With the Realta HQV video processor on board, I expected the set to ace the HQV Benchmark DVD tests, and it did. The NR (noise-reduction) control was very effective without degrading the picture quality, though I did notice a bit of motion lag in the roller-coaster sequence of these tests. Motion lag, which looks like ghostly afterimages following fastmoving objects, is a common problem with LCD TVs, though I must say I didn’t notice it in any of the movies I watched.
The set compensated for the process of converting movies at 24 frames per second to video’s 30fps almost instantly at both 480i and 1080i. Resolution tests at 1080i revealed the most welldefined horizontal and vertical blackand- white detail I’ve ever seen.
Looking at DVDs, I started with Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. Watching the expanse of space that begins the movie, I couldn’t help noticing that it wasn’t, well, black as space should be. It was washed out without the depth I expect to see in such scenes. Ideally, you want the black letterbox bars to “disappear,” which is what happens when a TV has a very low black level. That didn’t happen here.
But then a spaceship flew into view, and I was dazzled by the intricate detail in all the surface structures. I was similarly impressed with the fine detail in Chewbacca’s hair and the asteroid field where the heroes hide while repairing the Millennium Falcon. Color was gorgeous, too; in particular, I was wowed by the subtle variations of white on the ice planet Hoth. Skin tones were entirely natural, and other colors, from the green of Yoda’s complexion to the orange of the rebel pilots’ flight suits, were right on the money.
Shadow detail was good, though not the best I’ve seen. I noticed a few solid blobs in the darkened interior of the Millennium Falcon and the dark swamps of Yoda’s planet, Degoba. On the other hand, detail was surprisingly good in a scene showing Darth Vader against a dark background. I could clearly see the shades of black and gray.
Next up was Moulin Rouge with its riotous colors, which were rendered exquisitely, including the green absinthe, Satine’s red boudoir, and the rainbow of costumes worn by the Diamond Dogs dance-hall girls. Detail was likewise stunning, especially in the flyover of Paris with its crowded buildings, the ornate stage sets, and the opulent elephant structure where Satine seduces her suitors. Shadow detail wasn’t bad, either. A fair amount of detail was visible in the Paris night scenes and Christian’s dim room.
Turning to HD DVDs, Training Day was eye-popping in its detail—from the LA skyline and raindrops on Alonzo’s car to a long shot of the freeway, all were exceedingly well defined. There was a depth to the picture that I’ve rarely seen. Color was sensational, too, with natural skin tones and the colorful urban graffiti deftly rendered. Shadow detail was somewhat lacking as Alonzo and Jake pass through a dark tunnel, and I noticed a bit of contouring (solid bands of color where smooth gradations should be) in the opening sunrise, but it wasn’t too bad.
U-571 was similarly stunning in its detail, with crisply rendered pipes and conduits in the submarine, beads of sweat, facial hair, even the wood grain of doors in the officers’ club. Color was gorgeous, including the German sailors’ green uniforms, the red and pink dresses at the dance, and the beautiful blue sky. In underwater scenes, subtle variations in sea’s color were faithfully reproduced with very little contouring.
Very few high-definition TVs achieve that elusive sense of looking out a window, but the Syntax-Brillian Olevia 747i is one of them, delivering some of the best video images I’ve seen in a long time. Granted, its blacks are not as deep as I’d like, and the shadow detail is less than stellar, but these shortcomings pale in comparison to the vivid color and breathtaking detail produced by this set. TPV