At this price point, you will certainly want to have the set professionally calibrated; without it, the best grayscale we got was way blue (see “Grayscale Tracking”). One thing to note is that the LC-65D90U allows direct calibration of the DVI input, but not HDMI; apparently, the HDMI service-menu controls are offsets to the DVI settings.
Running through the HQV Benchmark DVD, detail was very good, and low-angle diagonals exhibited almost no jaggies. The 3D noise reduction didn’t seem to do much, while the mosquito noise reduction did a bit more good with no visible harm to the picture. Surprisingly, the processor never locked onto the 3:2 pulldown cadence at 480i, so I recommend using a good progressive DVD player with this set. With HD DVD at 1080i, however, it did lock onto 3:2 reliably.
DVDs looked great in general. There was no contouring in the opening scene of Pirates of the Caribbean as the ship appears out of the fog, and color and detail were excellent. Also, the shadow detail in the dungeon scene was surprisingly good. The same was true in the dark interior of the duck-blind observation post in Star Trek: Insurrection, which, like Pirates, exhibited excellent color and detail.
Moving on to HD DVDs, Training Day had little if any contouring in the opening sunrise and superb detail in the city skyline and the diner where the two cops meet at the beginning of the movie. Color was likewise excellent, with great flesh tones. Good Night, and Good Luck is a black-and-white movie, offering no opportunity to evaluate color, but the shadow detail was good, and the overall detail was impressive.
The LC-65D90U’s sheer size immediately impresses anyone who sees it, even if it’s not powered on. The picture it produces is generally excellent, especially in terms of color and detail, and even the black level and shadow detail are quite good for an LCD flat panel. On the downside, I’m not in love with the user interface, and the difference in black performance between the digital and analog inputs is disappointing.
Is it worth $16,000? It’s certainly possible to achieve a better picture for that kind of money with a front-projection system. But such a system cannot stand up to ambient light the way this bad boy can. And if you want bragging rights, this is one sure way to get them. TPV