High-end Sony LCD deepens the black levels

In our editors' review of the Sony KDL-52XBR6, we find that it delivers very deep black levels, but it's just too expensive.

In addition to producing deep black levels, Sony's KDL-52XBR6 lets you exchange the silver speaker grille for another color. CNET

In the contest for "best LCD," the main combatants for the last couple of years have been Sony and Samsung. We reviewed Samsung's LN52A650 earlier this year and liked what we saw enough to award it our Editors' Choice. Sony's latest contender for that award is the subject of our latest HDTV review, the KDL-52XBR6.

First things first: this Sony ain't cheap. But its ability to produce a deep shade of black is unmatched in our experience by any non- LED-based LCD or non-Kuro plasma, and many other aspects of its performance, especially its video processing, were definitely impressive. On the other hand, for that much cash we expected better color accuracy and screen uniformity.

Those picture quality issues swayed our decision making enough to keep the EC award in Samsung's camp for this round, although both scored the same overall and the argument can definitely be made that the Sony has the better overall picture, price notwithstanding. If black levels are your bag and you don't want a plasma, you can't do better than the XBR6 without shelling out gobs more money for an LED model.

Read the full review of the Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR6.

Below you'll find the settings we found best for viewing the Sony KDL-52XBR6 in a completely dark room via the HDMI input with a 1080p, film-based source. Your settings may vary depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.

Picture menu:
Picture Mode: Cinema
Backlight: 2
Picture: 90
Brightness: 51
Color: 54
Hue: 0
Color Temperature: Warm2
Sharpness: 5
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off

Advanced Settings menu:
Black Corrector: Off
Advanced C.E.: Off
Gamma: Low
Clear White: Off
Color Space: Standard
Live Color: Off (grayed out)

White Balance menu:
R-Gain: -3
G-Gain: -4
B-Gain: -1
R-Bias: -2
G-Bias: 0
B-Bias: 0

Motion Enhancer: Off
CineMotion: Auto 1
Game Mode: Off
Video/Photo Optimizer: Video

General Setup menu
Power Saver: Off
Light Senor: Off

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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