Flat Screen Review
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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


At this point, you are surely asking yourself, didn’t this TV’s predecessor win this competition last year? Well, yes, it did. What a difference a year makes.

It isn’t that this XBR2 is worse than the XBR1. In fact, in most ways, it is better. It’s just that, in the intervening year, the competition has gotten that much stronger, while this Sony is, well, very similar to last year’s. In reality, the performance of this display, the two runners-up, and the winner are all very close. Each display does some things well and other things not so well.

Obviously, contrast ratio and black level are two of the things that the KDS-R60XBR2 does well. At 14,544:1, its contrast ratio is more than double that of the next closest competitor. This is thanks, in part, to the fact that the Sony has the most active auto iris. This handy device trac ks the incoming video signal and adjusts the builtin iris accordingly. So, with dark scenes, the iris closes up and makes the whole image darker. With bright scenes, it opens and makes the whole scene brighter. As you can imagine, this makes for some rather inflated contrast-ratio measurements. Even so, when you set the iris to stay at one setting, the contrast ratio is still in the ,000:1-to-6,000:1 range, which makes the Sony comparable to the JVC and the Samsung.

The Sony’s processing was pretty middle-of-the-road. It icked up the 3:2 sequence with the Gladiator clip but not with the Silicon Optix discs (neither 480i nor 1080i). The video processing was OK; the waving-flag scene from the same discs had only slightly jaggededges .

Last year, due to the other aspects of the XBR1’s performance, everyone was able to overlook its oversaturated colors. This year, however, the Sony wasn’t so lucky. With other TVs offering a similar onscreen contrast ratio, better processing, and more accurate color points, the Sony dropped down in the rankings. The inclusion of 1080p inputs and a little better performance make this TV a little better than last year’s model, but, with everyone gunning for you, you can’t make do with baby steps.


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