So Sony has finally unleashed its demon lovechild PS3 and is slowly taking over the world with its ludicrous technology and mind-blowing processing power. But that's not enough - Sony wants you to go the whole hog and mate its console with the best possible viewing panel. Enter the KDL-46X2000U, 46 inches of prime Sony 1080p-supporting TV mania.
It's a typically good-looking set, all very serious and corporate cool with the black screen fading away to a glass surround. In the flesh, it's surprisingly imposing. Alongside the three Scarts and two sets of component-video inputs, the two HDMI ports mean you can keep your Sky HD box and PS3 hooked up for constant use – no need for a third as the PS3 is a Blu-ray Disc player too. And because the Sony supports full, unmolested 1920 x 1080 signals, it aims to get the very best out of all three.
But none more than the PS3, as Sony believes every game will come prepped to 1080p so you'll need it to take full advantage. A quick(ish) game of Gears of War at the recent Sony European showcase proved as much.
It's not just about the PS3 though, honest. The KDL-46X2000U features Bravia Engine EX, crazy techwizardry that boosts standard-definition signals by four times to create "Digital Reality". Nice. No matter what the source, though, this TV kicks out simply brilliant HD images as lifelike and balanced as almost any other out there.
Things are just as capable sonically, thanks to the inclusion of Dolby Pro-Logic II and BBE Digital amplification. Which essentially makes the Sony X Series your PS3's new best friend.
Philips Ambilight 37PF9731D
Philips' range of Ambilight LCD TVs have won acclaim from every corner, which is why we were drooling in expectation to sample the delights of Ambilight technology for ourselves. And we weren't disappointed.
From a purely aesthetic point of view, the Philips is as pretty as any TV we've yet seen. The chunky black frame seemingly floats independently of the rest of the set, with the bottom speaker grille set back above the simple glass stand. It's a beguiling effect that serves a practical purpose: to conceal the Ambilight technology.
The Philips is a 1920 x 1080 resolution set, though frustratingly doesn't accept and play back full 1080p source material so it will never get the very best from your Blu-ray or HD DVD player, let alone your PS3. It's a curious omission on Philips' part that may push some buyers towards other manufacturers, but that would be a shame, as on a screen this size and with all Philips' picture processing technology working overtime - we're talking Pixel Plus 3 HD, Clear LCD, Digital Natural Motion, Active Control, etc, etc - the 37PF9731D still cracks out one of the best images we've ever seen. There are myriad tweaking options too.
And then there's Ambilight.
For newbies, this is Philips' rear-facing light-projection system that shines different coloured light from the back of the set onto the wall depending on what's on-screen. Designed to create a more immersive experience and reduce eyestrain, it works like a charm and looks way cool to boot. Turn the lights down and the Ambilight on and the effect on watching a favourite film is pretty extraordinary.
Connections are comprehensive too, with composite-video, s-video, analog stereo, two USB ports and a two-in-one card reader located on the sides and dual HDMI ports, component-video, dual RGB Scarts, VGA PC, co-axial digital audio in and out, and even an Ethernet connection on the rear. This last one is for hooking up to a home network for photo, video and music streaming.
Err, and what happened to the Sharp XE1 Series??? Probably the best image i've seen on a "mid range" LCD yet....
A really important test is missing
A problem with nearly all modern LCD and Plasma TVs is hooking a PC to it... they won't accept the full resolution... And the hilarious Overdrive, which is still incoporated in most TV sets and even switched on when watching HiDef material over HDMI....
These reviews are just waffle
I found these reviews completely pointless as no real effort was made to say how well the sets performed with different types of material. For instance, how does each set cope with interlaced input when compared to a CRT (the majority of LCDs are laughably bad at this), what is the colour perfomance, how do the sets cope with shadow detail, etc?
Really, all LCD tests should also run up the set next to a decent quality CRT and comment on the differences - without exception, a CRT will wipe the floor with any current generation LCD, we just need to know how big a quality drop we're in for!
Do some better research
Good article apart from the glaring screwup:
"A quick(ish) game of Gears of War at the recent Sony European showcase proved as much."
So Sony were showing off a flagship Xbox 360 title at their showcase were they?
no, the real question...
... is which sets actually were capable of 24 bit color? I have yet to see an LCD or plasma that can, that is over 24" - and isn't a computer monitor. What a crock, paying so much for a set without that capability.