3D Blu-ray Evaluation: Disney’s World Of Wonder
Packed with useful test patterns and an array of animated and live-action demo clips, this is a great disc for evaluating any HDTV, especially 1080p sets like this Sony. With the picture setting adjusted to Full Pixel, the Sony delivered great details, with sharp edges and clean text lines.
Surprisingly, with the Sony’s Live Color feature (which provides varying levels of color enhancement) turned off, the set delivered a very poor color accuracy measurement result, which with actual program material made the picture look somewhat color-faded. With the feature activated, and set to the medium level, the Sony’s colorimetry score shot up, and colors looked suitably saturated, but not overly so.
While the Sony has LED edgelighting, and offers variable backlight level choices, with actual program material, the blacks were good, but not as good as with some other LED-equipped sets out there. During scene cuts with a few seconds of black in between, the screen went entirely black, but if there was any sort of image on the screen, it wasn’t quite possible to get the same black depth.
In a scene from the movie The Prestige in Tesla’s workshop, the interior lighting is suitably drab, and it is fairly easy to see details in darker portions of the scene.
Just a bit of color shimmering and brief amounts of color splotching. A wooden pet carrier briefly appears with a splotch of extraneous yellow color on its side, which was nowhere in evidence moments later during a close-up of the carrier and the black cat inside.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central via Dish Network)
While the show, presented in HD since early this year, is a full studio 1080i live production and has often been useful for picture evaluation, here we see significant problems with detail, color, blacks and shadow detail. Why that should be is a mystery, as the Dish Network HD DVR was connected to the TV via HDMI, the highest quality connection available.
Here’s where things fall apart. Even after many hours of adjusting the Sony every which way from Sunday, there was constant color shifting and smearing, most noticeably with flesh tones. Ordinarily, one would expect realistic flesh tones from a quality HD studio show like this one, but here host Jon Stewart looks downright pallid. And that’s with the Sony in Cinema mode, and with the color saturation cranked back. Interestingly, the Sony (in Cinema mode) scored fairly well on the test bench, but with actual program material it falls short of the mark.
Why the quality of the blacks with HD broadcast should be worse than from Blu-ray is also mysterious, as the Sony couldn’t produce blacks as well as it could from Blu-ray. Still, the LED edgelighting must be helping at least somewhat, as the Sony’s blacks are still better than results obtained from now increasingly obsolete fluorescent backlit LCD TVs.
More intrigue, as the shadow detail also strangely seems to be inferior with this 1080i-originated show, compared to comparable Blu-ray content. It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as with Blu-ray, which shouldn’t be the case.
As noted, there are significant color quality problems, including the inability to deliver natural-looking flesh tones. Mr. Stewart looks absolutely sickly here, and splotches of green appear regularly in the shadow under his chin. This played out with dozens of other examples from other HD channels—the results were the same, and disappointing for a brand new 1080p HDTV.
Sony (who was late to the 3D HDTV party earlier this year) has staked out the pole position as the first set maker to offer an HDTV with Google TV functionality built-in, which suggests that Google TV will be the next big thing in bringing together the Internet and HDTV. By Google’s own admission, the service is poised to become much more appealing early in 2011 when they claim they’ll be able to offer literally thousands of Android-based Google TV apps. Word on the street is that there will be multiple Google TV announcements from other HDTV vendors at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
While the Sony’s Google TV functionality works as well as a standalone Google TV box from Logitech, the picture quality of the TV itself is disconcertingly variable with HD broadcast sources, as compared to its performance with Blu-ray. Sony does offer a standalone Google TV product (NSZ-1), which comes with the same remote shown here and that also includes a built-in Blu-ray player. At a suggested list price of $400, thatdedicated box might be a good choice for those wanting to take the Google TV plunge right now, but without shelling out more money to replace their otherwise perfectly good HDTVs.