Sony has built an excellent reputation with its SXRD technology, which is at the heart of the company’s top two front projectors and many of its RPTVs. So when the PS3 arrived at Grayscale Studio, my first thought was, “I wonder how it will look on the DS-R60XBR2,” which I had set up a few days earlier. On paper, at least, pairing the PS3 with a 1920x1080 SXRD TV looked like a match made in heaven. The next thing you know, I was running an HDMI cable from the PS3 to the TV and reaching for the TV’s remote. Speaking of the remote, it’s a soso universal type able to control up to three devices other than the TV. There are no direct-access buttons to select the desired input. The menu system—well, it’s not the most organized I’ve seen. For example, you have to dig down two or move levels just to get to the picture controls. Hint: If you want to save a little time, hit the Tools button instead of Menu.
Running through our battery of video tests, I discovered that the R60XBR2 has a superb contrast ratio, the product of wonderfully deep, solid blacks (low black level) and bright whites (high peak white level). The best grayscale we could obtain without resorting to a fullblown calibration was a bit on the blue side, but not bad. As for the red, green, and blue primaries, they were oversaturated, especially the green. For more on the tech details, go to avguide.com. Next up was the HQV Benchmark DVD. The finest level of detail was clearly visible, but I saw lots of jaggies between the red and white stripes in the waving American flag clip and in the low-angle diagonals test pattern. Noise reduction was somewhat effective without degrading the picture, but even at the High setting, some noise was still visible in the intentionally noisy clips. The set’s processor was also unable to compensate for the conversion from movies at 24fps to video’s 30fps at 480i or 1080i. This is no big deal if you feed it 1080p from something like the PS3, which takes care of this conversion quite nicely.
On to Blu-ray. With the PS3 set to its 1080p mode, detail was exceptional—from the clearly defined snowflakes at the beginning of Kingdom of Heaven to the bustling slums below the low flying helicopter in Black Hawk Down. Color was also surprisingly pleasant; in particular, skin tones looked completely natural with no hint of red or green bias. Some of the strong reds and greens popped a bit more than I might like in Stealth, but this was less of a problem than I would have guessed from the measurements. The blacks were solid and inky, making it easy to ignore the letterbox bars on movies. And shadow detail was also very good, with few if any dark blobs in the Buddhist temple scene in Stealth and the Joint Operations Center in Black Hawk Down. Overall, I was very impressed with the Sony KDS-R60XBR2’s performance. Sure, primary colors look a bit overdone and video processing is less than exemplary, but these are minor complaints. If you have the opportunity to pair a PS3 with this TV, prepare to be wowed.
Despite all the pre-launch hype, Sony’s PS3 comes up short due to a lackluster lineup of software that has yet to demonstrate what the system is truly capable of. (Those annoying software glitches don’t help either.) From a pure gaming perspective, the Xbox 360 is the better deal right now, offering comparable performance for less money. But when you consider PS3’s impressive collection of
features—Blu-ray most notably—and its untapped gaming potential, things start to look up. The PS3 can only get better in the months ahead.