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1. Fan: It's too noisy. Is this fixable? Do I need to get a replacement TV? There seem to be 2 fans per the Service Manual, which explains the fact that sometimes the noise diminishes -- 1 fan must be going off periodically. But it's a bit distressing to have to hear this noise on a near-$4K TV.


2. Blacks. They're flat in texture and not deep. Dark movies do really badly on this TV -- DARK CITY, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. I dread watching THE CROW. But B&W movies look good. I was hoping fiddling with the Picture (contrast) and Brightness would help, but I think it's hopeless.


3. I used Sound&Vision Home Theater Tuneup to optimize the settings for all modes -- Vivid, Standard, Pro, and Mild. Once done, they are very nearly equal in brightness, color, hue, etc. I had to notch each setting up about 6 clicks above the test DVD settings to get the right color level, though.


4. DirecTV. Very good. I compared side-by-side the DVD of GLORY and the Starz! broadcast. In the digitally-processed twin-view mode, they were virtually identical in quality. Viewed separately, it's obvious the DVD is sharper (I have cheap AR $30 6ft. component cables, just for now). If the Sony does better on DirecTV than the Samsung DLP, this may be a decent tradeoff for the lousy blacks.


5. The Ott lite I bought is defective, so I can't try it with backlighting until I get a replacement Ott lite this weekend or so.


6. Using the test patterns on the Home Theater tune-up DVD, it's obvious that one cannot reduce the built-in sharpness of the Vivid mode, and one can do very little to it in the Standard mode. Entering the Service Menu is likely necessary. I received my Service Manual in the mail today, but I'm not ready yet to rush into it without some expert guidance. Pro and Mild modes allow you to tune sharpness effectively. It's weird to watch what happens with the various Picture modes on the test pattersns -- the Mild Mode causes the resolution patterns to wiggle like tadpole tails. Also, the crosshatch pattern on Vivid and Standard show faint colored lines on the sides of the purple crosshatch pattern. The Mild mode fuzzes the picture so it looks like it's a single straight line. Focus and convergence are perfect, of course, except those faint lines to the left and right of the crosshatch pattern may indicate the LCD panels need alignment.


** Ed on this forum says a properly focused and aligned XBR800 has marked improvements in picture quality and blacks. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO TWEAK THE BLACKS in the Service Menu -- this is the TVs biggest fault, IMHO. **


7. Sports on DirecTV look just like on our 25" direct-view. Blocky, only larger. As I said, I am very pleased with the DirecTV image, and would consider this a fair trade-off for lousy blacks, if the Sammy has bad satellite TV processing compared to this.


DirecTV seems to save the best transmission/bandwidth for its own programming (how selfish of them!). E.g., the "Buy DirecWay (satellite Internet)" infomercial is very clear, as is the "upcoming movies" channel.


8. DVDs are great (except for the aforementioned bad blacks -- did I say the blacks are bad on this TV? I'd hate to see last year's GW if this is a 25% improvement in contrast/black level.) It's nice to be able to watch 4:3s without worring about burn-in, and without having to stretch/distort them.


9. Remote. I do not understand why the DRC palette can't be accessed by a button like the other Sony TVs. Having to go to the Menu is stupid. I can control my RCA DirecTV receiver with the remote -- that's nice. I cannot program my receiver, though, and I cannot program BOTH a DVD player and a VCR (how stupid is that?!?!?!) I mean, almost everyone who gets this TV will have a DVD player, and if people want a VCR, too, this remote FORCES them to pick one over the other. What was Sony thinking when they designed this nice-looking but DEFICIENT remote control? As for my Sony DVD player, I can control the basic functions only -- can't bring up the DVD menu even when the remote is using the DVD codes. Dumb.


10. Viewing/Picture modes. Pro is seemingly the sharpest. On last year's RPTVs, Pro mode disabled Scan Velocity Modulation. View the DirecTV channels menu with the various modes and you'll see that Pro mode is the clearest.


More when I think of it.


Happy to have the TV, but with reservations (30-day trial period).


Fan noise. Yuck!
 

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eweiss


"FAN NOISE" can be changed under the LCD projector settings in the service menu. This is not documented in the manual but it is pretty obvious as Fan RPM settings. The fans appear to have two settings. One setting is for hot and one for cold. I have not changed this for fear of overheating my TV. My fan is noticeable when the room is quite also. I think it might be my hardwood floors reflecting the sound.


I have found nothing in the service manual that improves "BLACKS" on this set. I tried most of the settings that looked like they might help, but had no luck. Your best bet is back-lighting. Watching it in a totally dark room is not a good idea.


The "RIGHT COLOR LEVEL" should have been obtained with the test setup. You may either be seeing problems in white balance or it is your preference to set the setting higher. The colors on my set with that same setup disk look very accurate.


If you look in your service manual there are a multitude of settings for each mode. It looks like it would be possible to eliminate much of the enhancement on the other modes. I have not done this yet.
 
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