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CNET First Look
Sony KDL-52XBR9Sony's high-end KDL-XBR9 series of LCD TV offers a bundle of extras and solid picture quality, but the price will turn off most buyers.
[ Music ] >> David Katzmaier: Hi. I'm David Katzmaier, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is a review on the KDLXBR 9 Series by Sony. I'm sitting next to the 52-inch version of the series, but there's also a 46 and a 40-inch size. The 32, however, doesn't really apply to this review. It has a lot fewer features, but the other screen sizes are pretty much identical in terms of features and design. Starting with the design, we really did like the look of this TV. Around the edge of the screen, you can see it's a relatively thin bezel. So this black frame is on all four sides, again, pretty darn thin, and it adds to this nice kind of see-through border along the edge. So it's a really kind of classic look. Speakers, of course, completely hidden underneath, and the stand here does match, although it does not swivel. The TV does include an excellent selection of features. You'll find a lot of interactive ability on this television. You can go into the menu, and as long as you have an active Internet connection, call up YouTube, Amazon Video On Demand, and a host of podcasts and lesser kind of web video sites. This TV also has Yahoo Widgets, although that functionality wasn't enabled on our review sample yet. That'll come a little bit later, but the Widgets do enable you to go through and get access to sports and weather information, Twitter, Flickr Photos, and a lot of other more advanced things coming down the road. Aside from the interactive features, the TV does offer a host of picture adjustments. You can go into the menu and play with color temperature, gamma, and a variety of other settings. There's also a TV Guide on-screen display on this TV. So feature set overall is excellent. Sony also threw in a 240 hertz refresh rate on, on this TV although we really found it hard to appreciate the difference between that and standard 120 hertz. Around back, you'll find just HDMI input along with two component video inputs and the land port for connecting to the Internet. The side panels where most of the connectivity is, that has 3 HDMI inputs and a VGA port as well as an AV input. When we hooked the Sony in the lab, we were impressed by its picture quality overall. It does produce a relatively deep black [inaudible], although not quite as good as the best LED back lit LCD displays or as plasmas that we've tested this year. So those depths of black's not quite as dark as the best TV's, but again, pretty darn dark. Color accuracy on its own was also very good. We did find that there's a little bit of greyscale variation on this TV. So skin tones didn't look quite as natural as we'd like to see, but other than that, the color was very good as well. There was also some uniformity issues on this TV. When seen from off angle, it does fade a little bit although not quite as bad as some of the LED TV's that we mentioned before. And all things considered, it is a very good performing television. That's a quick look at the Sony KDLXBR 9 Series, and I'm David Katzmaier. [ Music ]