Sony 34XBR910 Reviews - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 423 Old 08-10-2003, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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How about having a new thread dedicated to reviews of the 910? Here goes my initial impressions. I was at Circuit City at SouthCenter in Seattle. Ran into another AVS reader and we tried to make a comparison with the 510 which was right next to the 910.

Our first impression was that the 510 was sharper. They were running their CC HD loop through the component inputs. When we "froze" the picture you could tell that the 910 had a finer pitch. For example, with the tiny letters in the logo for Circuit City, you could see more pixels in the dot over the i. However, the picture was no clearer. In fact, the letters on the 510 seemed brighter and sharper?

After adjusting both sets so that everything was the same except for the Brightness which we turned up on the 910, the picture on the 510 still looked more detailed. Of course, there might have been other factors involved but definitely the 910 did not blow away the 510, if anything the 510 was preferred.

Now, with respect to the case. I prefer the 510, 800 case. The 910 does not look like the picture. It looks like a "retro" design. The cheap flat black plastic curves up on the top. There is a small flat part on the top of the television but the smooth curve on the top makes the television look less modern. Compared to the 36 and 40 inch XBR's this face looks dull and too rounded for my tastes. The remote was identical to the 34XBR800.

Round 1 to the 510. Hopefully others will get to review this television using different sources. I'm not exactly sure what I was watching at CC since no one working there seemed to know for sure. HD tape?

Looking forward to reading other reviews.

Art in Seattle
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post #2 of 423 Old 08-10-2003, 10:36 PM
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I (being the other AVS reader artseattle is talking about) totally concur with the above statements. And knowing how hungry I have been for any info on the 34XBR910... here is what little I can muster.

Nothing I could do by ways of normal remote calibration made the 34XBR910 ($2399) look significantly better - or as good as - the 34HS510 ($1899) that was right beside it. With the same settings on both televisions, the 510 was brighter and the crispness of text was easily identifiable as being better than the 910. I spoke with two others besides artseattle who thought the same. The VIVID and STANDARD modes showed the most difference between the two sets - the 510 was better here. When in MOVIE and PRO modes the 910 seemed to hold its own. But I was waiting to be blown away. I was not. Yes, hopes were high and I'm sure there was no way of achieving the picture nirvana I was hoping for... but some significant difference was assumed.

I'm not bashing this set. It will most likely be the one I buy... but what warrants its $500 higher price tag than the 510 if there is no notice of its 'Super Fine Pitch CRT' in action? Granted it was in-store, and yadda yadda yadda... it was still not as good 'out of the box' as the 510 beside it. I'd like to see how DVDs and component video games fare on these two sets. The 510 and 910 respectively were the best looking TV sets at this Circuit City hands down. But shouldn't the 910 have easily been king of this castle?


As for the look of the unit... hmmmm. Yes... very retro. The front face frame 'blacknicity' makes focussing on the screen action easier - directing your eyes inward... but silver is cool. Oh well. Form over fashion, I suppose. Heavy beveling on the top front edge of the set could make sitting a center channel on top (depending on the width of the speaker) quite precarious. Luckily Sony has some nice thin center channels... coincidence? :)

Damping wires...

Three of them are visible, as with any other aperture grilled cheese sandwich. They are not more noticable than the XBR800's - rest easy. They are only noticeable on static light colored images - and then only if you are less than 3 feet from the screen.

They also did not have the corresponding Sony stand for the 910 yet - it was on a pretty nice generic stand, though.

My verdict...

Instead of buying it right away as I was planning, I'll be waiting for professional reviews to really get into the nuts and bolts of what makes it better and how a user can achieve this.

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post #3 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 07:39 AM
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Thanks for the early reports folks but I just have one quickie. Does the glare free coating help the set in anyway? Was it noticeably glare-free?

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post #4 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 08:00 AM
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The one big problem I have with the 40XBR800 is the glare. Hopefully the anti glare tube helps this, it is a pain on the XBR800's. I had to block off some curtains, and always have to make sure all light sources are off behind me before I can really watch anything seriously.
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post #5 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 09:00 AM
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Do either of the Sony 510 or 910 XBRs come with digital tuners? I understand that analog tuners are going away soon.
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post #6 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 09:04 AM
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post #7 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcc
Thanks for the early reports folks but I just have one quickie. Does the glare free coating help the set in anyway? Was it noticeably glare-free?
I didn't notice any glare whatsoever... although the conditions were not very conducive for glare to occur... some indirect lighting from overhead. Does the 510 have this anti-glare coating as well? Either way, there was no 'glaring' :) difference from the 910 in this Circuit City environment.

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post #8 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 09:30 AM
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For comparison pusposes, can someone with more knowledge than myself make a quick overview of the specs and relationships between the 800, 510 and 910? I can't get to Sony's site right now. This would help people choose among these sets.

Items to consider...
- Release date
- Tech Differences (Super Fine DP etc.)
- Inputs/Outputs
- Known problems (wont know about 910 for a while)
- Avg Price
- Pic quality comparisons
- Anything else useful :)
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post #9 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 12:03 PM
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Anti-glare coating:
The 34XBR800 has a very good anti-glare coating that (in my experience) made a world of difference under bright light conditions. No, it doesn't block out all glare ... but it diffuses the 'hot spots' out so you don't notice them (as much).

The 34HS510 I saw at Best Buy appeared to have the same coating.
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post #10 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 04:06 PM
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Can someone verify the dimensions of this set? CircCity's site has the following listed:

H: 39.1
W: 25.6
D: 23.9

http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.js...rk_6&oid=77412

Those can't be right!!
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post #11 of 423 Old 08-11-2003, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by z0dd
Can someone verify the dimensions of this set? CircCity's site has the following listed:

H: 39.1
W: 25.6
D: 23.9

http://www.circuitcity.com/detail.js...rk_6&oid=77412

Those can't be right!!
I think they have the width and height reversed. Go directly to Sony http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...ntentItemPage=
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post #12 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 09:50 AM
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So the 34XBR800 has some anti glare feature that the 40XBR800 does not have? I doubt that's true, but it's possible I guess. I'm pretty sure the 34XBR800, 36XBR800, and 40XBR800 are identical except for the dimensions of the screen. The 40XBR800 is definately anything but Anti-Glare. The only way glare isn't a problem for any of these XBR800 sets, is to put them in a setting where it's minimized in the environment. Unless the 34XBR800 has some sort of anti glare coating the 40XBR800 does not have.
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post #13 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 10:02 AM
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This question goes out to anyone that has seen this set. I really need to know if phosphor trailing/comet trails/phosphor delay, whatever you want to call it is present on this set. It has rendered my 34XBR800 completely unwatchable with many DVD's and several others have complained of similar phosphor trailing problems with that set. I believe I will be able to get Circuit City to do a swap but I will not bother and will try for a completely different set if the 910 suffers from these same problems...
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post #14 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 11:40 AM
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I didn't even know that CC southcenter is allready displaying it!! I'm going to have to go check it out for my self today!!
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post #15 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Chhuong, read the posted reviews carefully and see what you come up with. I never looked for the phosphor trails problem. Also, see if they will let you hook up a DVD player. Do you have one you could bring in? It would be easy to get to the back side. Also, maybe you can find out exactly what they are running. D-VHS?

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post #16 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 03:14 PM
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It could be that the 510, with its coarser pitch, is able to provide more contrast between adjacent pixels than the 910. Higher local contrast will make the image appear "sharper", even though the amount of detail is actually less.

The smaller pitch of the 910 means that the phosphors are excited for a shorter amount of time, by a smaller electron beam. It is difficult to create the same contrast level in this case.

This would explain why the 910, even though you observed more actual detail in the image, appears less sharp. There is enough contrast to show the detail, but not enough to define the detail strongly.

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post #17 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 06:00 PM
 
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That "sharper" comment sounds to me like VSM is on in the case of the 510, perhaps the 910 defaults with if off, which is better in any case.
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post #18 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 08:36 PM
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Well i had to go to work and didnt get a chance to check the posts, but i did check it out after work, and the 910 picture looked better to me but not by far, but with the settings setup exactly on both sets, the 910 was a little on the darker side, had to turn brightness up to match the 510. Then i went over to video only and checked out the toshiba hf83 30" and that to me blew away the sony xbr800. Video only said in a week they will get the 910 and 34 hf83!! So i'll wait for that comparison!! As for the 910 at circuit city i think they are recieving week signals, and video only is a nicer store more friendly. No one at circuit city was even willing to help since they are remodeling!!
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post #19 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 08:44 PM
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I have a 34XBR910 and have written a review. It will appear in the The Perfect Vision in Oct.

Sorry, due to contractual obligations I cannot provide details on the forum.

Let me add some basic information. As suggested, check the basic user settings on the demo set. Wrong settings such as overdriving the white level can blur the picture

Without knowing the quality of the store's distributed signal (and source material) it is impossible to determine if the one could properly compare two sets. Did you verify that the sets were on the 1080i input? (No insult intended) I have seen a number of HD sets at both CC and BB that are only connected with composite and/or RF modulation instead of component video @ 1080i.
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post #20 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 08:50 PM
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Did you review the 34XBR800?

What was the verdict there?

Will look forward to your 910 review. Hopefully it will draw out comparisons to the 800 and other brands?
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post #21 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 08:54 PM
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Gary, that is great news. I'm looking forward to reading the review. You articles are one of the reasons that I subscribe to TPV.

If it is the October 2003 issue, it should be in my mailbox any day now, right?

Thanks again.

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post #22 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 09:03 PM
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No, it is the November 2003 issue on sale around 10/15.
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post #23 of 423 Old 08-12-2003, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by uzun
So the 34XBR800 has some anti glare feature that the 40XBR800 does not have?
The 34XBR800 definitely has an anti-reflective coating. And unless I'm mistaken, the 34HS510 may as well. If you poke around for the specs I think they'll confirm this. My 34XBR800 has a deep scratch in the coating. It's like a thick layer of plastic bonded to the surface of the tube. If I wanted to, I could actually peel some pieces of it off.... but I won't. It's also very susceptible to abrasions unlike the glass surface of most CRTs.

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post #24 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 12:56 AM
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After seeing one in the flesh, I can now completely understand the kind of reactions folks here are having.

The picture is dimmer, and it does seem more akin to a widescreen computer display than a traditional TV. It is very detailed though. I was frankly a bit surprised how fine the RGB stripes were. At 5-6 feet, I can still see an impression of stripes/dots on my 34XBR800. On the 910 they fuse visually at ~2-3 feet. Quite an accomplishment. Whether or not this results in a "better" image will probably be a question of personal taste.

The support wires are a hair more visible on the 910 than on the 800. Since the picture on the 910 is so much smoother and detailed, the shadows(?) from the support wires are just better defined, and a bit easier to spot, again probably more akin to a Sony computer monitor. On the 800 they're a bit better hidden by the coarser stripe/dot pitch.

It was impossible to tell if they have any difference in terms of phosphor trails because the ambient light in the CC display area was so outrageously bright. The anti-reflective coating on the tube seemed to diffuse quite a bit of light completely destroying the blacks on the TV in this environment. For deep blacks and decent contrast, it'd have to be protected more from light like an RPTV. My guess is it'd be fine for nighttime viewing in a living room with an intelligent lighting arrangement. But it won't be as flexible and intense for daytime viewing as a brighter CRT. In this sense, I think it'd appeal a bit more to conoisseurs than average Joe/Jane TV viewers.

With a careful lighting scheme, the picture might have the potential to be rather sweet. I hope some stores get a clue on this soon.

I can also see what folks mean by the more plastic/retro styling. It wouldn't turn anyone's luxury accomodations into trailer trash. But it did flash me back to the Star Trek models I built as a kid. If the picture were brighter, I'd swear it ran on anti-matter. :)

I poked around in the service menu a bit too. Very similar to the 34XBR800. Noticed one new category though called LANDING?? I hope this doesn't mean it doubles as a Martian shuttle for NASA as well. :)

Anyway, enough with the fun, I'll leave the "designed by Area 51" quips for someone else. Uniformity looked pretty good across the screen. For folks who don't mind trading off some intensity for greater detail, with a DVI STB, and appropriate lighting, this thing might possibly acheive orbit. (Sorry :rolleyes: )

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post #25 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 06:30 AM
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Good news: A review is coming from The Perfect Vision on the xbr910 (mid october).

Bad news: We have to wait two months for it! That was a serious blow.

Looks like I could be like the dad that takes his son to circuit city each week to see "their tv" for a while.

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post #26 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 07:18 AM
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Not all Sony XBRs have the anti-glare coating. I know it's been mentioned multiple times in the 34 versus 36 threads that the 34 has it and the 36 doesn't.
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post #27 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by friedman232
Looks like I could be like the dad that takes his son to circuit city each week to see "their tv" for a while.
You know you're going to get it. Go ahead and get it. :)
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post #28 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 08:34 AM
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The surface of the 40XBR800's tube is very reflective. Any light sources in the room within it's view show up on the screen. I assumed all the XBR800's had similar characteristics. I'm pretty sure the 36" is the same, I can't recall scrutinizing the 34" model.
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post #29 of 423 Old 08-13-2003, 06:23 PM
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What are you people blind??? I just retuned from the upper east side CC and they finally brought out the 910 sitting right next to a 40xbr800. The 910 was simply awesome in detail. There’s no comparison. Who ever said that it was similar to the 510 must have been on drugs. I remember this type of HD screen back in 1994 when I was at Sony in Tokyo. Back then they had all this stuff but didn’t release it here because we’re just “dumb Americans†and didn't have a HD source…anyway I digress. I remember seeing the same type of HD display at the Sony Wonders museum here on 55St in Manhattan. Only they had small 15†screen display. That was at least 5 years ago.

The screen is truly HD. It looks like some of the HD flat panels where you can’t really see pixels. It almost looks like film. Trust me, you have to be blind not to notice the difference.

Unfortunately, this HD display, like the ones I saw in Tokyo and Sony museum, has a flaw. The flaw is that the contrast is not too great, that is, the difference between the white and black isn’t that great. I think the blacks are fine but the white mostly looks kind of gray. That could account for some of the remarks about the washed out look. I haven’t been back in Tokyo so I don’t know if they were able to fix this problem for CR tubes since the Japanese keeps the best equipment only for themselves. Somehow, I doubt it.

What I have noticed is that some of the HD flat panels have really good contrast along with the higher resolution that the 910 has. But it’s also 2 times the cost. So there you have it. I think I will spring for it later this year when the prices settle down a bit. If some of you think that somehow Sony will be able to fix this contrast problem I would say don’t hold your breadth. It would seem to me that after all these years after seeing the sets in Tokyo that they would be able to introduce it in the U.S. without the same problem unless of course the problem is inherent in CR tubes of this resolution. I’m beginning to suspect so. Anyone else been to Japan lately and had a look at their CRT HD TVs?

Oh, one more thing, the glare free coating really works. It looks so cool next to the 40xbr800 which had glare up the wazoo.

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post #30 of 423 Old 08-14-2003, 05:53 AM
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After careful scrutiny of the new 910 I have a few statements,

First of all everyone who is posting I understand you're concerns but you are missing something very real. Yes if you put the 910 next to the 800 or the 510 the latter are, for lack of a better term clearer. Now that is an initial reaction, but what becomes clearly noticeable after objectively looking at theses sets is that the 910 has the most film like, movie screen, or whatever else you want to call it I have ever seen!

The vertical scan lines at 3 feet are almost non existent! To prove this go to the display button on the remote and turn it on all sets, now look closely and you will see on the other sets, 800, 510 that where its says video 5, or 6, that its a broken image, where as on the 910 you have to get pretty close to it to see this.

Now let me say that I was in the same boat as most, I have a 40 and love it but too many problems, so the store is swapping for the 910.
when i first saw it i went OHH NO, I love my 40! However after realizing that the majority of what I watch is DVD, HD, then whatever my wife wants, in that order, I thought this set (910) had something special, That movie theater look!

I also got to see a TRUE HD, no not showtime, the PBS HD feed and it looked awesome.

Just some thoughts but above is right this is the first true HD set I have seen to this date, its just a whole new ball game for most of us, Play Ball!

Wake me when HD gets Here!
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