Well, I finally got my HL50A650 replacement set from Best Buy yesterday. SO far, so good, but I'm not overly impressed. There is basically no quality difference between this model and my HLR5078. If anything, the 5078 might have been a nod better.
On the 5078, the SSE was barely noticeable at all. on the A650, it is very noticeable in a dark room with a brightly light scene (lots of sky, or fields of white). It's not as bad when the room is lit. I think it is much worse than on the 5078.
I think the focus is off slightly, so I may try to dig into doing the ring focus tonight to see if I can improve it a little.
Geometry was good. Less than 1/8" SAG across the top and a smidge under 1/4" hourglassing on 4:3 material.
For my settings, I used most of what others used here (Movie, Warm2, sRGB, Gamma -3, etc.). After running DVE HD and adjusting several times, I finally ended up with:
Contrast of 85
Technically, noise disappeared from black at brightness 44, but blacks still looked too washed out, so I bumped it down a couple of notches (just until the BTB bars disappeared). This greatly improved black level to me with only very minor loss of shadow detail.
I could also increase contrast all the way up to 100 and my white bar test pattern never blended. However, the eye strain was huge. Also, I detected a red push to the gray scale. The red push didn't disappear until I hit 89. I have a D6500K reference light, and I used that to further adjust contrast until 100% white appeared to match my D6500K reference, which took me down to 85.
Honestly, sharpness didn't appear to do anything. 0,10, 20, I couldn't see a difference. On my old set, it was set to 0 by Avical, so I chopped it in half to 10 on this set, and may run it down to zero eventually.
My blue color filter showed that color was off just a smidge.
I left it at G50/R50 for now, because I was experiencing too much eye fatigue at this point. Watching some demo material, I think I detected a slight smidge of green push, so once my eyes are rested, I will go back with my color filters and probably end up at G49 or G48, and may need to readjust color then.
But with these settings, I couldn't tell much of a difference between my Avical calibrated 5078 and this unit (other than a slightly soft focus). The only other thing I may try is adjusting the contrast down a little. I never experienced any eye fatigue from extended bright white scenes on my 5078 after calibration, but on the A650, it was bugging my eyes last night.
Of couse, I had just spent two hours looking at test patterns and reference lights, so I am going to revisit it a little tonight with fresh eyes.