There's been a lot of bashing of the XBR970 product to make it sound like crap, which I doubt that it will. I do agree that it is misleading to label the set an XBR set, especially when the previous model kills it. But they are asking a much smaller dollar amount, so it's not all bad.
Over two years ago when I bought my 34XBR910, I really debated between it and the non-XBR model. I mean, until then, the old XBR tube was the HS series tube. I remember seeing the first 34" XBR tube at The Wiz for $9,999 and being amazed at the picture quality. The 34HS410 is essentially the same set, just much less expensive. I couldn't believe that no matter how great that picture was, that Sony was able to come out with the SFP and increase the quality that much. I was really stuck, but when I bought my set I had a great deal on the XBR, and at that time it came with the matching stand for free (which I was going to purchase anyway), making the price only $150 more for the XBR. Natually I went for it.
I guess I'm just trying to say that the XBR970 isn't going to be garbage, just not as good as the XBR910/960. For what people are going to be paying for it, I'm sure that they will be getting their money's worth.