The wait is finally over, my 70" Elite was delivered and wall mounted yesterday. The installer asked me how high I wanted it, and I think I put it 6-12" too high. I had done some measurements based on the av cabinets I was looking at but had a brain bubble and mis-remembered the dimensions! lol I was also trying to leave a little room for the center channel to go on top of the unit. Be that as it may, out of the box I thought the picture was great. It was daytime when it first went on the wall, which made the blacks look really super dark. I was tired and forgot to test some letterbox materials after it got dark last night. But here are some observations:
(As a preface let me say I had looked at this TV probably 20-30 times in Best Buy but could not really get a good grasp of its real world performance as they had no OTA feed, cable or anything else. Twice they put in Blu-rays for me, but neither was a good quality disc that could really let me know how the set would perform, and who knows what the settings on that tv were. My girlfriend got to the point that when we went into Best Buy she would go right to Magnolia and sat in the home theater seat in front of the Elite and waited for me because she knew I was headed there.
1) I love the feel of the remote. The positive feedback from the buttons is excellent. However, the TV seems to be finicky in that the remote needs to be pointed directly at the tv in a straight line, or often it does not work. The remote is also not programmable to run anything over than Pioneer/Sharp components. Not a huge flaw, but disappointing at this price point. It makes all those dedicated buttons at the top useless.
2) Also disappointing at this price point was no microfiber cleaning cloth included with the TV. We (the installers and I) searched the box and the styrofoam. Then I looked in the manual and saw it was not listed in the contents. The installers got fingerprints on the screen which are still there because I was not about to touch the screen with anything until I was sure how to do so without damaging the screen.
3) The blacks are really black. This is not something I usually pay attention to. This tv replaced a rear-projection Toshiba 56H80, and it was never really an issue on that tv because I always had some ambient light in the room, or even the overhead lights dimmed some. Or maybe it had good blacks. All I know is the other night I was watching my Samsung PN50C8000 in the bedroom with all the lights off, and realized the letterbox areas were black/grey. With the Elite, when the tv first powered up, the little menu instructions were white, but the rest of the screen was so black it looked like it was off. Even the installer remarked on the blackness of the blacks. This was his first Elite install, and I think he was impressed.
4) Scanning for channels was painfully slow. I know I only have to do this once, but wow. As a corollary, the "eliminate scrambled channels" process was also very slow.
5) Changing channels is really really slow. I mean really slow. I think it is tuner related, and see #4.
6) Picture quality on OTA HD material is, for the most part, just excellent. I had recorded the closing Olympic special (all three hours) on my DVR and had not watched it yet. I turned that on, and some of the footage blew me away. Oddly, some of the cuts to Bob Costas and Al Michaels were not great. Very "contrasty" is the only way I can describe it. Like there was a film over the tv screen. I'm sure its just settings as I only turned the 120Hz setting to low and turned off the Mpeg noise reduction and turned off film mode.
7) Picture quality on SD material was mediocre at best, and poor at worst. Even HD broadcasts of SD material was on the not-so-good side. Fortunately I do not watch much, if any SD. I am concerned about the PQ of my Wii, which I did not have a chance to hook up yet. I am doubtful it will be good. I am hoping the 480P setting will look decent.
8) Netflix looked very good. I started with Star Trek Insurrection (which was in the middle as I was watching it over the weekend). It is (imho) a good DVD transfer, but Neflix lists it as an HD movie. It had a shaky start, as I turned it on before the TV was on the wall, ok it was still in the box bottom, (I was setting up the internet) and the picture was fairly bad. This can happen with Netflix, for a variety of reasons, including compression and how good the connection is. Likewise, Pawnstars did not look so great. However, after getting the unit on the wall, and turning off the features noted above, Star Trek looked very very good. Pawnstars, also looked decent. Also, I took a quick look at Sherlock, and it really looked terrific as well. I watch a lot of Netflix, and this pleased me. I later watched part of True Grit (the remake) and again an excellent picture. I was using the Netflix app built into the Elite.
9a) Next I hooked up my PS3. The PS3 immediately knew it was not connected to the Toshiba anymore and asked me if I wanted to use the HDMI cable (which I already was). I said yes. The Elite knew it was connected to a PS3 and changed the input label to say PS3. Kinda cool. Apparently the PS3 ouputs everything at 1080p, even DVDs, something my Samsung blu ray player does not do. So it may have skewed my results if it was upconverting the DVD I tested - Fifth Element. I don't own it on Blu-Ray, or I would have done a comparison test. The picture was very very good. I will not have to throw my DVD collection away.
9b) Blu-Ray of course was excellent. I watched the opening scenes of Batman Begins and The Watchmen. Who knew my PS3 could look that good. As an aside, it was interesting to me that the controls on the PS3 are different when watching a Blu-Ray as opposed to a DVD.
9c) Last test for the PS3 was I popped in Skyrim. Boy was I in for a surprise. The difference between the 56 in, eye level Toshiba, and the 70" high mounted Elite was unbelievable. First, the picture was great. I jumped down off a high wall and actually got dizzy. lol Immersive is the only word I can use to describe it. The 56H80 had a lot of overscan, which I corrected as best I could. But with the Elite I was clearly getting all of the picture info. I know it is probably unfair to compare a 10 year old TV to the Elite, but keep in mind I also have a 2 year old Samsung 50c8000 plasma in the bedroom which has a terrific picture. The Elite is much better.
At this point, less than 24 hours in, there remains a lot to be seen. And obviously tweaking the settings, etc will be important to improve the SD picture quality (I honestly think the HD quality can't get much better). Looking forward to the NFL on Sunday to really see how this set handles fast motion.
Suggestions on cleaning the fingerprints from the installers off the screen would be welcome, as would general advice and comments.
P.S. I knew I forgot something. The screen of this set is SUPER reflective. I think BB is careful to have it in a fairly dark area. I have dimmable overheard lights, and the glare was remarkable, even when the lights were almost completely off.. When bright content was on the screen it became much less notable, but any dark scene and it was very obvious. I knew the windows behind my seating position were a problem, as they were a problem with the Toshiba RPTV, and the current blinds make those very tolerable. Drapes will probably completely eliminate that problem from those windows.Edited by DarrenK - 9/18/12 at 1:10pm