, let me know what that might have been and I'll see if I can recall seeing it.
I'm really close on this purchase. Gotta have it in time for the Texas vs. Ohio State game.