Originally Posted by somelogin
Does anyone think I will be impressed by something with this model, even after using newer top models of most other types (CCFL LCD, LED, plasma)? I am assuming the black level will be better than my elites, especially since something is wrong with them, so I would think that is one big thing I would notice, but going all the way from 50 inches down to 34 is a big leap. I had thought well spending $200-$300 to get this and some stand would at least be good to have it as a backup tv because all tvs of current tech hurt my head for some odd reason and also the bigger the size the more it happens, so I figured maybe it's worth it to have this smaller one as a backup. But I don't want to get it and then never use it and this 200 pound tv be here with me unable to do anything with. Like I said, I did own the 30HS420, so I know "somewhat" what it will be like, but how much better, I don't know.
I had previously thought my 34XBR960 was "reference" (definitely state of the art back in 2003 or so). Absolutely superior to my previous Sampo SME-34WHD5 (which had just died), which was itself also "reference" back in 2002 or so. Both of these were genuinely stunning to look at in HD (especially coming directly from 4:3 480i SD).
But to be honest, they are still analog CRT devices at their heart. Very much subject to setup and tweaking just for geometry/overscan and curvature/bowing issues (unique but common for 16x9 CRT tubes, especially true flatscreens), and definitely should receive a "calibration" treatment by a professional to deal as best as possible with the available service menu tweaks relating to color/hue as well as user menu tweaks relating to brightness/contrast and sharpness.
And even then, each rectangular shaped analog flatscreen CRT tube had its own unique "convergence" and "color purity" issues, potentially requiring a "magnet job" by a trained Sony-qualified technician as the only way to solve the unique problems of that unique picture tube. Some "horizontal" defects can be "cured" through service menu adjustments, but other "vertical" defects cannot.
So if you buy a used 960 (and one which is by now at least 10 years old and probably worse for the wear and tear), you really don't have any guarantee at all of what it is that you will be getting for your money, no matter how little it might cost.
As readers of this thread know, I long touted my 960 as "fantastic". Turns out color-wise I didn't really have it adjusted correctly at all, and it was VERY VERY BLUE (because I thought I liked the look of "cool" temperature). It wasn't until I had a true pro calibration by D-Nice last year that I finally saw what "correct color" looked like, and fell in love. And what I'd previously been looking at for the past 9 years was "embarrassing" by comparison.
But... in all honesty the picture from even a properly calibrated 960 vintage circa 2004 simply CANNOT COMPARE to the picture from a much larger modern technology high-end plasma (like my Panny 65VT50 acquired about 14 months ago and also pro-calibrated by D-Nice, so that color on my two calibrated sets IS NOW TRULY IDENTICAL). There is simply a much more dramatic image from a screen that's 4-times the size of the 960, producing much more "pop", brightness, contrast, sharpness, uniformity, linearity, purity, etc. I now NEVER watch my 960. There simply is nothing like the "3D-like realism and transparency" (words I used to use for my 960, but which really are now appropriate even more for my 65VT50) coming from the stunning HDTV and BluRay images coming out of the VT50. Couple that with running 720p/1080i HDTV source through the external HDMI input of my Oppo BDP-103 player (which processes and upconverts to 1080p for delivery to the VT50) and the resulting 1080p image onscreen is just amazing. Remember, the 960 does not accept 1080p, and this makes a big difference.
Sure, is it really fair to compare these two sets? What if you didn't want or couldn't house a set as large as 65", but were simply looking for a much smaller set in the 32"-37" size range for a secondary TV location? Should you consider the 200lb. CRT 960? You're going to need a pretty sturdy cabinet or A/V equipment credenza or TV table or something, to just hold the beast. Might you not be better off in the long run (not to mention providing more viewing enjoyment) to consider a modern 1080p-capable alternative? Even try to talk yourself (or partner/spouse) into going with a much larger screen than you thought you were wanting... say 42" or 50" or 55"?? Honestly, the larger the screen (but still appropriately sized for your viewing distance), the MUCH LARGER will be your viewing enjoyment, especially if you go with a high-end flatscreen and then have it pro-calibrated.
I'm not a gamer, and don't watch DVD's (not normally, anyway). I only watch 720p/1080i HDTV and BluRays. Going with my 65VT50 last year and then getting it (and my 960, even though I knew I'd probably never watch it again) calibrated by D-Nice is the best thing I've ever done. While there might be some advantage to using a 960 if you watch old 480i (which the 960 does VERY WELL), for modern HD/BluRay you really should go with a plasma (in my opinion) if you want stunning images with CRT-like blacks and and brilliant whites/colors along with 180-degree viewing angles (i.e. that have none of the "off-axis" family room viewing angle considerations so obvious with LCD/LED panels, although these have definitely improved).
And get a Panny plasma while you still can find them and buy them. They're no longer being made.