It appears this thread is moribund, but I'll post anyway on the chance that other interested parties are still lurking.
I just joined the club, having purchased a KDL-46HX729 to replace the 5-year-old KDL-32XBR4 in our master bedroom. Earlier this year I got a 55HX929 for the living room (replacing a 46XBR5) and was very happy with the added screen real estate. That led me to want to perform a similar upgrade for the bedroom. (Upgrade fever is a hard thing to overcome.)
I really didn't want anything larger than a 40" or 42" screen in the bedroom, but I couldn't find any sets in the U.S. market that met my requirements for picture quality, styling and reliability. I was planning to settle for the Panasonic TC-L42E60 when I spotted a "new, open-box" 46HX729 for sale by Video & Audio Center on Amazon for $848 shipped. It arrived expertly double-boxed in the original Sony shipping carton with all accessories in new or like-new condition. After a careful visual inspection, the only defect I could find was a small gouge on the stand; but since the TV will remain wall-mounted on my Sanus VM-400 articulating wall-mount, that was not a show-stopper for me. I first ran the self-check and to my delight found not only no errors but also zero panel hours (that's zero
as in "less than one") and only six previous boots. I ran the set through its paces, checking for clouding, flash-lighting, dead or stuck pixels or other anomalies. The only operational defect I could find was one stuck red pixel in the lower right quadrant. It is only visible to us from a distance of less than six feet and then only using certain color slides; from our normal viewing distance of about eight feet it is undetectable on a slide and virtually non-existent on video program material. Nonetheless, it was an undisclosed defect and so I asked for and received a $100 discount from Video & Audio Center, bringing the total cost down to $748. (BTW, our 55HX929 was likewise a heavily discounted "open-box" purchase from Newegg and arrived with one stuck pixel for which we received a $100 coupon. That pixel has since "magically" repaired itself and we can no longer spot it even on color slides.)
I've spent several hours over a period of two weeks calibrating this set and am very pleased with the results. I used the settings I had established for my 55HX929 (pretty much the same TV but with full-array back-lighting and local dimming) as a baseline, then ran the Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark BRD
to dial in the optimal settings. FWIW, here are my results:STANDARD with the following changes from the default:
Color Temperature: Warm 1
Live Color: Medium
Your results may vary depending on such factors as personal taste, ambient lighting, and possibly even a slight variance from set to set. But if you think you like the settings you are using and have not run a calibration disk, I would strongly recommend that you do so to see what you may be missing. For me, the biggest aid in dialing in accurate settings are the S&M PLUGE
, and Clipping
patterns. You might be surprised how much detail you are missing until you play with the settings using these images.
All in all, I am highly pleased with the HX729. I knew that I would be unhappy with any picture engine less than the X-Reality Pro, and both the 55HX929 and 46HX729 deliver what to my eye is a superb HD picture from all sources. All the other features (3D, wireless networking, etc.) are nice to have but extraneous for my purposes. For anyone still looking to get one, V&AC still has at least two sets listed on Amazon, one new ($1,048) and one "open box" ($848).