Originally Posted by 8IronBob
Would that also be what is responsible for the deinterlacing and pulldown features that Sony's been known to shine on during the past generations of Bravia sets?
I doubt it highly. Over the past two years there have been very few sets that have passed the 1080i film deinterlacing tests. The Samsung 71/81 did not pass until a firmware upgrade I believe. And even then it was only in a certain mode...which technically (according to HQV) is a fail, because the TV is supposed to natively detect the cadence and lock into film mode. Even when it passed some reviews noted the 71 evinced "light strobing", which is also supposed to be a fail from the documentation that comes with the HQV disc.
Anyhow, a quick look at the top 5 TV lists from last year reveals that several models accross different technologies couldn't deinterlace film content properly. That includes the Panny Z700u, Mits 144, XBR4, Sammy 65/61, as well as the top 2 rear projection models. I believe of last year's models the ones to pass with flying colors were the Sharp D64u (which had other signficant issues of it's own) and the Pioneer Elites. Note that almost all of these models deinterlace 1080i video content properly, it's just the film content that is a struggle. If you have a blu-ray player and a 1080p TV, then the only time you'd be viewing 1080i film content is on certain Cable/Satellite TV channels with certain shows. It may be the minority of content, but I'm not sure.
This year I would expect each manufacturer to step up their level of onboard deinterlacing/processing, but it's likely that with much thinner margins on each new line of TVs they are assuming the cost/benefit factor is not there, as most consumers will never know or care. Hell, even mid-to-high end AVRs aren't able to deinterlace 1080i film content properly. The reality is it's hard to notice a difference either way, but I would expect any high end models to be able to do this properly from now on.