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I want to upgrade my parents TV to something nice that I can watch DVDs on when I visit. However, there are two big constraints:

1) Their TV room has poor light control.

2) They primarily watch 4:3 DirecTV via the Sony SAT-T60.

So I'm thinking that pretty much limits me to 4:3 direct-view sets (but please correct me if I'm wrong). I know there are a few 36" 4:3 sets that can do an automatic anamorphic squeeze like the Sony XBR450, and others like the RCA MM36110 that can do the anamorphic squeeze with a bit of work, so I'm pretty sure I'd find either of those acceptable for viewing the occasional DVD. I was leaning towards getting the XBR450 since it seems to be the best of the 36" direct-view sets and I like the flat screen, but I've heard some people claim that DirecTV ends up looking rather bad on this set due to some combination of the built in gadgetry and DirecTV's over-compression of most channels, and I'm worried that the same might be true for the other hi-def sets.


So, any suggestions or recommendations?
 

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I heard about the distorted DirecTV picture with the 36XBR400 but I was under the impression that most if not all of this was cleaned up with the 36XBR450. I have seen the 36XBR450 with a DirecTV feed in stores and it appeared flawless to me. In my opinion, a very nice TV.
 

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I have the 36XBR450 and DirecTV. When I first got DirecTV, I was disgusted by the picture quality (on my old 27" Panasonic TV). When I added the 36XBR450, DirecTV looked better. My take on this is that the 36XBR450 is one of the best 36" TV's out there. It won't make DirecTV look any better or worse than an equally well-adjusted set.


It is true that you should take some care to adjust the XBR's settings. Otherwise, it WILL muck up the picture of any low PQ source (e.g., DirecTV). But, this is easily done: turn off the SVM (scan velocity modulation) and turn down the sharpness (which should be done on almost all TV's anyway) -- see other posts for more detailed adjustments -- these are the biggies. I think that the reputation from the 36XBR450's bad DirecTV picture stems form what people see at the store while the set is not at all set to where it should be. To my eyes, this isn't true. My DirecTV picture is great. Note that I'm not trying to negate anyone else's opinions of how good other sets are.


Do your folks have money to burn? If not, something less than the XBR450 might do them fine. Some of the non-progressive scan WEGA's have the vertical compression that would make your DVD's look great (depending on viewing distance). You (they?) would save $1k with this route. Granted, the picture won't be as nice and you lose HDTV upgradeability. Will they go to HDTV? If so, I love my XBR450.


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-Jason
 

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I have the predecessor 36xbr400 and I think the picture is great even without the modified DRC and the 3:2 pulldown. No complaints from me. Using Video Essentials or Avia will ensure the pictures adjustment are optimal.
 
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