|Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70-inch SXRD HDTV|
|Home Theater Rear-Projection HDTVs SXRD Rear-Projection HDTVs|
|Written by Mike Levy|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2007|
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The overall quality of the image produced by this set is very impressive. You have to get down to minute measurements in order to pick fault with such an HDTV set. Right out of the box, nearly every consumer can get a bright and beautiful image without much work. A professional calibration and an HD disc player (or two) are highly recommended, as the calibration will get the most from the set in your home and likely help prolong the life of the set. The HD disc player will help you realize the potential of such an HDTV at native 1080p. Scaled video is good, but not the same as native 1080p.
In terms of shortcomings, the linear light output of this set was an impressive 13 foot-lamberts. That would make it quite viewable in a darkened room, but the Sony appears much brighter than this number would indicate, even in a moderately lit room. Images were bright and colorful and almost three-dimensional in their dynamics when seen in hi-def. This is because the set has a Lenticular-Fresnel lens system incorporated in the screen. Lenticular-Freznel lens systems have been used since the days when all projectors were CRT in order to increase the light directed to the viewer. The updated version used in the Sony is of a much finer design in order to match the needs of 1080p HD. So what is the downside? The positioning of the set becomes more critical. There is an area of prime viewing where the image is brightest. In most cases, it poses no problem, but don’t put the set on the long wall of a room if viewers will be sitting at a high angle. Also, don’t put it too high or too low. The height on its stand worked very well for seated viewers, and only dimmed slightly when standing.
While the set has several settings for color temperature that range from cool to warm2, none of them is anywhere near the reference 6,500 Kelvin. At the warm2 setting, the color spectrum was so close to what I expect 6,500K to look like that, without a comparison, I would not have picked it up had I not measured it. The reds were equal to the blues, well defined, bright and clear. yet not oversaturated. The human eye can adjust to the color temperature to an extent. The eye adjusted easily to the color temperature of warm2, but as you shifted up the color temperature scale, the image became more and more blue-hued until you reached cool, which created an icy blue world.
Warm2 averaged at approximately 8,300K and warm1 averaged approximately 11,500K, but after that, it was off the meter. Why would Sony not have at least one setting that was at the reference? There probably are two reasons. One is technical, and the other is marketing. The technical reason is that the light output of the set would be reduced if the spectrum of the bulb used were filtered to create 6,500K.
The marketing reason, one would assume, is that is test after test has shown that consumers prefer sets that are skewed toward the blue side of the spectrum. The set does have a white balance feature, which allows the adjustment of the color temperature on a color by color basis in the custom mode where you can get it to the reference: 6,500K. The user should not attempt this adjustment. I am surprised that it is in a user available menu. Only a trained calibrator with a meter or a comparator can set it correctly.
“State of the art” is a hard term to use, because the standard constantly keeps moving. However ,I am going with it in describing the Sony KDS-R70XBR2. There is no competing unit that I have seen on the market to date that can surpass the performance and image quality of this set anywhere near its price. There are features in this all-in-one unit that are not even available if you were to use separate video projector and video screen set-ups, such as the sync feature and the steady sound feature. For jaded videophiles, rest assured the image quality is as good as I have seen on any rear-projection system to date. Elegant in presentation, fair in price and dynamic in performance, this is a no-lose proposition for anyone in the market for a top-performing rear-projection HDTV.