Regardless of how beautiful they are, rear-projection TVs still have a self-image problem when they stand next to flat-panel plasmas. Sony aims to address the width disparity with a 55-inch SXRD-based model that has "a slim cabinet that is 30 percent thinner than the previous 50-inch SXRD model." Applying a bit of math to the spec sheet of said 50-incher, the KDS-R50XBR1, we learn that the SX(ier)RD measures 13.2 inches deep. That doesn't really out-flat a like-size plasma such as the 4.25-inch-thick Hitachi 55HDS52, but it's a start.
We were stonewalled when we pressed Sony's reps for more information, such as a model number, pricing, availability, or confirmation that the 55-incher would even see the light of day this year. The most we learned was that the set's light engine was completely redesigned to improve uniformity and brightness over past slim-cabinet HDTVs--the 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs. We expect to learn more at Sony's annual February line show, and given the excellent reviews received by first-generation SXRDs such as the 60-inchcomes to mind--and that it would feature a pair of