Home Theater Reviews

Sony KDS-R60XBR1 SXRD Review

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Sony 50″ SXRD Review, today we have a review on the 60 inch model, the KDS-R60XBR1. These sets should basically be the same except for size.

“As you can tell, I was most impressed with the KDS-R60XBR1. It is quite simply one of the best RPTVs we’ve ever reviewed, regardless of what it’s called.

Build Quality: 93
We took it out of the box holding the speakers (a big no-no), and it didn’t fall apart

Value: 95
• It sure is 1080p
• Lowest-priced 1080p set we’ve seen so far

Features: 92
• Why is there no way to check lamp life?
• Lots of adjustability and inputs

Performance: 96
• A remarkable contrast ratio
• A black level better than most front projectors

Ergonomics: 90
• Remote control is too sparse
• Menus are almost too detailed

Overall Rating: 94
Its performance speaks for itself. It’s a digital RPTV with nearly videophile performance, something most people never thought possible. Kudos to Sony. ”

I still don’t like the speakers/outside frame, but that’s just a personal nag. Don’t let me bring you down. 😉

Home Theater Review

Sony KDS-R50XBR1 SXRD Review

I have found yet another review of this popular unit. This thing has caused quite the buzz lately. In this review, Sound and Vision Magazine take an in-depth look at this beaut.

This 50 inch rear projection set has a list price of $4000 but I’ve seen it as low as $3000. (Check the deals tab at left.)

•Excellent HDTV picture detail.
•Rich, natural color.
•Excellent black rendition and shadow detail.
•Wide selection of effective picture adjustments.
•Custom picture memory for each input.

•No antenna signal-strength meter.
•No support for 1080p-format HDTV signals.

•1,920 x 1,080-resolution SXRD display
•Built-in HDTV tuner
•Digital cable-ready
•Variable Auto Iris contrast enhancement
•Inputs CableCARD slot; 2 HDMI (one with analog audio for DVI sources); 3 i.Link (FireWire); 2 component-video and 3 A/V with composite/S-video, all with analog stereo audio; 2 RF cable/antenna; VGA with minijack analog stereo audio; Memory Stick Pro slot
•Outputs optical digital and analog stereo audio

BOTTOM LINE I have so many good things to say about Sony’s KDS-R50XBR1 HDTV that it’s tough to sum it all up. First, there’s the gorgeous picture, which combines natural color and deep, CRT-like blacks with fine resolution. Then there’s the extensive feature set and picture tweaks, which go well beyond many other televisions. Finally, there’s the price tag. Four grand might seem high compared with similar-size rear-projection HDTVs, but very few of these offer 1080p display.

Perhaps the only real downside here is the Sony’s inability to show true 1080p HDTV signals. It’s not alone here among 1080p displays, and it’s a minor issue — there are no easily obtainable 1080p sources right now. That could change with the pending Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high-definition disc formats. But with so many other things going for it, I’ll lay bets that Sony’s newest SXRD offerings are going to shake things up in HDTV-land. ”

Read the Full Review at Sound And Vision Magazine

Harmony 880 Universal Remote Review

This remote is probably one of the most popular and most sought-after for home theater crazies like me. This review draws a lot of comparisons and contrats to harmony’s older model, the 688.

In summary, I really enjoyed my time with the Harmony 880. It addresses all of the shortcomings I noted in my review of the model 688 without losing any of the benefits of that remote. The only trouble I had in this review was trying to find something not to like. Its lack of RF (radio frequency) capability is probably its only significant drawback, but you can get that (for double the price) in its otherwise strikingly similar big brother the Harmony 890 Pro. But RF capability is only necessary if you want to control your devices from another room, or from the other side of an opaque cabinet. If your home theater devices are in one room, you have a lot of them, and it’s getting harder and harder to explain to your wife and kids how to use them, then get yourself to a Harmony dealer to check out the 880.

The only thing I don’t like about these remotes, is you have to use a computer and internet connection to configure it. I know that shouldn’t be a problem, but I don’t like any component of my system tethered to something that is sometimes unreliable. Once you config the remote, this isn’t a problem, but old farts like me prefer independence anyway.
Full Review

Dell W4200 Plasma Review

HtGuys take a quick look at this Plasma display from Dell. Though Dell calls this unit “HD”, it is not. Clearly. The resolution of 1024 x 768 does not meet the minimum requirement of HD quality. And I’m almost tired of pointing that out, it is all too common for manufacturers to make this claim. Pah!!

Anyway, here are the findings:

What we liked:
Clear Detailed Picture
Accurate Color Representation
Wide Viewing Angle
More Connections than you will ever need
Great Shipping/Setup Experience

What we Disliked:

Slight Buzzing Sound coming from the TV (this issue has been acknowledged and addressed by Dell .. )
Out of box settings provide poor picture
Some Blacks not true (Only Ara saw this)


Overall we were very impressed with the Dell 4200 Plasma TV. The picture was sharp and clear (once we calibrated the TV). Colors were bright and vivid. There are more inputs than you will ever need and the TV includes a built in HD tuner.

HT Guys Review

Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK Review

Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK This 37″ plasma from Panasonic gets an Editors’ Choice rating with a score of 7.8/10.

At a resolution of 1024×720, it is not a true HD unit, but looks like a great display considering.

The good: Accurate color decoder with no red push; solid video processing with 2:3 pull-down; excellent black-level performance; independent memory per input; numerous picture adjustments; customizable inputs.

The bad: Limited connectivity options; basic and industrial in its design; no tuner included; no aspect-ratio control for HD sources; floats black.

The bottom line: Despite limited features and connectivity, the Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK is one of the best small-screen plasmas on the market today in terms of picture quality.

Source – Cnet

Panasonic TH-42PX50U Review

I just found another review of the Panasonic TH-42PX50U. PC mag gives it a 3.5 out of 5.0, citing these:

Good color quality right out of the box. Appealing style. Well-designed remote control.

Only one digital video input. Non-removable speaker. Limited image-scaling options. Lacks advanced color controls. No picture-in-picture options.

and the Bottom Line
The Panasonic TH-42PX50U is a capable entry-level plasma television that provides impressive imagery when displaying DVD video, but it lacks the resolution required to show the finer details of HDTV.

Again, at 1024 x 768, this unit is not true HD. It supports input resolutions of 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i but cannot display the minimum of 720p natively, to be true HD.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad set, just need to state da troof. Yo, review editors! If it ain’t HD, don’t call it HD. (thanks)

Here’s another, more recent review of the TH-42px50U
Panasonic TH-42PX50U review by PC Magazine

Sharp LC-20B8U Review

Cnet reviewed this little number that would be a great choice for a kitchen, bedroom or other space-challenged area.

Rating 7.0/10

The good: Solid 2:3 pull-down video processing; adequate aspect-ratio control; decent jack pack for a 20-inch TV, including computer input.

The bad: More expensive than budget models; poor black-level performance; nondefeatable edge enhancement.

The bottom line: This Sharp LC-20B8U has the right combination of size and performance to serve up TV and even HDTV in your kitchen or bedroom.

Though it is true HD at 1024 x 768, the res should be fine on this 20 inch size screen. A good casual use unit.

Sharp LC-20B8U Review

InFocus 777 Projector Review

infocus 777 No, it’s not a spacecraft. No, it’s not an infrared heat sensitive camera.

It’s the flagship projector from InFocus!

Man, that thing just looks awesome doesn’t it? I wish I had one, maybe I’ll just run out and buy one right no…. mustt… resist…whew.
Ok, for 15 grand, we might have to skimp on something else in life. (hhmmm… let’s see kids, mortgage, college, new roof) Bah! Priorities!

Anyway, if you are in the market for a top-of-the-line DLP projector, and won’t have to sell your children to do so, this bad mamma-jamma should be at the top of your list.

Ok, on to the review:

Type: DLP
Native Resolution / Aspect Ratio: 1280 by 720 / 16:9
Lamp Life : 2,000 hours
Dimensions (H x W x D, inches) 8.5 x 23.7 x 28.4
Weight (pounds) 44.4
Price: $14,999 (with standard throw lens)
Connections : DVI (1), D5 (1), RGB D-Sub 15-pin (1), component (2, RCA and BNC), S-video (2), composite (1)

Overall Rating: 93
If you have the means, there should be little to dissuade you from getting a 777. Its light output is extraordinary, the color points are nearly perfect, and everything else is damn-near excellent. This is how you make a projector.

InFocus 777 full review
Also noted at HDBlog

Sanyo PLV-Z3 Reviews

I came across 2 reviews today of this popular LCD projector from Sanyo. Here are the main parts of the reviews:

The good: Solid video processing with 2:3 pull-down; strong feature package with numerous setup options; excellent setup flexibility with both horizontal and vertical lens shift; runs quietly.

The bad: Disappointing black-level performance; visible screen-door effect; HDMI input rolls off resolution.

The bottom line: While its image quality can’t compete with that of entry-level 720p DLP projectors, the inexpensive Sanyo PLV-Z3 LCD is a good choice for people on a tight budget.

“… the Z3 offers a performance level that is difficult to imagine possible just a decade ago.

The level of performance of the LCD format in projectors has taken a huge leap recently and is today rivalling the DLP system. Everything being equal, the latter is likely to cost more.

If you are a big picture fan for whom every ringgit counts, you would want to check out the affordable capabilities of this little gem from Sanyo.”

Sanyo PLV-Z3 Review – CNET
NST.com Sanyo Z3 review

Sony DAV-FX100W Review

sony dav-fx100w

ZDnet check out this HTIB (home theater in a box) for us. This rig gets a thumbs up of 7.3/10.

Personally, I’m not fond of wireless speakers, but for a non-audiophile rig such as this, it should work just fine. The review and other reader reviews commented on the bass being too boomy. Some like that, though.

The good: Dreamy HTIB design; five-disc slot-loading DVD/SACD/CD changer/receiver; HDMI output upscales to 720p/1080i video; wireless surround speakers; tower speakers.

The bad: Tricky setup menus make changing the subwoofer level a pain; tedious DIY speaker assembly; subwoofer sounds bass-heavy.

The bottom line: Sony’s revamped wireless Dream system ups the ante with cutting-edge features and improved sound quality.

Sony DAV-FX100W Full Review