Top positive review
86 people found this helpful
This HDTV was worth every penny.
on November 20, 2013
10/15/2015 UPDATE: Nearly two years later and this TV is still going strong for me! Definitely a fantastic purchase. As someone mentioned in the comments, there is in fact a Game Mode that reduces lag. You have to go into Scene Select and then select Game Mode. I tested some older generation games on it that require sharp reflexes like Ninja Gaiden on NES and it works great - so I can in fact recommend this TV for gaming after all. Still love this TV.
I have just purchased this TV and it was delivered on 11/20/2013 - I will be updating this review in progess as I continue to explore different functions of the TV.
SHIPPING AND DELIVERY - Although this has nothing to do with the TV itself, I will say that I was really disappointed with the delivery. The last time I purchased an HDTV off of Amazon about four our five years ago, the Pilot driver brought the TV in, helped me unpack it and set it up and waited patiently while I inspected it for defects and made sure that it worked. Today, the driver did not even make an attempt to help me unpack or set it up. She said that this was not a "white glove" delivery and that basically she was just here to drop it off. I informed her there was only one option for shipping and it said nothing about white glove - it just told me roughly when it would be delivered. Not sure what that was all about, but I wasn't happy... especially considering when I purchased a TV from Blurst Buy awhile back, the delivery people were awesome and I didn't have to lift a finger. The TV ended up not being what I wanted and I returned it for a refund, but the delivery guys were awesome -- the guys that picked it up were awesome too. I understand that once Amazon turns it over to Pilot for delivery, it's somewhat out of their hands, but considering the high volume of tech such as HDTVs that they churn out, Amazon really should consider beefing up their shipping mechanisms for items such as HDTVs.
PICTURE - So far the picture is great although it does need calibration. My old Sony Bravia 40" LCD was properly calibrated using the Spears and Munsil calibration Blu-Ray and the picture is still pristine. This will take work to get this tweaked right and I will update this section as I go. 11/21/2013 edit: After calibrating the picture with the Spears and Munsil Blu-Ray and with a few of my own personal preferences added, the picture is pristine. But beware the surface of the screen is somewhat more reflective than an LCD if you're used to that sort of thing. It may take some getting used to or just turn all the dang lights off.
MOTIONFLOW: The MotionFlow feature works great, but out of the box it is already enabled and you will probably want to turn it OFF for regular TV viewing. MotionFlow is really only for live sports. Trying to watch a movie or TV show with it on will look very weird because the screen is refreshing faster than the framerate for the source material that you're trying to watch. The result is that live action shows will look like a cartoon as they move around. Home > Settings > Picture > Advanced Settings to disable/enable it.
AS A PC MONITOR - I do a lot with an HTPC that I built sometime back for heavy 1080p gaming, Windows Media Center DVR functionality along with Netflix/YouTube/Hulu with my Home Theater PC hooked straight to the TV via an HDMI cable. Out of the box this TV does not play well with a PC input. It recognizes anything with a PC input and automatically sets the picture mode to "graphics" which leaves all of the picture settings inexplicably grayed out. You can't change anything such as color temp, brightness, cinemotion, etc. I have a GTX 580 NVidia graphics card. The solution for this (thanks internet) is to go into your NVidia Control Panel and go DISPLAY > ADJUST DESKTOP COLOR SETTINGS > Then scroll down to Content Type Reported to the Display and select "Full Screen Videos." Problem solved. Now the TV thinks of the HTPC as any other video source and you can select whatever picture settings you need to. This is especially important since odds are you will have multiple HDMI inputs (your gaming console of choice, a PC, and probably your cable box) - each with their own proper picture settings. If you're a nerd like me, odds are your cable box picture settings may be different than your HTPC picture settings for gaming purposes.
SONY SYNC (11/21/2013) - will be the bane of your existence. Disable it. Home > Settings > Setup > BRAVIA Sync Settings... set it all to off. It kept muting my surround sound system for no reason any time I changed inputs. And I have better luck keeping the audio video in sync with this thing disabled.
MENUS (11/22/2013) - The menus are fairly cumbersome. On my older TV, you could just push Menu and go straight into Picture settings. With this you have to push Home on the controller, go all the way down to Settings, then you can get into Picture settings. This may not seem like a big deal, but I like to be able to toggle the MotionFlow feature on and off on the fly when I'm going back and forth between live sports and regular television/movies.
NETWORK CONTENT: Well this is interesting. If you go HOME > MEDIA > VIDEO, the TV will actually bring up a menu where you can choose between a connected USB drive or any PCs that are set up for sharing on your home network. This is particularly interesting if you have a home server which houses all of your video content. You can access it straight from a menu on your Sony BRAVIA as long as the TV and the computer are on the same network. I was able to watch content that I had recorded on my home theater PC (HTPC) using Windows Media Center while streaming it off of the PC. The con though is that the TV's onboard video file decoder isn't that good and the video quality is bad. You also can't fast forward so trying to FF through commercials of DVR'ed content is not possible. So while this is a neat feature, I will probably just stick with watching the DVR'ed content on my HTPC connected to the BRAVIA via HDMI cable because the picture quality is better and you can FF through commercials. Side note: Windows Media Center records TV content in a .wtv file format. I tried moving a recordered .wtv file (a DVR'ed episode of The League) onto a USB drive and inserted the USB drive into the BRAVIA. The BRAVIA would NOT recognize a .wtv file on a USB drive, but it would recognize the .wtv files in my shared folder on my HTPC. So I can watch DVR'ed content streamed directly from the HTPC but I can't watch DVR'ed video content that is stored on a USB drive. I have no idea why that is. Just a head's up if you are thinking of doing something similar.
- The TV's internal speakers are okay... good enough. But if you're buying a TV this big, odds are you can afford a surround sound system and by all means, do that. I'll just say that if you are piecing your home theater together in parts and can only afford to do a little a time, the TV's internal speakers are good enough to get you by until you can afford to buy a surround sound system.
- If using a surround sound system and you notice the audio and video go out of sync, just turn the TV off and then back on again. This does not happen often, but it can occasionally happen when switching between inputs frequently.
- If you plan to utilize an external surround sound system, I would recommend one with HDMI inputs that just has straight video pass through via HDMI to the TV. The reason for this is that although the TV's specs boast being able to output Dolby Digital 5.1 via the optical cable, often times due to silly Hollywood studio copyright issues it will NOT pass true 5.1 surround sound out of the TV's optical audio out port. It will output 5.1 if the source is over the air DTV, but not if the source is a BluRay. So okay, if your configuration is BLURAY PLAYER (HDMI) > TV > (optical) SURROUND SOUND RECEIVER, then it will only be outputting 2-channel stereo from the TV's output jack. However, if your configuration is BLURAY PLAYER (HDMI) > SURROUND SOUND RECEIVER (HDMI) > HDTV, then you'll get the true beautiful Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio off your Blu-Ray disc as it was intended.
MISC NUGGETS AND TIDBITS:
- The TV will recognize and play .mkv files off of a USB stick quite nicely. That's... very handy.
- If the TV keeps dimming and brightening and you are not sure why, it's probably the Contrast Enhancer. This is a "feature" that adjusts the TV's brightness and contrast based on how much light is in the room. I find this annoying. HOME > SETTINGS > PICTURE > ADV SETTINGS and set the Contrast Enhancer to off if you think so too.
- This TV does not have a dedicated "game mode" like some other Sony Bravia models, but I really haven't had a problem with input lag so far.
FINAL VERDICT (11/28 edit):
There are some nitpicky things I could probably dissect about this TV, particular the menus, but after I have had over a week to really get to know it... I have to say that I really do love this TV. I've used it for a lot of different things. When paired with a decent surround sound system, it really does make for a great home theater experience. I watched Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-Ray the other day and it was just like being at the theater. All I can say is this is a fantastic television and it was worth every penny.
This is also the "non-3D" version of TV. There is a 3D version which is currently listing for a few hundred dollars more. I'm not going to knock you if 3D is your thing, to each his own, but for those of you who could care less about it but still want a great, large HDTV to finalize your home theater, this is the one for you.
12/08/2013 edit: After having spent more time with this TV, I have to mention that I truly believe there to be just a half a second or less of input lag. If you're not a gamer, this does not apply to you, but if you are, be warned. Unfortunately, this TV does not have a dedicated "game mode" either like Sony Bravias in the past. For those of you that don't know, input lag is the half a second or so amount of time it can take for a larger TV to process a picture. Obviously when you are playing a game, you want no input lag because you're gonna get blasted to bits. I guess I found a use for my old 40" Sony Bravia after all. I'll be setting up a dedicated game station elsewhere in the house. Although graphically games look AMAZING on this TV, I cannot recommend it if you are using it for heavy gaming due to the input lag.
12/13/2013 edit: Regarding the price. I purchased this at $1299.99 about two weeks before Black Friday / Cyber Monday in 2013. Around Black Friday weekend, the price skyrocketed and I am now seeing it for $1468.97 as of today. I would recommend adding the item to your shopping cart and then watching it for a few weeks or even a month or so if price is an issue for you. I watched the price for approximately two months and found $1299 to be the "floor" for the price. It would go down a little at a time until it bottomed out at that price for a few days before jumping back up in the $1400s for a few weeks.
I will continue to update this review from time to time as the weeks and months go by and if I found out any more useful tidbits about it, I will be sure to make an edit. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.