First, let me say how much I appreciate the AVS Forum and the information all of youhave posted. It is an invaluable service. Many thanks to all of you.
After 2 years researching and comparing, wife and I finally purchased the 4671 from cc Aug 27. We were ready to purchase the XBR2 last Fall, but thanks to the AVS forum on clouding, we didn't, thank goodness! We were ready to purchase the LNT4665f by Spring, but didn't because of the early HDMI problems. We were still waiting for a June or later build for the 4665 in our area when the 71 series came out, and because the initial reviews on AVS we decided at last to make the plunge. Couldn't be more satisfied. This set is incredible.
When we went to cc to pick up our unit (a mere 4 hour drive away...we live in the middle of nowhere!) we had a good chance to compare the 4671 with an XBR4. They had the two sets in a fairly dark corner with both of them set on ESPNHD. They were both calibrated well, and both set on dynamic mode, and although not side by side, they were only about 15 feet apart, making a decent comparison possible. After 20 minutes of walking back and forth we both came to the same conclusion, to us they looked identical. Both very impressive. Picked up our unit, and after another 4 hour drive, arrived home in time to plug it in.... Absolutely amazing.
Experiences So Far
We have had Dish Network for many years because other than satellite there is no TV reception here. Saturday we were upgraded to DishHD with a 622 DVR receiver, our old unit was a DP311T receiver. We have also just purchased an Oppo 981HD upconverter.
Because of various AVS forum posts, particularly on the XBR4 thread, and numerous personal past experiences in the big box stores comparing HD to SD Direct TV reception, we were prepared for a less than impressive experience in looking at SD. However, after a week of flipping through the channels I can say that while some channels are better than others, depending on the source material, overall the standard definition is good, in many cases very good. In fact, on some material the picture is so good, we keep asking ourselves if it is really just SD. Have found that the PQ will also vary considerably on a single channel as the source material changes, particularly between various commercials. In our opinion there is no comparison with the PQ you see from the SD satellite feed in the big box stores with what we are getting on our own unit; much, much better.
Find that standard mode right out of the box was best for us for SD with a little tweaking up and down on the contrast, brightness, and backlight depending on the source material and whether we are watching with the lights on or off.
Overall, HD on our 4671 is excellent; ranging from very good to stunning, again depending on the source material. Really like the VOOM channels, whose PQ are exceptionally good, with the Equator, Rush, Ultra, and Gallery channels offering up material that you would swear was 1080p coming off of HD-DVD or BluRay. Watch most HD in standard mode, occasionally using movie mode for some HD movies. Again, like SD, the default settings seem to be very good most of the time with a little tweaking here and there depending upon the source material and whether we are watching with a lighted or darkened room.
Decided to get the Oppo 981HD upconverter based on AVS and other reviews. Will probably pick up a HD-DVD player when the new models come out.
We first popped in regular DVD of the first Pirates of the Caribbean, and the results were outstanding. Totally satisfied; if I didn't know it was an upconverted DVD, I would have sworn it was HD. Managed to view two more movies before the remote quit. Both movies upconverted beautifully like POTC. Called Oppo and they put a new replacement remote in the post the same day. Will be testing further over the weekend.
Use movie mode for the Oppo, as we always watch movies in total darkness. Default settings seem very good, with just a little tweaking of contrast and brightness depending on the movie.
Blank screen with no source material is even black with no clouds or mura. Very slight lightening of screen in extreme top right and left corners, but not enough to be considered flashlights They are only visible in totally darkened room and never while watching source material. Lowering backlight and brightness essentially eliminates them, but they do not interfere with viewing in any way.
Have had no problem with PQ noise that some have reported, and in watching the tennis and football channels in HD do not see any doubling or blurring of balls in motion. Just a thought could the doubling, tripling or blurring of balls in motion be related to either the cable or satellite set top box people are using? Perhaps a poll of what people are using vs. those problem?
Default color is great, very lifelike and natural. Blacks are as black should be with none of the gray haze I have seen on other units.
Never use Dynamic mode; too gaudy for us!
Have Auto Motion Plus mostly in Off, but for fast action movies change to Low. Have experienced no motion problems at all; nice and smooth.
Glossy screen is not a problem for us. We like the added sharpness and enhanced blacks it gives. During the day when there are reflections on the screen from either windows or lights in the room when the set is turned off, we notice all but the very brightest cannot be seen when the set is turned on.
Hope this is of some use to those of you out there contemplating a purchase. And, thanks to all of you Forum members out there; you have made this purchase a much more enjoyable experience than it might have been!