Different people have different sensitivity too the GW's black level. It also depends on your viewing habits: If you want to watch in the dark (other than the TV) the GWII is probably not for you. Best would be to see it for yourself in a store, even if you can't really make it dark there it'll give you an idea of how black things can get.
Personally I'd like the GW's black levels to be a bit 'blacker' but it doesn't bother me. I always leave some light on when viewing (and plan on adding a back-light to the TV) and cable or movies look just fine to me.
I actually enjoy more watching on my GWII in the dark (I haven't tried a back-light though). In day time, GWII beats any CRT RPTV hands down. I watched The Masters on CBS in HD the past weekend. What an experience!
I've read the review you mentioned. In my opinion, a more serious review is the one on Stereophile Guide To Home Theater, issue July/August 2002. Note the review is actually for GWI and the black level has been improved in GWII. This view goes through the main pros/cons of this TV so you may better decide if this TV is for you.
I'm familiar with the fence you are sitting on. After reading the magazine reviews when I was looking for a TV, I came across this forum. It became clear quickly that the critical mass of actual users sharing their experience with the GWII provider a much broader and deeper amount of detail than a magazine.
I read through the positive comments and concerns expressed, including the issue of the black level. What I finally realized is that much of the input was based on a more technical approach than I would be concerned about. The folks on the forum are terrific and honest, but when I spent time looking at the TV in 4 different places, I wouldn't have noticed the black level if I hadn't seen the comments here. umr's tweaks help out quite a bit as well. Also, as someone mentioned, the GWII is much better than the GWI for the black level.
If you scour the forum (search on GWII) and absorb the great information that has been contributed, you can then use that when you go back to look at the TV. You may find as I did that the black level isn't a showstopper. I'd suggest several stores if possible, to see the differences in lighting and material being presented. You may also find a store that has calibrated the GWII.
I don't want to wave a flag to violently, but I am extremely happy with the GWII. As you will see so many times on the forum, your mileage may vary.
I bought the GWII and I am very unhappy with it because of the dead pixels, particularly the bright dead pixel that torments me day and night. Sony is unwilling to provide a quality product. I wouldn't recommend an LCD display to anyone.
$4k-$5k for a TV that includes a warning from the manufacturer that bright dots are not a malfunction seems ridiculous to me. I say put your money into a DLP display where at least there isn't a disclaimer that its your problem if the display sucks.
Having lived with an LCD projection set for two years, and having just upgraded to a DLP set (after evaluating the GWI and GWII, among other options), I may be able to provide some insight.
The black levels are definately a concern with regards to an LCD set. The GW2 is an improvement over the GW1 (as well as the Samsung LCD set I owned). However, they cannot compare to a DLP or CRT display.
On the other hand, you can get used to it after a while, and then it's only a problem if your room is occasionally brightly lit. Still, I found the off-axis viewing angle worse (horizonally) on the GW1 and GW2 than even my old LCD projection set, which suprised me.
Here were my conclusions:
GWI - POSITIVE - Nice HDTV picture
NEGATIVE - contrast and black levels no better than my old LCD set, obvious 'screen-door' effect, really bad off-axis horizonal viewing (worse than my old LCD set). Possible convergence issues due to three-panel design (my old set was a single-panel design, something I liked)
GWII - POSITIVE - contrast and black levels somewhat better than my old LCD set, really nice HDTV picture
NEGATIVE - noticable 'screen-door' effect and poor off-axis viewing. Contrast and black level not up to DLP. Possible convergence issues due to three-panel design.
DLP - way better contrast and black levels than GW1 or GW2, incredible off-axis horizontal viewing angle (much better than any projection set I have ever seen), no discernable 'screen-door' effect unless within 1' of screen. 'Perfect' convergence due to single DMD chip design
NEGATIVE - noticable rainbows on certain scenes during rapid eye movement. So-called 'temporal dithering' on movement noticable under certain conditions. Black level and contrast still not quite up to CRT.
Originally posted by abarsami After reading the review on the 50" in Home Theatre Mag. I can't make up my mind because of the black level. If it's too dark for xbox games and cable tv.
Well I just received My GWII-50" This Past Sat.
Let me just say this Set Is Beautiful!! These People complaining about the black levels is a bit Ridiculous, *Someone has to ***** about something* I see it's not AS dark, as others, But it's all mind set. The Blacks are Fine!!
I have watched SDTV- Fine same as Sony Vega, Digital Cable- Alot Nicer smoother then SDTV. DVD Looks GREAT!! No-probs there.
Xbox Is also Perfect on this TV! Games that are in 480i, still look fine! Progressive games are Great! But when I put on Tony hawk 4 in HDTV (720p) Forget it!! Amazing!! I never seen a Game Look so good!!
A forum community dedicated to home theater owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about home audio/video, TVs, projectors, screens, receivers, speakers, projects, DIY’s, product reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!