Customer Reviews: Sony KDF-E55A20 55-Inch LCD Rear Projection Television
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on October 25, 2005
I've had this TV for about a week now. It is my first non CRT TV (first HD TV as well), so I had high expectations as well as quite a bit of uncertainties. When the TV arrived, my wife was worried that the size of the TV was too big for our family room, and she said she got motion sickness when she watched the TV. But after about a week, she had no such complaints.

I chose this TV after an extensive search, but the main reason for me was the picture quality that I saw at Best Buy and Circuit City, etc. I think when buying a TV this expensive, you should check out the TV image for yourself. The online reviews can be helpful, but seeing the TV with your own eyes should be the main factor for your decision.

For me, the brightness and the sharpness of this TV was very impressive. I didn't even consider plasma TVs by the way, because of my budget. But after seeing this TV in my house for a week, I am glad that I didn't even consider plasma TVs. The reason? I am a movie buff, and the projection TV image is so close to the movie theatre experience. It's rather smoky, and not too sharp, and I think that kinda mimics cinema film projections. Plasmas are way too sharp and bright to have that kind of retro experience. So if I was to buy another TV, I think I will prefer the projection TVs over plasma TVs.

I bought the Sony TV stand made for this particular model, and I am okay with that. I don't like the fact that the back of this TV stand is wide open. All the messy wires are in plain view in the back of the TV stand. So I put white inkjet papers taped in the backside of the stand, and my wife loves it.

You get the best view of the image in the front of the TV (at least 5 feet away). The image looks dark from the top or from the sides. When there is bright sunlight directly in front of the TV, It's really hard to see the image, but I am sure that's the case with all the TVs. The important thing is that you get almost no reflections whatsoever.

Image quality is great with HD broadcast, and DVDs are ok. I warned my wife before I turned on the TV for the first time that our regular analog channels will look terrible, but after watching several regular channels, my wife said that it looks just fine. And I do agree with her. Later on I found out that her motion sickness was caused by the choice of image wide option. We had the TV on wide zoom, and that distorted images in a strange way that made some people dizzy. Now we keep it in Full mode, so everything looks the way they are broadcast. I don't mind black bars in the sides of the regular broadcasts.

The worst thing about this TV is the remote control. I like to use the sleep mode at night, but I have to press way too many buttons to get to that mode. Same with closed caption mode. Sony put all the settings options into this circular chunk of buttons instead of giving dedicated buttons for some popular options. But I can control my Sony DVD player and Sony video player with the same remote, and I do like that.

One other bad thing is that there is no PC input for this TV. I knew about it when I bought the TV, but maybe other people want the PC input so they can use the TV as their computer monitor, which is unnescessary since I only use laptops.

The last problem is that I am hooked on this TV, and I just watch and watch HD broadcasts, because I am just amazed with the big, crisp moving images that fill my room. It's like having a theatre in your living room.
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on January 22, 2006
So first off I'll explain as much as i can from the experience.

I order it from takes abuot 2 1/2 weeks to arrive from the time i order it. A third party delivers my TV with 3 Guys. the BOX IS HUGE!!! They help carry it downstairs, unpack, setup, and take away all my boxes etc. Overall a Good Experience. But i hate waiting for the 2 1/2 Weeks~!!

After plugging in my cable directly into the TV ( NO HD YET). I start to surf around and the picture quality is TERRIBLE. Regular channels MTV, CBS, NBC etc are all pixelated and grainy looking. I play around with the Wide Screen features but it just makes it worst as you stretch out an already Pixelated Picture. Overall for regular channels, my regular Sony CRT 32 inch is MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER( i've had it for 10+ years)~!!!! 1 Star

After that, I decide to play a DVD. Put in my Progressive scanner and pop in the Matrix. Picture quality was Ehhh. I was expecting something SPECTACULAR. Overall I felt that wasn't much of a difference from my regular TV, just the fact that you can watch it in Widescreen. 3 Stars

Then the Cable guy comes in and Installs my HDTV. You don't need a box for this since it already has a Cable Card Slot. Its great sinc e you don't have to 'rent' the box from your cable provider. This was much cheaper (about $1.50 per month for the cable card VS Cable box $6.00). However the only downside is that you can't have on-demand and the TV Guide Features. But for saving about $5 bucks a month ( which will add up) I'll suffer with out those features. So after installing my HDTV (takes abuot 30 Minutes) i turn on ESPN HD. 1 word WOW~!!!!!!. It was truly amazing. i saw everything~!!. The picture quality was truly jaw dropping, super clear! You can even see the Mesh on the Jerseys. I basically felt like i was in the Game. I start to surf around more in the HD channels, and they were just gorgeous to watch~! The only draw back is that there are about only 15 HDTV channels, and out of those channels ONLY certain shows are in HD( most Prime time Shows. 24, Lost, Prison break, ETC). Also to note the sports games are in HD but NOT ALLWAYS. So you can be watching a football game from an ariel view in HD, but once they change camera angles, it might not be HD. Also REALLY fast movement ( like nascar) at times will be pixelated, i guess since its soo fast. But overall for the HDTV i give it 4 Stars. I would give it 1 more if there were more channels~!

So my overall conclusion is that this TV is basically JUST for HDTV nothing else. If you plan on using this for regular TV WITH OUT HD DON"T BOTHER, get a regular tv.

Just to Sum UP

Overall experience with Amazon = 5 Stars

Regular TV Channels = 1 star

DVD = 3 Stars

HDTV = 4 Stars
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on February 10, 2006
Some people have complained about the quality of standard-definition (non-High Definition) TV signals on this system. Of course, standard-definition signals are going to look much poorer than high-definition signals, but I was very surprised by the fact that standard-definition actually looks a lot better on this TV than it did on my 27-inch standard-definition JVC TV which was top-of-the-line in its size range when I purchased it in 1999.

The controls are fairly easy to understand and the manual is helpful, though it would be better if it gave more detailed information.

The sound quality is very good. I had thought the sound on my old JVC was good, but I was missing out on the bass (low) range, when I started watching this unit I was amazed to hear what I had been missing.

Note that the effective size of the screen is measured at 55 inches, however since most signals are still standard-definition, you won't use the full screen. When watching standard-definition TV, the effective screen size is about 46 or 47 inches, because the sides of the screen are not used.

Update August 8, 2006: A couple gripes

1. The "SteadySound" feature, which is supposed to level the volume by making loud sounds quieter and quiet sounds louder, so you don't have to turn the sound up to hear the program then get blasted out of your house when the loud commercials come on, doesn't seem to do anything. I do not notice a difference whether it's on or off.

2. Only one HDMI input. What were they thinking??

3. If you're thinking about using this TV with your computer video card's DVI output, don't buy this one. While you can use a DVI to HDMI converter cable to use this TV as a computer monitor, the TV converts the input so that you can NOT set it to native resilution and therefore the screen displays poorly. Sony's official position is that this TV was not designed for use as a computer monitor. I now regret buying it, because though it is a terrific TV for both standard and HDTV, I spend much more time on the computer than I do watching TV.

I still keep my rating at five stars, because for what it's designed to do the TV is awesome.
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on December 28, 2005
What most people don't understand with this TV and all other TV's of this type or plasmas, is that when you go to buy one of these TV in a store like Best Buy, they have all of them wired up with the best technology, i.e., HDMI cables, digital broadcasts, optical cables for sound. Simply buying this TV and hooking it up to standardcable is going to make it look like a normal TV magnified, in other words "horrible".

But, if hooked up to digital cable or satelite using premium quality cables this TV looks wonderful. HD broadcast are the best, they make all other channels seem so inadequate.

*also a think to know......most cable companys offer digital cable packages with set top boxs, but a thing they don't let you know is that most channels( the ones you get normally with regular cable) are still broadcast in analog and look bad, you don't really see the quality until you get to add on channels like all the movie channels and special interest channels but they look great

so no matter how much you spend on a TV it can look like comlpete crap if you dont hook it up right.

I believe that this TV is the best purchase you can make for the money.There is no obvious "screen door effect" as with some LCDs, Looks just as good as any plasma I have seen, plus you don't have to fear burn in, just let it play.The menus on the TV are great and allow easy navigating from various input source. My only semi-complaint isn't against the TV itself but against BEST BUY for advertising in its stores that this TV has a PC input (VGA,SVGA) witch once I got it home I found it didn't. On the fact that the main reason the sales man convinced me to buy this TV was that he told me it had a PC input, I returned to best buy to tell them of it only to have them try to convince me that it did, but they are idiots and would not understand, besides that, I love it.
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on January 3, 2006
We just upgraded from a 19" set we'd had since college to this 55" beauty. Before settling on this sony television we did a lot of research. Here are my observations about the tv that prospective buyers might be interested in.

Visibility from the side was much better with this television than with non-LCD modes of projection, and it is even better when compared to other LCD projection tvs of different brands. We specifically compared it to the panasonic 61". The image does get a little darker when viewing from the side, but you can still totally see what is going on.

Our 6-year-old DVD player did not have the progressive scan technology needed to view dvds in HD. So, if you have an older DVD player you can plan on replacing it if you want to make this tv worth while.

This tv is huge. We debated going with the 60" sony, but we are glad we kept it down to 55". We sit about 17' away from the television, and I wouldn't want to be any closer than that with a set this big.

When we first started watching regular DirecTV programming with this set, we were thrilled to set it to wide zoom so the picture was huge. But then we noticed the picture was fuzzy. Other reviewers say the picture gets distorted when you have it set to view 4:3 ratio stuff using the whole wide screen. And I expected everyone to look stretched out. But actually, you end up with a little fuzziness around the edges of objects, which totally gives you a headache. It is best to view 4:3 ratio stuff in the normal mode, and after a short time you don't even notice the black vertical bars on the side. When you watch 16:9 stuff in the wide zoom mode it doesn't distort the image, but some of the picture gets cropped off. For instance, the bottom line of subtitles disappeared on a movie we were watching.

We've used a regular rabbit-ear antenna with our old tv, and I mistakenly thought we'd need some super-duper antenna to pick up the local HD channels. I was wrong. Our rabbit ears pick them up wonderfully. It is just a shame DirecTV doesn't have more HD offerings. We could get a special HD dish, only to get an ESPN and Discovery channel in HD and some movie channels, with everything else staying the same. So, don't expect all your channels to miraculously look brilliant just because you buy this set. As most people know, a channel has to be broadcast in HD to be viewed in HD.

We've only had this television for a couple of days now. And we still have a lot to do as far as setting up the remote control to be most convenient. It is a universal remote, so we will be able to use it for local channels, DirecTV, and our DVD player once my husband sets it up to do so. And speaking of the remote... it is huge, which is one of my slight complaints.

We love all the inputs, including one that you can open up on the front of the set.. perfect for the Playstation and the camcorder.

I feel that you can't expect to get a better television than this one, for a comparable price. My only real reason for not giving it 5 stars is that I feel this set requires a lot of tweaking to get everything to look good. And sometimes there seems to be an issue with HD broadcasts where shows will be quiet and then the commercials will be really loud. However, I'm sure this is probably the case with all HDTVs, and it may not be a reflection on this set in particular, or there may be a way we can fix it, which we haven't figured out yet. But once you get the HD broadcasts looking good you will start to be so disappointed by how regular channels look. The thing I noticed most watching an HD football game, was the grass on the field. You can actually see individual blades of grass being kicked up into the air with each tackle. I don't care for football, but watching it in HD really blew me away.

Lastly, my personal preference is that the stands made specifically for this type of television are ugly. We bought a nice 64" wide oak piece, and it adds a nice modern-meets-traditional element to our traditional living room. There are a lot of natural wood television stands on the market now, designed specifically for large wide-screen televisions such as this.
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on June 2, 2006
We just "Downgraded" from a 56" DLP to this fine baby last week.

So far this tv looks amazing. Im not rating anything on sound as We hook everything up to our home theater amp.

Bought this during all the memorial day sales for an awesome price.

Setup was a breeze, picture quality is awesome if you sit the right distance from the tv. Anyone who complains about the picture on this tv is seeing the following:

SDTV - if you watch anything in Standard def on this tv, it will be a dissapointment over a normal CRT tube 27" tv. Standard def only displays at 480 lines interfaced, vs the theoretical 1080i that this tv can do (native tv resolution on this tv is a nice 768p though)

CABLES - You need good cables to bring out the best in your tv. If you have this hooked up to a digital sattelite or Digital cable box. Go through Component or HDMI with GOOD cables. Heck, you spent 2 grand or more on a tv.. spend the extra $200 on cables please.

DVD PLAYER - Still not happy with your dvd resolution? Buy a HD-DVD or a traditional DVD player that will upconvert to 768p or 1080i. You will not be dissapointed.. again.. buy good cables.

DISTANCE - The reccomended min distance for watching this tv is 6.8ft Try 8. you will see the black dots when you get close, this is normal for a lcd rear projection.

So far, with this tv hooked up to great equipment, the Tv, in a nutshell, is Awesome.

Be warned if you go look at this tv in a store comparasing shopping. Not all Tv's are calibrated correctly. You might be looking at a tv with really bright contrast int he store, but when you get home its dull.. that can be fixed and SHOULD be calibrated for YOUR light settings at home.

Pick up any Pixar DVD and do the THX cablibration. you will be shocked at the diference.

and heck.. you cant go wrong with a Sony.
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on December 5, 2005
... because it looks far better than any other large-screen you'll find for the price, and I pity anyone who spends twice the money on plasma. Yeah, plasma might look better from the sides, but aren't you going to be sitting front and center anyway? Okay, I agree with the other reviewers: once you get it home, you'll worry about it dominating your living room. Trust me: watch a couple of DVD movies or HD broadcasts and you'll be happy to make the extra room. Really, it's nothing compared to the old VW-sized rear-projection units. But the real joy is the picture itself. I bought top-dollar component video cables for my progressive-DVD player and it was worth the 60 bucks. Think full cinema immersion! My VCR picture is a nightmare, but I have a feeling it might have something to do with the standard, unshielded RCA jacks I'm using. Another thing: when I ran the auto-program on the antenna, (we're too cheap to spend the money on cable!) I was amazed to find just as many digital stations in my area as there are standard broadcast! And the HD digital stations look better than anything else! I'm not a sports fan, but I must admit, seeing a bit of a football game with 5.1 surround on this TV is the next best thing to being in a stadium. Did you know that they record the crowd noise on a separate track for the back speakers? But I digress... Anyway, for almost 3 grand, you'll have some major buyer's remorse at first, but it will go away quickly. Soon you'll be planning movie parties... okay, everyone bring a dish and a 12-pack and we're going to watch all 3 LOTR movies back to back next Sunday!
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on January 20, 2006
I got this model about 2 months ago and I gotta say it's the best TV I've owned. I don't miss my old 52 inch rear projection behemoth one bit (gonna gut it, take out the screen and let my nephews use it for a puppet-show stage!).

The thing that struck me when I saw this unit in the showroom was the quality of picture for the price. From all angles, the picture looked terrific. Once I got it home, I found that the programming and other control features were very intuative to me. The set also comes with the Cable Card feature, which is attractive to me as I hate having any more boxes attached to my TV than necessary. One of those necessary boxes is my DVD player, and with good cables, the picture is almost as stunning as my HD channels.

The only bummers I've experienced so far were having to buy a stand for the TV (you really need a stand specially made for these kinds of TVs, and they ain't cheap!)and a barely noticable hazy area on the screen that's only visable when the unit is turned off (doesn't affect the picture quality at all).

All in all, a great TV.
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on July 11, 2006
I was considering buying a Samsung DLP as that was what many suggested...even had one on order...but cancelled to purchase the 55" Grand WEGA. Several reason included:

1) I found the contrast of the DLP to be too unnatural. I know that it is good to have a bright picture...but it was too contrasty. Movies which I have seen in the theatre didn't look proper.

2) I like the speakers on the side of the screen. Reason is that it creates a consistent backdrop that is at the same distance from the viewer's eye to the image and backdrop... to accentuate the picture. Too bad not very many TVs follow I guess that it is a fashion item where consumers want less of a tv frame.

3) Lamp should be easy to change when that is necessary. From what I can gather from the manual, you pull open a door on front and slide in a unit. Reasonable at about $160 so no big deal.

4) Non-HD programming looks good. Sony has an 'upconverter' through its 'digital reality creation' video processing. So non-HD programing is upgraded to near HD by digital mapping.

For those that are shopping....make sure to view the TVs at various stores. Each store have different setups and configurations.

This TV should suit us fine for years ahead.
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on March 13, 2006
This is a great TV, and I am very happy with it. On top of that, the experience with Amazon has been great. Number one, the price is great, couldn't find a better one around. Number two, the delivery went smoothly, no problems. The only thing is that you should add a few days to the delivery date, it takes a few more than the predicted. Overall, easy, simple, and the TV looks great!
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