Not too long ago (June 2007), we checked out this projector's predecessor. In a roundup and the Mitsubishi HC5000, we chose the JVC as the hands-down winner for picture quality, but that wasn't the whole story. The VPL-VW50 was a close second, and one participant even picked it as a favorite, finding it quieter and easier to live with than the JVC. Now, a scant seven months later, the projector landscape has changed a bit. The new Mitsubishi is down to $4,000, and the new DLA-HD100 from JVC rose up to around $8,000, leaving the new Sony all alone at the same price ($4,999) its predecessor was last year.
For those not excited about projectors (see below), Sony unveiled a 52-inch LCD, the KDL-52XBR2. It’s 1080p of course, and sports a 1300:1 “on-screen” contrast ratio. It’s $6,500, but if you don’t like silver, the KDL-52XBR3 is $300 more and has a black bezel. They’ll be available in November. Also, the BDP-S1 Blu-ray player should ship late October.
No matter what type of display you're looking for, you're no doubt going to be comparing the specs and feature lists of each. Things like contrast ratio, lumens, 3:2 pull down, and others are a marketing departments favorite tools to make their product sound better than another. Take many of these with a grain of salt. Take others as an undersold but vital aspect of a product. To sort though them, here's what they all mean.
According to politicians and the news media, there is an epidemic of youth violence in this country, and it’s the fault of violent video games. This myth seems to be believed by everyone who isn’t a gamer, or who believes the news media or politicians. Now I’m ok if you’re not a gamer, but if you believe everything politicians and the news media tell you, I have some land to sell you, real cheap.
To test your display's performance, you'll need not only specialized test generators and measurement devices, but also actual video material. After all, just because a display measures well doesn't mean it's anything you want to look at. For that matter, there are no objective measurements for things like scaling and deinterlacing. For consistency, we try to use the same or similar test DVDs (and now HD DVDs) for our testing in each display review and in our video Face Offs. If you want to see how your TV stacks up—or you wonder what we're talking about every month—here are most of the test discs we use and why we use them.
I blame myself. Two years ago, I was strapped into a 767 surrounded by screaming babies, seat-kicking toddlers, and former senior technical editor Mike Wood. We were on our way to CEDIA, and Primedia was nice enough to book us first class. No wait, that's a lie. We were in steerage. At one point, I innocently turned to Mike and mentioned that we had several rear-projection TVs at our Woodland Hills studio and maybe we should have a Face Off. I recognized the look that crept onto Mike's face. I tried to bolt, but there's only so far you can get when there's a seatback 3 inches from your kneecaps. (Sorry to whomever was sitting in front of me.)
Am I the only one who saw similarities between Jerome Bettis and The Rolling Stones? How often do you see 34-year-old running backs, whose job it is to get hit on every play? By the same line, how often do you see 60+ year-old rock stars? Granted, I think Keith Richards has been dead since the 80s, and I think it’s debatable if Charlie Watts was ever alive, but still. Forty-two years and still going strong, that’s 15 years longer than most famous rock stars are alive.
Don't get me wrong—I love CRT displays. They still offer the best picture quality across the board, and I can't imagine having anything else for my computer monitor. That said, the technology isn't long for this world. Fewer and fewer companies are coming out with new models as consumers spend their money on big screens and flat panels. So, when contributor John Higgins mentioned that his TV had died, I knew what had to be done. I needed to give it a fiery send-off. I needed to destroy it.