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The Official Sony 30XS955 Thread - Page 2

post #31 of 1354
I too am going to look next week and i will try my best to compare the toshiba 34HFX84 to the sony 34hs420 & 34xs955.

I will keep everybody updated, i plan on purchasing the sony 34hs420 but i will wait untill columbus day instead to pull the trigger, so for now i'm just looking and comparing.
post #32 of 1354
Just a quick question for all of you owners. Are you happy with the size of this tv? I am helping a close friend pick out a TV, and he is pretty set on the 30XS955. I personally feel that 30" is too small for his room, but it is the only TV that will fit in his new entertainment unit. How far do all of you sit from the set. Is this your main TV, or do you have this in a bedroom? Thanks a lot for all of your responses.

post #33 of 1354
Well, am I happy with the size of the tv? No, I wish I had the room for the 34" or even a DLP set. But, for now, this is what I have room for so it will have to do.

I sit about 5-6 feet away from the TV so I think it'll serve its purpose which is a high quality TV to watch HD until I move into a larger house at which point, the 30" will go into bedroom duty.

My 30xs955 should be here early next week.
post #34 of 1354
I've had my 30XS955 a few days now (direct from Sonystyle). DVDs and HD are incredible on it. I live in an apartment so I didn't really need a huge TV. Now that it is here it looks much larger than the last year's model looked in the store so I'm glad I didn't get the 34". Also the 34" has a 'film' safety cover over the glass which my cats could damage but I didn't find that out until I read the 30" owner's manual which is the same manual as the 34" and the 4:3 36" versions of the XS955. When I have to move it, it weighs 150lbs and has two 'handholds' on each side which make lifting it pretty easy for two people.

Starwars IV-VI are all clear as can be. I can see the camera refocusing on the different characters as they speak and even errors in the camera work when they shift characters and pull the focus too far and have to push it back. Every skin blemish is visible.

For SD TV shows I usually keep it in the wide-zoom mode just because I don't mind the distortion too much and like the TV to 'wear evenly'. This set has very bright phosphors and so I'm a bit leary of getting odd burned in lines if I watch it in 4:3 cropped mode too much. As expected SD TV can look pretty bad on this set if the program source is blurry. This blurriness is expanded to fill the screen. Most digital channels have a pretty good signal where I live and these SD channels look fine. Most of the worst channels are ones I never watch anyway.

For HD, I've watched discovery HD, football, PBS, HBO and other channels (such as Fox which currently shows widescreen non-HD that is ok but not great). The HD is better than the DVDs but not by a whole lot. It has a clear look to it without having the exagerated sharpness of the DVDs (in my opinion!) and very nice color and of course fills the screen (unless 'cropped' like on ESPNHD baseball).

My recommendation is to set the video to Pro as soon as you get it and make tweaks from there, the other presets are ridiculous unless you have very bad lighting issues. I had to increase the black level a bit from the standard Pro defaults to get some of the darker details visible but not much else. There is also the option to 'de-emphasize red' buried a bit in the setup so make sure to look at all the video setting options.

When it arrived and I turned it on it came up with horizontal lines and the options to adjust tilt, vertical center and horizontal center but it required no adjustments to any of these.

Using Avia, I can see that the sharpest part of the screen is the center but it is almost imperceptable. In movies in HD or DVD it isn't noticeable at all. No obvious geometry issues until you get to the extreme corners. Nothing that a tech would even acknowledge and nothing that I'd care to tweak.

The only problem I've had is while installing the HD cable box and fiddling with all the settings I somehow managed to get the 'input' text box that shows up in the upper left corner of the screen when changing inputs to stay on screen at all times instead of fading after a few seconds. I couldn't see any way of doing this or reversing it so I did a reset on the TV and it went away.

Also, when setting up the HD box I had it set to input 6 but couldn't get HD to work correctly. Drove me nuts. I had a 16:9 picture, but it had black bars all around it. Finally I cycled through all the inputs back to 6 again and it popped to full screen. Some autosensing something going on I guess. I tried the cable box at 720p and 1080i. 1080i was noticeably better so I left it at that.

Overall I'm very pleased with the TV. I had considered a Toshiba but after seeing the XS955 with the finer resolution I changed my mind despite the difference in price. The fact that it has a built in tuner didn't figure in at all since I can't receive OTA HD where I am. So, I can't comment on the tuner at all. If I someday change to a CableCard at least I'll be ready. I have a DVI->HDMI cable on the way and will try connecting the cable box to the TV using that instead of the component connection I'm using now. If it works well then I have another component input free'd up for other use. I may also get the new Sony DVD player with HDMI out (and an HDMI switcher box) but only because it does totally digital to the TV at 1080i.

Oh, the manual spends a lengthy section explaining the mermory stick functions. For fun I put some MP3s and JPEGs from my computer on a stick and tried it out. I suppose if you are having people over for a slideshow it is fine, but it doesn't have much use other than that. The pictures look fine and the MP3s sound ok (they accompany the slideshow). If I didn't already have the memory stick I wouldn't have bothered with it though.
post #35 of 1354
The reason HD does'nt look that much better than dvd's is because you only have a 30" screen, HD is best on bigger screens, this is when you notice the wow factor.
post #36 of 1354
Well in most cases bigger is better for screen size. In the interview Carrie Fisher did with George Lucas he said that screen size is more important than resolution for the overall 'experience'. I try to compensate by using my 'manual zoom mode'. I move my chair closer to the screen if no one else is watching. At about 5 ft it looks great. (2x30" = 60" = 5' optimum viewing distance). And for football I move even closer to get the 'surround picture' effect. I can't see individual 'pixels' until around a foot or foot and a half. I haven't seen a plasma or DLP or LCD screen that has a picture as well defined as the direct tubes, but maybe someday. You CAN use this TV as a computer monitor with the right video cards and setup but it requires a lot of fiddling. I decided it really wasn't worth it. If that was important to me I'd get an LCD or DLP that was made to connect to a computer's DVI out.

HD broadcasts seem to have a lot more 'depth' than DVDs. And I found that the INHD1 and INHD2 channels seem to show HD shows with higher quality than other channels sometimes. There the difference between DVD and HD becomes very obvious. Also, people in the stands in the background of baseball/football games are clearly defined. Golf scenes show the green and flag clearly in the distance and you can follow the ball very easily. You can read what the coaches have written on their pads of paper on the sidelines.

The biggest difference I see between HD and DVDs is the color and texture that comes through in HD. The DVDs give crisp details on object edges but not so crisp on the textures and colors of the object itself. Still, the new Starwars DVDs are the best DVD transfers I've ever seen.

I've hooked up a monster DVI-HDMI cable between the box and the TV. I can't say the difference is really noticeable to me between using this cable and using component but now I can hook up my xbox and DVD player to the component inputs. I tried a pacificcable DVI-HDMI cable first but it didn't work at all so back it goes. (green dots, green and red horizontal lines, TV resynching all the time). Hated to pay for the expensive monster cable but it does work. Also, since the cable box is DVI you don't get sound through the HDMI connection on the TV and have to use RCA cables still.

Still very pleased with the set. I think I'll go for the 5 year inhome extended warranty when I register it though just for peace of mind. I figure in 5 years I'll be ready to change to whatever new tech is out.
post #37 of 1354

Did you try using your 30XS955 with QAM? (if you did and it works, which cable provider do you have?)
post #38 of 1354
Nope, I only tried OTA with a borrowed antenna, then spent way too much time getting my computer to work with it and by that time the HD cable box showed up. Didn't try to play with the cable signal directly.
post #39 of 1354
Got my 30xs955 yesterday. I am waiting on my new progressive scan DVD player to arrive later today so I haven't tweaked anything from DVE yet, but out of the box, the HD picture looked fantastic. I've got D* with all three satellites pulling in at least a 95% signal. The OTA stations are coming in great too so I was able to watch all of my local Digital Channels and I was very impressed.

Now, to the SD picture. I had read and read about how bad SD looked on a WS HD television but I must admit it was worse than I was expecting. Like I said, I haven't even begun to adjust anything so I'm not ready to pass judgement yet, but for now I'd have to say that watching anything SD is painful. It seems way too bright and "jaggedy". The graphics from my TIVO's menu screen are just as bad as the picture.

Anyway, I'm still very pleased with how the HD looks and will get a good look at DVD tonight. After a little tweaking, I'm hoping that SD content will at least be watchable

Any suggestions for tweaking this with DVE? I've had the disc for awhile in anticipation of getting a TV but I've never actually used it to tweak any settings.
post #40 of 1354
OK, dumb me. Forgetting that the set remembers video settings for each input.

My normal TIVO was set to the "Vivid" setting. Once I changed it to "Pro" and made af few adjustments, SD television is much better to watch on this set. HD still blows me away.
post #41 of 1354
Ahh good Yup 'vivid' makes everything look awful.

Well, I've had the TV for a week now and went into the convergence/geometry tests from AVIA to see how it is doing. It has a noticeable geometry problem in the upper right corner (but it is RIGHT in the very corner), very slight geometry problem in upper left, and convergence problem on the far right all along the very edge. Same as when I originally got it really.

Nothing noticeable anywhere around the middle of the screen and having these problems on the far edge and far corners is pretty minor in my opinion. I don't see any of them when watching the TV in any mode. Some of this may be due to the AVIA DVD not handling 'normal' screen mode correctly for the widescreen tests. I had to manually set the TV to 'FULL' on the widescreen tests to fill the screen and this stretching might have some impact or only be informative for how it plays back DVDs. (Maybe someone knows a better way to look at this). Would be nice to have a HD test.
post #42 of 1354

Originally posted by Balcerak
Would be nice to have a HD test.

If you have HDNet, they show a decent set of test patterns that play on Tuesdays from 8 AM - 8:10 AM EST.
post #43 of 1354
Thread Starter 
My 30XS955 was delivered this past weekend. I have only viewed SD as my cable company is coming this weekend to install an HD-DVR box. I am very impressed (and relieved) that SD programming does look so good on this set. I have the set in my bedroom and I think it makes a great bedroom TV.

Based on some threads I have read within this forum, I bought a good S-Video cable and have been watching SD through that input. I have read that SD can actually looks better through an S-Video input than a component input, maybe because S-Video was created for analog viewing.

I set the picture to "Pro" mode and the DRC to Cinemotion. I tweaked some other settings on the user menu and the picture does look very good. I also recommend viewing SD content in the "Wide Zoom" mode.

One other thing I was thinking of trying is a signal amplifier from Radio Shack. But the picture, even without the amplifier, is very watchable.

I will report on the HD picture once my cable box is installed this weekend.
post #44 of 1354
I'm very interested in this set but every B&M store in my area -
Circuit City, Best Buy, local hi end audio/video stores - only carry
the 34" inch model. Did most of you purchase directly from
SonyStyle? Do they have a good return policy if your unhappy
with your purchase?
post #45 of 1354
Yup I got mine via Sonystyle online. 30 day return from the date THEY SHIP it and you pay for the shipping back, have to use original packaging etc etc. It took about 8 days to receive it so I had about 20 days to get an RMA if I'd had to return it. I haven't had any problems and like the set very much though so I didn't try it. Not a nick, blemish or anything. One thing to consider is for large items they ship via NCI to a local delivery company which will vary from city to city. So, your delivery experience may vary depending on who they contract to do the delivery/install. My two delivery guys just brought in the box, opened it, had me pull off the plastic as they lifted it out and put it on my stand and said "have fun playing with your new TV". And they delivered on Saturday. (Was scheduled for 10am-12 but they called at 8am saying they'd had some deliveries rescheduled so could they come at 8:30? I could still taste the toothpaste.)

Oh, also if you order from Sonystyle and then decide to change your order you are out of luck unless the item isn't in stock. They 'begin the shipping process' the moment you hit the 'finalize' button on your order and no changes can be made from then on. Also, don't expect to track your order on large items. It will say 'in transit' until they call to arrange delivery.
post #46 of 1354
Does anyone have a center speaker resting on this HDTV?

My center speaker is about 20" in length and 7" deep and
probably weighs about 20lbs. I was thinking of applying Velcro
if the top of the set has enough area to support the speaker.


post #47 of 1354
I have a pretty small JBL center speaker on mine... its a little precarious since the top of the set isn't perfectly flat, but so far it feels like it'll stay in place. I thought about putting just some kind of padding behing it for support but so far its stayed up fine.
post #48 of 1354
Just curious, what's the resolution of this TV?
post #49 of 1354
I thought I would revive this thread as I just purchased this HDTV
today and it will be delivered tomorrow.

What are your settings for contrast, color, tint, etc. for SD cable,
HD cable, etc. I currently have my AVIA DVD on loan and may not
receive it back until Monday. I realize that each environment is unique,
but I'm just looking for ballpark values at this time.


post #50 of 1354
This question has probably been asked numerous times, but when is the 30XS955 going to start showing up in stores? I find it a little ridiculous how this TV was originally intended to be released in late August, and it still hasn't made it to the stores.
post #51 of 1354
I finally got the 30XS955! I purchased it locally with 15% off MSRP and free delivery. Out of the box, the TV was a bit dusty (not a lot), though it was new. Most of my recent Sony products is dusty for some reason. I bought a new Sony 19" LCD from a different place and that too was dusty.

The 30XS955 is a nice TV. Mine states that it was built in October. During initial setup I had to set the tilt to 6, is this normal?

Everything seems to be working including QAM, OTA HD, regular cable, and the various input jacks. Analog cable looks excellent with my Motorola signal booster. It's almost as good as 430i digital. All those complaints about analog looking crappy on HD sets doesn't apply here. Stretch modes look fine as well as the picture quality. Speakers sound good. I'm not really a Home Theater guru, so I haven't used the avia diagnostics. This is my first HDTV and everything looks so nice.

For those that have this set, how do you add individual digital channels to the channel listing? The manual states that we should use the "Digital Channels - Add" option, but this only autoscans digital channels. Also, is there a shortcut to the "Diagnostics Information" (Signal Strength)? I wish we can just press one button to see that information rather than going to the "Main Menu".

The remote control is so-so. Quality wise it seems the same as remotes from other Sony components, but I don't like the light color. I took my current Sony VL700 remote and programmed all the new buttons from the new remote. (Remotes that learn... rocks)

I plan to purchase the Gemini ZHDTV1 antenna. The old Rabbit Ears works when it's extended, but the Gemini seems compact and looks like it'll match with my stand and the TV's silver colors. I am getting QAM channels from Comcast, but I can't seem to get all the local channels. Local channels that do come in like FOX and NBC aren't consistent. Sometimes it's there and sometimes not. Interestingly, sometimes it locks to some movie "not-local" channels flawlessly. I do get a lot of music channels which I just hide from the channel list.

For those that plan to buy this TV for a small room here's some tips: The box is big, so be prepared if you plan to set it up yourself. Someone mentioned that there were handles on the TV set, but we couldn't find any "obvious" handles. There's a little ledge on the sides of the TV where you can left. During the lift, wearing gloves (some thick cloth will do) is wise if you plan to place your hand under the front part of the television. The instructions on the box states that you need to tear the carton apart to get the TV out, but you should be able to take it out just by opening the top portion of the box.

All in all, I'm quite happy with the purchase. I'll post back if there's any problems.
post #52 of 1354
I have been able to keep a mid-size Def Tech center channel on my 34XS955. I put two stick-on rubber feet under the frond side of the speaker. Then I rolled up a rubber mat that was previously used under weightlifting equipment. I held the roll together with a small scerw and placed it under the back side of the center channel. The only way it will come off is if someone pushes is relatively forcefully. (see photo album)
post #53 of 1354
So any word on when Circuit City or Best Buy will have this set?
post #54 of 1354
Circuit City or BB probably will never carry it. It's been a few months and it should have been in their stores by now. The last time I stop by in both stores, the model was in their system but none in the warehouse. I also tried tweeter, but they needed to special order it. Tweeter didn't even know the set exist until I showed them via the Sony website. Fry's and Sears seems to be the only other place that carry them. With Sears, you might need to order, but at least you can pick it up at the store (or have them deliver).
post #55 of 1354
I ordered mine on 12/31/04 at Sears and they said I wouldn't be able to pick it up until 1/12/05. If your interested in getting the Sony stand that is made for the 30hs420 and the 30xs955 Circuit City has the lowest price.
post #56 of 1354

Previously, I mentioned how I couldn't get some local hd channels via QAM. I'm using a 3-way splitter with my CableSignal, so I thought that was the problem. Someone in the HDTV section suggested that the TV might not fully support QAM. Surprisingly the problem was the cable between the splitter and my TV. It was some generic cable and didn't looked damaged, but for some reason it had problems transmitting channels above 100. Apparently cable quality still matters when you're dealing with digital signals.

I replaced the cable with some better ones and wala... I get all local HD channels via QAM with no data errors. So, QAM64 and QAM256 (with 1080i) works wonderfully with this set.
post #57 of 1354
I would like an HDTV and this is the one I am leaning towards but I have a few questions first.
1.Now I have a 20"Sony Triniton, it's just too small is the extra 4" worth the money for the bigger one?
2.How is Cox HDTV servive?
3.Does anyone in the New England area know what HDTV channels are available over the air?
4.Where is the best deal on this or the 34" in model?
thanks for the help.
post #58 of 1354
post #59 of 1354
I just got my 955 and wanted to know what is the "avia" and do I need it?
Obviously it seems that everyone is adjusting their set, is this something that needs to be done out of box? I haven't seen Hd since time-warner came out to install the HD box and it was bad. so they took it back and am stuck until I go and get the HD box myself. i would appreciate it if someone
could please educate me no this avia thing.
post #60 of 1354
I would like an HDTV and this is the one I am leaning towards but I have a few questions first.1.Now I have a 20"Sony Triniton, it's just too small is the extra 4" worth the money for the bigger one?
2.How is Cox HDTV servive?
3.Does anyone in the New England area know what HDTV channels are available over the air?
4.Where is the best deal on this or the 34" in model?
thanks for the help.

1. A 20" 4:3 TV is 16" wide and 12" high, this TV is 26.1" wide X 14.7" high.

2. Don't have Cox HDTV service, but I can receive all the local HDTV channels with a $14 UHF antenna from Radio Shack.

3. Try http://www.titantv.com

4. I bought my TV from Sears during Christmas at 5% + 10% off.

The only problem I have with this TV is the cold tuner problem (please see my other thread). Sears offered to replace it with a new one and gave me 90 days to decide whether I want a new TV. The picture on this TV is so good that I am afraid to get another replacement TV.

To all the 30XS955 owners, does your tuner need to warm up before it can lock in on the HDTV channel ? I need to wait 90 sec, power down and then power up to get the HDTV channel.
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