Originally Posted by highheater
I have been following the SXRD threads for a year and a half and it is quite the deja vu experience hearing all the extrapolations from a single photo about the new features of the new XBR units.
The SXRDs might have the best picture when operating under optimized conditions but I'm starting to believe you must have the patience of Mother Theresa (to return 3 units), understand electronics better than Maxwell (to dive into the service mode) or have the money of Donald Trump (to pay for a TV that also requires an extended warranty and calibration) to get to see that perfect picture.
Frankly I'm just plain worn down by listening to the extremes everyone is going to to capture nirvana. At some point you have to question whether these units are very robust in their design to require such 'kid glove' treatment to give you a decent picture after spending $ 5000.
I started wandering around some of the Panny plasma threads and didn't see anyone on their 4th plasma. Calibration is hardly discussed and the tenor is generally more positive than the Sony SXRD threads.
Are the SXRDs this problematic or is this crowd just overly demanding?
You just have to get over internet overload. It happens for EVERY product. When we were looking for a new front-load washing machine & refrigerator you'd think there was not a single well-made product available from either category. The stories were horrific. For every bad experience you read about online, there are hundreds or thousands of satisfied owners who never make a post to any forum or review site.
As for calibration... there are NO decent video displays available that won't benefit from calibration. Even Runco equipment that comes with calibration features not available on other displays STILL benefit from an ISF calibration. Nobody has to enter the service menu. Just like nobody has to tweak the tuning of their brand new car if they are not inclined to do so. But for those who DO want to tweak their brand new car, tools and information are available. Same thing for the XBR2s. The ISF calibrator will use the service menu, you don't need to touch it.
Have you PRICED a 60" 1920x1080 Plasma? They are in a whole different pricing plane and lower res (cheaper) plasmas look, well, lower res. The heat that comes off a big plasma screen can be a problem for some people also. Then there's the issue of image quality... the only plasma screen I've ever seen that I would allow in my home are the brand new Pioneer Elite models - but the prices are way out there. There is no $3000 plasma, LCD flat panel, or DLP set that comes close to the image quality you get from a 60" XBR2.
Now... if you don't CARE about image quality being as good as it can possibly be, why are you even thinking about spending $3000 on a video display? And if the best quality image quality is important to you, then you MUST already know from reading Widescreen Review, Home Theater, and other thorough magazine reviews of video displays that getting the most out of any given video display is going to require calibration and you need to budget for that when purchasing a display... otherwise just do your best with the adjustments and enjoy your results without getting the display calibrated.
Here is why calibration improves image quality... we have an LCD flat panel in our study. It's the first LCD flat panel we've owned. It is an "alternate" place to watch TV in our house and doesn't have a DVD player or anything else connected to it. I spent 5 months tweaking all the settings trying to get images I was happy with and NEVER got there. Not even close. I just couldn't come up with the right combination of settings no matter what I did. So I connected a DVD player temporarily and used a test/setup-disc (Avia in this case) and in less than 15 minutes I had a fabulous picture on that display for the first time in 5 months. The test disc gave me patterns and test images that FINALLY let me understand what the various controls were doing on this set (not exactly the same things as controls on a CRT display). That allowed me to finally get all the settings optimized to work together producing a great picture. But that's only the beginning. A calibrator with the right equipment can go to the next level to produce images that are even MORE amazing by using more complex adjustments not available in the user menus. Calibration is not an XBR2 issue, it's just something you do when you are into high quality video images regardless of the video display you are using. Anybody with a plasma display who has not had their plasma set calibrated is not seeing the best images the plasma display can produce... period. Doesn't matter what they say in an online forum. Calibration produces better images for every type of display.