OK, here we go. I have finally transitioned into the Digital HD age with the purchase of my Sammy 5296 which I picked up from the BB warehouse (preferred to pick it up as opposed to free delivery). I would like to provide all of you with the unvideophile-like assessment of my experience.
My choices were either the Sony 52 XBR or the Sammy 5296 for my brightly lit room facing south. I went with the Sammy for several reasons...I went to ABT and performed a direct visual comparison where I found the Sony and the Sammy extremely comparable. It's one of those things where you turn your head left and right over and over again. (If you have to turn your head back and forth more than 10 times it means that the sets are pretty much equal) and you come to the conclusion that the Sony has a very slight edge (black level). So you ask yourself if the 2K+ price difference for the Sony is worth it. Not to mention that the Sammy was available, is more esthetically appealing, and has some features that the Sony doesn't.
Our viewing distance is approximately 10' feet where HD programming comes in wonderfully (especially football games, incredibly clear), while SD is acceptable or good. I don't have nearly the same concerns on a medium that is being phased out such as SD, although I believe the SD image is more of an issue if you are sitting very close to the screen.
But the thing that really made me swing toward the Sammy was reading that the Sony XBR message boards, to what they referred to as clouding. I call it light leak; since it appears that the back-lit display lamp bleeds through the screen in certain areas. The Sony and Sammy displays are built at the same factory but it seems that the Sony XBRs are experiencing much greater levels of it (Check out some of the pictures posted on the Sony XBR boards).
That was it, why pay 2K more for a TV with such a wide spread problem while Sammy boards were lacking in this type of commentary, everyone focused on expressing concern over scan of 2% issues (which I have no problem with, even when I compared to the Sony where over scan was evident on the ABT showroom floor).
Setting up the screen was problem free as expected, the picture quality as expected. No issuesexcept in the upper left I get the light bleeding through (only in this location). It's not a problem during the day because it blends with the rest of ambient room light's diffused glare. But at night it glows like Casper the friendly ghost.
The TV has everything I want in a1080p system. I am concerned that if I exchange this one, the next one will be the same or worse. Sony is not an option since they are having more serious problems with ghosting. If it wasn't for this one area (where I cannot take my eye off) during dark scenes in a dark room, this set would be perfect. What to do??? Decisions.. Decisions.
PS- have ruled out Plasma.