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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a 34XBR800 on Saturday, and thought I'd post with my impressions so far. The set was from the Sony Outlet store in Wisconsin. Purchase price was $1899 plus $100 for a 3 year in home warranty, and tax added another $111. They do not offer delivery.

Purchase / Transportation.

I got a friend with a van to help me get this thing home. This was a HUGE help. The TV is a decent size, but the box they had it in was even bigger. The guy at the sony shop told me it's the same box they use for 40" 4:3s, so it was a bit oversized. It was well packed though, and they opened it at the store for inspection without my request, which was nice. The set itself, although refurbished has no visible defects, and so far no problems at all that I can see.

Getting it into my second floor apartment was difficult. The box wouldn't fit through the outside door, so we were forced to unbox it and carry it up the stairs unprotected. Luckily, we didn't have any trouble other than the sheer weight. This thing is heavy, and pretty front heavy which makes it a bit hard for two people to carry up stairs. On level ground things went much smoother. I was a bit sore the next day.. so use caution if you're planning to purchase this set.

First Impressions

I plugged it in and verified I was receiving a signal. Immediately I switched to DVD, and popped in Apocalypse now: redux. WOW! It filled the screen perfectly, and looked amazing even from an interlaced DVD. The picture had incredible depth to it. Colors are bold, and blacks are very black. The people who were at my apartment didn't want me to turn it off, but I was anxious to try other sources. This is my first quality TV, and replaced an old Sharp 27" 4:3 that was purchased for about $250 several years ago, so needless to say I was amazed. The DVD Player is connected via composite video, but still looks great. My one qualm is I had to manually set it to 'full' on 16:9 DVDs and to 'zoom' on 2.35:1 DVDs to get it to fill the screen, despite setting the DVD players output to 16:9. Is this a result of using composite video? Not much of a concern as I'm working on an HTPC and won't use that DVD player much longer. I've since watched Lost in Space and Secretary, and both were pretty incredible, though noticable reddish in parts (especially flesh, and fire/explosions)

I next went to TV (via digital cable through a Series 1 TiVo.) At first, I was disappointed, but I'm not sure what channel it was tuned to. I've since watched a good deal of TV, and the image quality has been quite good. Six feet under zoomed nicely to fill the screen, and the image quality was pretty good. Watching 4:3 material wide zoomed feels a little odd, but the zooming has few noticable artifacts. In several hours of viewing, I only noticed some strangeness once, when a character walked from the far right of the frame to the center, and became somewhat thinner while moving. Not a terrible effect, and probably wouldn't have been visible had I not been watching.

There is a slight fuzziness to cable pictures when using wide zoom mode, but this is probably just a function of the source material and the numerous D-A and A-D conversions in running digital cable through tivo and back to the TV. It looks better in 'Normal' Mode, but I think it's tolerable enough that I'll probably use wide zoom for most of my viewing.

I then connected the Xbox via component cables and set it to Widescreen, 480p, 720p, and 1080i enabled. Again, I had to use zoom to fill the screen. None of the games I currently have appear to support HD resolutions, but they were stunning none the less. My friend's wife had a hard time getting him to leave when he saw Splinter Cell on this screen. I'm going to have to find some true HD games, as it'll likely be a while before I have an HD tuner.


Specific Observations
  • Red Push

    Red push out of the box was quite noticeable. Flesh tones were definitely pink, and explosions/fire were exaggeratedly red. Orange was on the red side when it seemed it should have been more yellowish. Turning down color results in a somewhat green picture. I suspect this should be easily correctable when I do a proper Avia calibration and figure out the service menu.
  • Bowing / Geometry?

    I'm not quite sure, but I suspect there may be some minor geometry issues. In some scenes, most notably in wide zoomed NTSC, the picture appears somewhat concave. Lines along the bottom, tickers and such, seem pretty straight, but it just has these feeling that the edges are taller than the center or something. I'm not sure if this is truly the case, or if I'm just used to the distortion in the corners from rounder screens, but something seems odd. For now, I'll just try to get used to it and see how I feel about it in a few days. Maybe some of the test patterns on the Avia disk will show more clearly if there's a problem or not.


So to summarize, the set is incredible. Picture clarity, colors, and depth are great out of the box. The red push is very noticeable, and I might have some geometry issues, but I'm sure both can be corrected.


As a side note, I'd be very interested if anyone can point me to some documents about using the test patterns on the avia disc which they don't explain.
 

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jjarmoc


Congrats on your new Sony 34xbr800. I suggest you go the 34xbr800 faq thread . On the first post are helpful links and there are hundreds of posts of 34xbr800 owners describing how they fixed red push and minor geometry problems. I think the red push and minor geometry issues are pretty standard for this TV but usually easily fixed.


I use a 3 year old interlaced Samsung 709 DVD player connected by S video to my 34xbr800 and the "full mode" gives correct OAR for anamorphic widescreen. For a non-anamorphic letterbox you want to use zoom. For 2.35:1 anamorphic, I use "full" and for 4:3, I just use normal. The black bars are not a big deal and burn-in on a calibrated direct view that is not abused is uncommon. I am not a fan of wide zoom but to each his/her own. If you like it then great.


AVIA and this TV are great partners because AVIA not only lets you adjust the usual suspects (picture, brightness, sharpness, color, & tint/hue) but provides patterns to help in the service menu and adjust geometry issues and fix red push (color decoder). Good luck. :)


Rick
 

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Do a search and you will find tons of tweaks for this set and all 800 series XBR's. They are excellent TV's! Good choice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've been following the XBR800 FAQ thread, the tweaking the 34XBR800 thread, and others for months. The information there was part of what led me to this TV. It seemed to be among the best, and with the wealth of information available on it, I figure it should be easier to get the most out of it that most other TVs.


I didn't post this in the FAQ thread, since it doesn't really add any new info, and that thread is already big enough to be difficult to read through. Mostly, I just wanted to share my excitement. :)
 

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Three words, Avia, Avia, Avia.


Congrats on the new set. I'm sure you'll love it! Dang, now that's more than three words. Oh well...
 
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