So, just some thoughts from tonight (this pertains to my hopeful S64 purchase, I swear!)
I had the chance to play around with my parents' TV tonight (see an old review from 2006 here
), playing around with various games to see how ITS ABL functioned. Honestly, it didn't bother me at all. I calibrated the TV as best I could with my Disney WOW disc (wound up turning contrast way down...hard to see those 'barely visible' squares). I fired up some demos for a couple games - Flower, Uncharted 2, and the Unfinished Swan on PS3. The Unfinished Swan in particular was interesting - I could see how bright the screen got when there wasn't much white....and then saw the white get darker as more white was displayed. Seriously, it wasn't an issue at all for me. Actually, had the image stayed THAT bright, I may have been rubbing my eyes.
To bring this back to the S60 - if I was super fine with my parents' old TV, should I expect to be happy/blown away/disappointed with the S60/S64? I mean, this thing was from 2006...there's no way I'd think it would look better than the S60/S64, correct? My parents' TV obviously wasn't the greatest - seemingly no ability to turn Overscan off (or move the display at all), some very glaring gradation and banding on the PS3 home screen (not really annoying in gameplay). I have to wonder if my parents' TV would be closer to the S60's "Vivid" or "Cinema" mode. The Cinema mode in Sears' admittedly darker (IMO) showfloor did seem pretty dim. The actual picture though? Still looked pretty great, even at 1080i.
It's tough for me to predict if I'm going to find something with the S64 that really bothers me (big purchase for me). On the one hand, my parents' TV is pretty old. Watching hockey on it has never bothered me in the slightest, and I didn't even know what ABL was until I started researching TVs this past year. On the OTHER hand...I think they got this TV before all TVs had stricter Eco regulations. Perhaps the ABL on the S64 really is that bad?
Then again...the thing has almost a perfect rating on Amazon (the S60), so my gut tells me to just shut up, get this TV when I move out, and be happy with it