Finally doing a bit of a video upgrade, and my XBR960 is involved.
I've got an old 35" Mits CS35803 (ca. 1994) built into my bedroom wall, from when I originally did the decorating for this room. The original TV in that wall enclosure was an original first-generation 35" (CK-3501) from 1986 which got given to a friend when I moved back to LA from Dallas in 2002 and brought my CS35803 with me.
At the same time of the 2002 return from Dallas I also brought my very first HDTV with me, a superb Sampo SME-34WHD5. That set lasted two years in LA until the picture tube died and it was impossible to be repaired (Sampo had stopped selling in the US, and parts were unavailable).
So in 2004 to replace the dead Sampo I bought my 34XBR960 brand new (and got involved in tweaking and setup), got a "magnet job" on the picture tube (which is the only way to correct certain curvatures and bowing of what are supposed to be straight lines) because Sony's tech's (who visited me twice) could not correct it with the service menu so I had to arrange for my own private "qualified" service tech at Sony's expense, and have enjoyed an absolutely superb and stunning picture from this set ever since.
So the bedroom has had two TV's in it since 2002: (1) the CS35803 4:3 SD CRT in the wall, and (b) the XBR960 16:9 HDTV CRT on an entertainment cabinet off to the right. The Mits essentially gets no use any longer, and in fact actually had to undergo service for its audio system which had died because of aging, leaking capacitors due to infrequent use.
Ok. Last weekend I had an opportunity to visit Video and Audio Center (in Santa Monica) specifically to see for myself the new Sony 4K UltraHD 84"
set (priced at $25,000) which was on display, showing the special 4K demo loop Sony had produced for it. I also compared it to the competitive 4K LG UltraHD 84"
set (around $19,000) which was also on display. It really was no contest, with both quite stunning but the Sony far and away superior... astonishing, actually. Of course it could be the demo loop produced by Sony that I was really comparing, as the LG demo wasn't all that impressive.
Anyway, while I was in the store I got to browse around looking at other large flatpanels which I might consider somehow installing in/on my bedroom wall to replace that old 35" Mits antique that never gets used now. I looked at quite a number of sets in the 55" and 65" (and even 70") size, from various different manufacturers... including the so-called latest and greatest state-of-the-art Sony XBR HX-950 LCD/LED (in both 55" and 65" sizes).
Well, to be honest, I was not impressed. As we all know, the larger the screen the worse "low-resolution" images look. 1080p will look good, but 1080i or 720p will not really look great (especially with low bitrate highly compressed cable channels). And of course watching 480i on a large screen is tragic. In particular, I really was not impressed with the Sony HX-950's overall performance, including the 3D demo.
Very tough to beat the picture (in my mind, anyway) of the XBR960. I know, not really a fair comparison of a 34" CRT vs. 65" LCD, but if I was going to do an upgrade I wanted it to be a real upgrade.
Then I decided to look at plasma sets. I've never owned a plasma and I've never even really looked at one carefully for possible ownership. But I'm now a convert, and have decided to go ahead and finally replace my 35" Mits with a plasma, not an LCD/LED.
And the winner is: Panasonic TC-P65VT50
Truly stunning, even the floor model in the store which has not had an official ISF calibration. I brought my own BluRay demo discs to try (instead of just watching the store content or local TV channels) and it was stunning.
I've got a custom installer from the store coming out tomorrow to discuss installation plans, and how this large set might be mounted AGAINST the wall (rather than IN the wall) since I don't really want to do any demolition or remodeling. But I will be buying it this week.
Ok... which brings me to the XBR960 involvement with the story.
As part of my installation of the 65VT50 I'm going to have a professional ISF calibration done, I've now gotten in touch with four "nationally regarded" ISF calibrators who will be in the LA area in January/February and who could do that job on the 65VT50 then. Haven't decided yet who to commit to.
And... I'm also going to finally have my XBR960 professionally ISF calibrated at the same time. All of these pros say they either (a) own an XBR960 of their own, and/or (b) have done many calibrations for them. So I'm going to let them do the Sony as well as the Panasonic as long as they're here.
My plan is to let them take "VIVID" as their setup (rather than PRO, which I've got set with my own values). Hopefully it will be possible for them to undo all of the factory VIVID preset values and essentially convert it into a second PRO, for their adjustments. I just don't want to lose what I've currently got due to their calibration. I want both available, if for nothing more than being able to do an A/B-comparison.
So, after almost 9 years of "self-tweaked" pleasure watching images on my XBR960, I'm finally going to see what difference can possibly be coaxed out of a professional calibration.
This is going to be wonderful when finished... top-of-the-line reference-status 34XBR960 CRT, and current generally agreed reference-status 65VT50 plasma, both in one room right next to each other. Can't wait to watch my first 1080p movie on the calibrated 65", but I will continue to also use the XBR960 especially during the day, and also for "ordinary HDTV programs" which might not look terrific on the 65" but look stunning on the XBR960.
Very excited about getting this plasma set on my wall.