Measurements were taken with a Sencore CP5000.Geometry and convergence with both DVI/HDMI and component connections were virtually perfect at all scan rates—the promise of digital fulfilled! “Overscan”was no more than 3.5% on 480i/p, but at 720p and 1080i it seemed the image was shifted—overscan was zero on one side and almost 5% on the other side. I didn’t notice anything amiss on program material. Out of the box the grayscale was terrific, and I only touched it up a bit because I could. It tracked within 300K with no noticeable color tints, and provided what I found to be exceptional, lifelike flesh tones. (Flesh tones, while excellent out of the box,went to stellar after calibration.)
At the WIDE COLOR SPACE setting,which I strongly preferred, the color points for red, green, and blue were slightly outside the HD standards.With the Qualia 006 calibrated exactly as I used it for home-theater viewing—CINEMA BLACK PRO on, no crushed whites or blacks, excellent grayscale tracking, reduced lamp setting—I measured a contrast ratio of just over 2000:1. All I can say is wow! Feeding burst patterns from an Accupel HDG-3000 to test the Qualia’s resolution was interesting. First, at the top of the food chain, the 006 could pass the highest frequency areas (single pixel width) in 720p and 1080i luma and chroma bursts via DVI/HDMI. Even at 1080i you’ll see everything there is to see in an HD signal! Oddly, the 006 could not reproduce the highest frequency information in a 480p burst, which means some filtering must be happening somewhere, unless this unit was defective in this regard. Sony should fix this—DVI/HDMI should be the preferred method of connection for a DVD player. With component video, 480i and 480p signals showed full resolution out to the limits of the DVD format. The only downside of choosing component video over DVI/HDMI for DVD playback (to get the higher bandwidth) is my perception that component was noisier, negating the bandwidth advantage somewhat. Both 720p and 1080i component video performed quite respectably, but barely resolved the highest frequencies at 720p and 1080i. DVI/HDMI is solidly preferred for HD.
Feeding in 480i signals to test the Qualia’s deinterlacing, I was surprised to find that according to my notes and memory, the Qualia didn’t perform as well with my video deinterlacing torture tests from the Silicon Optix test DVD as the Cineza VPLHS51 LCD front projector and several Sony DVD players I’ve reviewed.Weird.
A last issue was seen in the strong white halos that appeared on all sides of the crisscrossed horizontal and vertical black lines in Avia’s sharpness patterns.These artifacts could not be eliminated by any combination of lowering sharpness and other detail adjustments in the Qualia’s menus. SB
The Qualia 006 is, in a number of meaningful ways, the best RPTV I’ve seen. Its resolution is peerless and its black-level performance and contrast ratio make it one of the few microdisplay RPTVs that can be recommended for use in a dedicated home theater. But the false-contouring is an issue for me. Although entire movies could be watched without seeing it, on some program material it was very distracting. And the DVD playback overall was just a bit less pristine than I wanted it to be, especially considering how much “legacy” software we’ll all be watching during the transition to HD packaged media.
And yet, when the Qualia 006 was turned on, so was I, most of the time. I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of it when the right material, particularly HD, was playing. I can’t say this $13k set earns an unqualified recommendation, but I can say that I enjoyed it immensely under most conditions. In spite of some imperfections, there’s a thrill in the Qualia 006 that I’ve seldom experienced in home theater.