First off let me say both televisions are fine pieces of equipment and each have their plusses and minuses so hopefully nobody will be offended. I am doing this review just as another data-point for those curious about the Qualia (as I was before I purchased mine). This is being done as a COMPARISON, between the two, since that is what I can easily do. Below is listed the equipment used. Note one thing, that I am not including grayscale tracking (they both were fine) because I think my CP5000 needs calibration. Therefore everything is relative
Sony Qualia KDS-70Q006 (just over 1 week old)
Mitsubishi 65813 (just over 1 year old)
Sencore VP403 (DVI only for this test)
Sencore CP5000 (1 year old - may need calibration)
First let me also say that I am not an ISF trained technician, however, I am an Electrical Engineer, and do enjoy dabbling in televisions. My eyesight is average Therefore, someone who does this for a living could most probably do a better job than myself, but this should be a good data point for those curious about the Q
Setup - Both televisions were set up using the VP403 and CP5000 to the best of my abilities. The Mitsubishi had additionally some improvements mentioned over on the Spot (ringing fix, color decoder adjustment using scope). I started with the factory defaults, added some suggestions from both here and the Spot, then proceeded to drag out the computer and equipment to do the real work
Objective items - These are things I feel that can be quantitatively repeated by another using similar instruments to mine. There are several things that stood out during my attempt to calibrate both units (the 65813 being done several times over the past year). Some of them very surprising! The Sony was the clear winner in the resolution department (well sort of - you will understand in a second). It was able to completely resolve the highest frequency multiburst that the VP403 would put out. The 65813 could at best generate a gray field with the highest frequency. This is a known issue with this model, and apparently is in the design (not likely to be improved). The Sony also won the color decoder contest. I did not even have to touch the factory settings. Why all manufactures refuse to do this annoys me. At any rate, even with the Perfect-color tweaks, the 65813 could not hold a candle to the Sony (though I hear rumors that there is a way to improve the 65813, but it is only known by a few, and they will not divulge the secret, as is their right). The VP403 has a test which locates a white box inside a white line, and turns the box on and off. This is a test for both power supply (tube) and black level retention. If the white line is affected by the flashing white box The 65813 failed this test (bending the box quite a bit - which I have seen on several 65813's so it's not limited to mine - yet was not an issue on a Pioneer 710). The Sony of course was fine. Mostly because it's fixed pixel device I'm sure. An interesting result was noticed while doing the convergence and watching some shows. Here is where the Sony falls on it's face in a very odd place. Convergence - yes, you heard me. The 65813, while it has horrible resolution compared to the Sony, was able to be adjusted so that all the lines in the convergence pattern were where they should be (except for the last inch or so of the picture where they did fall apart some). The Sony, well, let's just say I hope the service manual has adjustments for the panels in it. This in theory should be a simple fix, but we will see. On the convergence pattern (and on real HD), the blue is up and left by about ½ a line (not too bad). The red however is off by way over a pixel (maybe 2) on the left side of the screen. Not horrible when watching HD broadcasts, but it is noticeable. I really hope this can be fixed, since this is really the only thing that bothers me about the set. On the upper right corner (where the multiburst High Frequency pattern on the VP403 is) it is perfect (hence the easily visible pattern). It does have 1 stuck blue pixel in the center, but I can't see it from where I sit (only from about a foot away) so I can easily live with that.
Subjective items - These are things which are just my opinion and may be refuted by others The reason I am getting rid of the 65813 is mostly in this area. One thing it does that the Sony does not is have bad black level control. What I mean by this is that if you watch a 4:3 broadcast with gray pillar bars while credits are scrolling, you will see the brightness of the pillar bars change parallel with the credits. As with a lot of things - very annoying once you know it is there. The Sony has none of this behavior. Another thing is what I will assume is lens flare. The Sony has very little of this in my opinion. The 65813 has quite a bit (less than black areas when the credits are there or any high contrast situation). I think Sony spent a lot of money on the optics. Ringing is another area the Sony does better in. Surprisingly, I had to set the sharpness to 18 for best response (not 0), but it did very well there (unlike the 65813 which had massive ringing no matter what was done - even with the ringing fix). Another thing is one aspect of convergence that the Sony (and all fixed pixel devices) do well in. Very straight lines. Not to say the 65813 did not have straight lines, just not as straight (and spending all weekend to get them straight is a chore). Oh, and the Sony is a light cannon compared to the 65813!
Final comments - I'm keeping the Qualia. That should say something. I was able to run them a while side by side (2 DTV boxes) and compare pictures. One of the boxes was an HD-TiVo, so it's picture was delayed by about 1 second. It made for some really easy comparisons (look, turn head, compare). The Sony, while having a lot more resolution, did not stand out during this test (speaking only about resolution here). However, day to day viewing I find myself noticing a lot more detail than the 65813. Could have been the material, but I really think it makes a significant improvement. Color rendition while doing this was no contest. The Sony was a joy to look at. Even with my hours of attempting to get the 65813 perfect, the Sony (out of the box no less) did a much better job. I treasure accuracy above all else, and the Sony has this. The two units side by side, I had no trouble picking the Q over the M There might be some odd things going on with the Sony at VERY low light levels (possibly not enough bits - think banding or clay face), but I think this is more likely to be an issue with the source material since with the VP403, I can go from 1 to 100 in increments of 1 and see no such issues. So is this a perfect TV? - no. If I can eventually get the panels aligned, it will be as close as it needs to be for myself. Is it worth the price of admission? I think so, but only the buyer can determine if the extra improvements are worth the extra cash (as with all things, a significant increase in cost for what most would probably consider a smaller increase in performance).