Archive for the ‘TV’S’ category

The latest 57-inch HDTV…for the bathroom

February 7, 2008

 Every day sees more evidence that people are spending their entire lives in the bathroom. Take TVs, for example: No longer is it unusual to find a waterproof flat screen situated above the sink, in the shower, or pretty much anywhere else one can imagine (which we’d rather not, thank you).

Instead, it’s become a question of how big the bathroom TV is. And Aquavision has an answer, to the tune of a 57-inch LCD in full 1080p HD glory, according to Dvice, with a reflective screen that serves as a mirror when turned off. All this is getting increasingly passe as the bathroom TV market gets, well, saturated. What we really want to see is a “Pimped Out John” for the masses.  

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Aquos X is the World’s Thinnest Production TV

January 24, 2008

The new Sharp AQUOS X series are only 1.35 inches deep, which is thinner than their old IFA bags and, according to Sharp, makes them the world’s thinnest LCD televisions in production. All of them have full high definition resolution at 37, 42 and 47 inches. What is Sharp thinning trick this time? Among other things, all the tuner and in/out connections are in a separate box, which is connected to the panel by a single cable (Ed: like my old Philips Flat TV.) The rest of the specs look very good.

 

Sharp claims a 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (900:1 absolute) for these LCDs, and a 450 cd/m2 brightness with double-speed 120 Hz refresh rate and 176 degree viewing angle. A proprietary 12-bit processor, designed to give smooth tone variations, handles the color processing. The system has 3 HDMI inputs along with analog and digital tuners. It has a thin-profile 8-speaker soundsystem integrated in the chassis, with a 1-bit digital amplifier.

Putting about 10 pounds of electronics in the separate tuner box means that the 46 inch model weighs only about 48 pounds, which will be great for your back if you hang it. It will be available in Japan this March for ¥350,000 ($3,290) for the LC-B-37XJ1, ¥430,000 ($4,050) for the LC-B-42XJ1, and ¥480,000 ($4,510) for the big LC-B-46XJ1.

 

Sharp LC-32D43U

June 25, 2007

As a member of the smallest screen size we currently review here at CNET, the 32-inch Sharp LC-32D43U competes against other name-brand 32-inchers from Samsung and Sony, among others. This is a step down from the company’s 1080p model, the LC-32GP1U, but it still offers the company’s best specs for a 32-incher in other performance areas. And in our lab tests, the LC-32D43U did turn in an impressive score, exhibiting deep blacks, more accurate color than we’ve seen from Sharp in the past, and decent uniformity. It lacks the kind of picture adjustments found in our favorite 32-incher so far this year, Samsung’s LN-T3253H, but in some ways, it exceeds the picture quality of that set. All things considered, the Sharp LC-32D43U makes a good choice if you’re willing to spend more than budget sets demand.

Design
The LC-32D43U continues Sharp’s tradition of sleekly styled HDTVs, and it starts by bucking the current trend of using nothing but glossy black for the flat-panel cabinet. Sure, it still sports plenty of gloss, but around the black frame is a slim silver border along the top and sides that flows a bit wider along the bottom edge to encompass the small silver speaker grilles. Its overall appearance is unusually rounded and organic, a look that’s reinforced by the smooth lines of the stand and the oblong curves of the base. 

 Including stand, the Sharp LC-32D43U measures 32.3 inches wide by 23.2 inches tall by 9.6 inches deep and weighs 43 pounds. Remove the stand, and the panel measures 32.3 inches wide by 20.9 inches tall by 3.8 inches deep and weighs 36.4 pounds.  

Sharp’s been using the same remote for years, and the LC-32D43U is no exception. It has full orange backlighting, the ability to command four other pieces of gear, keys that are nicely spread out and well-differentiated, and a generally logical button layout. We say “generally” because the key controlling aspect ratio is stashed clear at the top of the long wand, the one for freezing the image is given an unduly important spot near the main directional keypad, and the one for changing picture modes is hidden beneath a flip-up hatch. The menu system is simple enough to navigate and includes helpful explanations that appear along the bottom.

Features
With a native resolution of 1,366×768, the LC-32D43U matches the pixel count of most other flat-panel LCDs on the market. The set can fully resolve 720p HDTV sources, and all sources, including high-def, standard-def, DVD and computers, are scaled to fit the pixels.
 

Sharp doesn’t include as many picture adjustments as many of its competitors, including Samsung, Sony, and Vizio, so serious picture tweakers will probably be left unsatisfied. We would most like to see the ability to further refine the TV’s color temperature beyond the five available presets, but at least the most accurate “Low” preset comes much closer to the standard than it did on previous Sharps. We did appreciate the wide range of the backlight control, which affects the TV’s all-important light output and black level performance. We also liked the ability to adjust five of the TV’s global picture preset memories, along with a sixth User memory that’s independent per input

Other picture controls of note are an “OPC” setting that uses a sensor to automatically adjust the picture according to room lighting, a “black” setting that affects shadow detail, and a three-position noise-reduction control. For standard-def sources, you also get a 2:3 pulldown control labeled “Film Mode” and an “Image Compensation” setting designed to optimize the picture for fast or slow movement. 

Disappointingly, the LC-32D43U cannot change the aspect ratio of HDTV sources at all–unless your source can switch aspects, you’re stuck with the default “wide” mode. There are four aspect ratio choices available for standard-def sources.

 

The Sharp LC-32D43U offers the standard array of connections, albeit split between two different bays. The bay on the top right side houses a pair of HDMI inputs, a VGA-style PC input (1,360×768 maximum resolution), an RF-style coaxial input for antenna or cable, and an optical digital audio output for surround signals from the ATSC tuner. The bay on the back boasts two component-video inputs (one of which shares a slot with a composite-video input) and an AV input with composite and S-Video. 

Performance
All things considered, the Sharp LC-32D43U outperformed most of the low-buck LCDs we’ve tested and was competitive with the well-reviewed
Samsung LN-T3253H in most areas of picture quality. It evinced relatively deep black levels and more accurate color than many Sharp TVs we’ve tested, but its standard-def picture quality left a good deal to be desired.
 Our tests began by setting up the Sharp’s picture for optimal performance in our darkened room, which meant reducing the backlight control to achieve a maximum light output of around 40 ftl. We chose the Low color temperature preset, which came relatively close to the NTSC standard despite tingeing the grayscale a bit too red, and made sure to disable the automatic light-sensing function, which caused the set’s image be too dim for our tastes. For a complete look at our picture settings, click here or check out the Tips & Tricks section above. For our formal evaluations, we set the Sharp up next to a couple of competing LCDs, namely the aforementioned Samsung LN-T3253H and the Viewsonic N3235W along with our color reference, the Pioneer PRO-FHD1, and checked out V for Vendetta played over the Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player at 1080i resolution.  Sharp has been responsible for some of the deepest black levels we’ve seen from LCD, and the LC-32D43U can produce a nice, dark black itself. Compared to the Samsung, its letterbox bars and black areas were basically identical in depth of black–both to the naked eye and according to our measurements–which is among the best we’ve seen from LCDs at this size. When Evie stands with V atop the building to watch the pyrotechnics, for example, the black of his robes and hat, along with the night sky and the black letterbox bars themselves, all appeared satisfyingly dark. Shadow detail was solid for an LCD as well, although the Samsung still looked a bit more realistic with its shallower rise out of black, especially in near-dark areas such as the folds of V’s robe.  One area where the Sharp outdid the Samsung was in its consistent grayscale in dark areas–specifically, it didn’t get too blue. Evie’s skin tone on the rooftop and the actual dark sky looked more natural, for example. That’s not to say the Sharp’s color couldn’t use some improvement. We mentioned its slightly reddish overall grayscale, and as we indicate in the Geek Box below, its primary color accuracy could also be closer to the HDTV spec. Color decoding was off significantly as well, but instead of Sharp’s customary red push, the LC-32D43U actually undersaturated red, as well as green, in comparison to blue. We adjusted the color control as best we could to compensate, but blue areas such as Creedy’s door and Finch’s shirt still appeared too intense and oversaturated compared to our reference Pioneer. This effect wasn’t as bad as red push or green desaturation, however, so overall, the Sharp’s color accuracy was still superior to most LCDs.

  Screen uniformity on the Sharp was quite good for an LCD, without any of the banding we’ve seen on the company’s larger models. We did detect that the edges were slightly brighter than the middle when viewing flat black fields, such as the night sky behind Big Ben, but the difference wasn’t distracting. Like all LCDs, the set’s black areas became more washed-out looking when viewed from off-angle, but the falloff was about equivalent to the Samsung, and there was no discoloration to speak of.  

In terms of resolution, the Sharp LC-32D43U delivered a slightly sharper image than with 720p sources than with 1080i, although we did not notice the difference in real program material, as opposed to test patterns. According to our tests, the Sharp also failed to correctly deinterlace 1080i film-based material, and we did detect some moiré in the stands of Raymond James Stadium from the HQV disc, and the grille of the RV at the end of Chapter 6 of Ghost Rider, for example. All of these issues considered, we recommend feeding the Sharp 720p sources as opposed to 1080i when you have the choice.

 With a standard-def source, namely the HQV test DVD delivered via component-video at 480i resolution, the Sharp turned in a decidedly below-average performance. The set could not resolve every line of horizontal resolution and evinced some flicker in the color bar pattern. We detected softness in the grass and the stone bridge from the Detail scene, and while increasing the sharpness control did improve the image a bit, it also introduced visible edge enhancement. The Sharp’s noise-reduction control, even set at High, didn’t clean up the snowy, low-quality shots of skies and sunsets nearly as well as the Samsung or even the Viewsonic, which lacks a noise reduction control. We also tested the Sharp’s image-compensation setting with both slow- and fast-motion scenes, and saw that it sacrificed some detail, and it failed the 2:3 pulldown test in the in the “fast” setting. We left it on “slow,” because to our eye, there wasn’t any benefit to “fast.”  

In its favor, the LC-32D43U did smooth out the jagged edges from moving diagonal lines, such as the stripes on a waving American flag, and it engaged 2:3 pulldown detection quickly and accurately. Despite these good points, if you’re going to be watching a lot of standard-def via analog inputs (as opposed to SD channels from an HD source such as a cable or satellite box that converts everything to high-def–obviating the Sharp’s problems), you may want to choose another set.  

We also tested the Sharp as a PC monitor using the VGA input, and it performed relatively well, although not quite as well as the other two 32-inch LCDs. It fell just short of showing the full horizontal resolution of a 1,360×768 signal, but text still looked crisp albeit a tad softer than perfect. Notably, you have to choose between 1,360×768 and 1,024×768 resolution from a menu–the Sharp apparently does not, like most HDTVs we’ve tested, automatically adjust itself for the incoming resolution. We also connected a PC’s DVI output to one of the Sharp’s HDMI inputs, and got basically identical results.

Waterproof LCD for outdoor viewing

May 16, 2007

Summer will be here in a flash, and we’ll be forced to abandon the comfortable confines of our favorite TV-viewing lounge chair. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have to stop watching

Frontgate’s “SunBriteTV” doesn’t just have a bright LCD screen that can be seen in daylight, but it also is outfitted to protect against the elements with an “all-weather enclosure safeguarded from rain, dirt, insects and scratches.” Even its cable ports and remote are watertight and dust-resistant.

This Terminator of television sets, which can withstand temperatures ranging from minus-24 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, comes in two sizes: 32 inches for $4,000 and 23 inches for $2,500. Now we just need to figure out how to mount it in the Cooper limo’s whirlpool.

Sony KDL-52XBR2

April 13, 2007

LCD has come a long way, but judging from the best LCDs we’ve tested, which currently belong to the KDL-XBR2 series from Sony, those liquid crystals still have some catching up to do. The 52-inch KDL-52XBR2 offers the same characteristics that we liked about its smaller brethren–the KDL-40XBR2 and the KDL-46XBR2–to a larger screen size, but otherwise there isn’t much difference. We loved the big set’s style, including that unique interchangeable bezel color, and we were equally impressed by its comprehensive feature set, anchored by three HDMI inputs and more picture controls than any other competing HDTV. But the KDL-52XBR2 still can’t compete against the best plasmas in a dark room with the lights turned low–its black levels are still noticeably lighter. Other than that, the Sony KDL-52XBR2 is one of the better HDTVs available, plasma, LCD or otherwise.

Design
Overall we really liked the looks of Sony’s high-end LCD, although it doesn’t have the same economy of form as many other HDTVs, such as the competing Sharp LC-52D92U. In other words, there’s a lot of room devoted to nonscreen real estate. Specifically, the screen is ringed by a thick bezel of silver, wider on the sides than above and below. That bezel is surrounded by about an inch of glass that’s in turn ringed by a strip of silver. Cool touches include an illuminated Sony logo (it can be turned off) and indicator lights suspended within the glass. Including the matching silver stand the KDL-52XBR2 measures 55.7x35x15.1 inches (width-height-depth); without the stand attached it measures 55.7×32.6×4.9 inches.
The XBR2 series of LCDs is unique among HDTVs in its ability to change color. For $350, Sony will sell you a kit consisting of a new bezel and a new matching cover for the stand, changing the predominant color of the set to red, white, brown, black, or blue. You can also order a wall-mount kit–Sony’s official model is the $300 SU-WL51–if you’d like to hang the panel on a wall. Sony’s longish remote stands out as a model of ergonomics, although we would have appreciated glow-in-the-dark keys or other illumination. It can operate three other devices, such as DVD players, satellite or cable boxes, and VCRs, and the company behind Blu-ray took care to equip its clicker with device controls for “BD/DVD” gear. The big, central cursor control falls naturally under the thumb, and just enough shortcut keys are available to quickly cycle through picture, sound, and wide (a.k.a. four aspect ratio) settings. A convenient Tools key calls up a couple oft-used submenus, including picture and sound modes, wide-screen controls, and closed captions.

The tools menu is even more welcomed because the main menu key summons a seemingly unnecessary interstitial menu that’s too focused on tuner controls; three of its five options pertain to cable and antenna channels, which cable and satellite box owners will almost never use. Otherwise, Sony’s menu design is characteristically clean and thoughtful throughout, offering text explanations of various functions and logical progression from basic to advanced functions. We also liked the input menu, complete with options to name used connections (including custom names up to 10 characters) and skip unused connections.

Features
A high pixel count is one of the Sony KDL-52XBR2’s major claims to fame. The panel has 1920×1080 pixels, otherwise known as 1080p native resolution, which enables it to resolve every detail of 1080i and 1080p sources–the highest available today. All other sources, whether HDTV, DVD, standard-def TV, or computer, are scaled to fit the pixels.
The Sony KDL-52XBR2 offers more ways to adjust the picture than any LCD on the market. Settings for the standard brightness, contrast, and other controls can be saved individually to each of the three adjustable presets, labeled Standard, Vivid, and Custom. In addition, each of these presets is independent per input, so your contrast setting in Custom for Input 7, for example, can be different from Contrast in Custom for Input 6. (In case you’re wondering, Sony likes to use the term “picture” to denote contrast.) This provides a huge amount of flexibility in adjusting the picture for different sources, lighting conditions, and user preferences.

There are four color temperature presets.The default for Custom, Warm 2, comes closest to the standard, but only the two least-accurate are available in Vivid and Standard. Other basic picture adjustments include a 10-step backlight control, which adjusts the intensity of the light behind the screen (unlike the backlight settings of many TVs, Sony’s are also independent per picture mode and input); five noise reduction settings; two DRC modes (only one is available with non-HDMI sources) and a DRC palette control (which is disabled in certain circumstances). DRC stands for Digital Reality Creation, and we cover its effects in the Performance section of this review. There’s an additional menu section labeled “advanced settings” that appears only when you’re in the custom picture preset. In general, your best bet is to leave all of these set to Off. The options include a four-step Black Corrector, which is best left to Off to preserve shadow detail; a four-step Advanced Contrast Enhancer, which changed the overall brightness and seemed to dim areas near black as the image got brighter (and that’s again best left off to preserve shadow detail); a five-step gamma control, which should be set to Low in dim environments for the most-linear rise from black to white; a three-step Clear White control that belongs in Off since the other settings just make whites look bluer; a four-step Live Color setting that seemed to make reds more intense, although Off provided the best color balance; and a Live Color control that we preferred to leave in Normal for the most-accurate primary color reproduction. Next up is a white balance setup screen that includes 20 steps each for Red, Green, and Blue gain and bias, in case the out-of-the-box color temperature doesn’t come close enough for your liking. The four-step Detail Enhancer should be left to Off with already-sharp sources like HDTV and even DVD since it introduces unnatural edge enhancement and there’s another four-step control entitled Edge Enhancer, which had no effect we could discern.

The Screen menu offers a solid selection of four aspect ratio controls for both standard-def and high-def sources. Many of the aspect ratio choices, especially the Zooms, allow you to adjust the horizontal and vertical position, as well as the vertical size, of the on-screen image. We appreciated the unique option to specify how the set deals with 4:3 programs, as well as the option to automatically detect wide-screen shows and properly size the picture. A Display Area control adjusts overscan; we loved its Full Pixel option because it showed the extreme edges of the image, and didn’t subject 1080p-resolution sources to scaling. We recommend choosing this setting unless you see interference along the edges. In the setup menu, there’s a room lighting sensor that changes the picture’s brightness according to how much ambient light it detects. For this reason, we left it off for critical viewing. The setup section of the menu also houses a “game mode.” Unlike Samsung’s similarly named mode, the Sony’s does not wreak havoc on picture settings; Sony’s engineers claim that it skips most of the set’s video processing to eliminate the possibility of delay between the controller and what happens on-screen (we didn’t test this mode).

You can also choose between standard-def (ITU601) and high-def (ITU709) colorspace for each resolution–a nice option, but usually you’ll want to leave these at default settings. In addition to the obvious effect of saving a few pennies on power consumption, the Sony’s three-position Power Saver setting has a significant effect on picture quality. For optimal image quality we liked the “Low” position because it was still bright enough for viewing in a darkened room, but also resulted in deeper black levels than the default “Off” position. The third choice, “High” power saving, limited light output just a bit too much for our tastes. Conveniences abound on the KDL-52XBR2, but one surprising omission was picture-in-picture, which isn’t available on any Sony flat-panel LCDs this year. The company did include a freeze function, however, as well as extensive tuner extras like a favorite channel list. There’s a built-in ATSC tuner but no CableCard–not a huge omission in our book, but still notable given the XBR2’s price. The KDL-40XBR2 has more connections than most other HDTVs, starting with three HDMI inputs: two around back and one on the side. There’s also a pair of component-video inputs; one A/V input with composite- and S-Video; another with only composite; and a VGA-style PC input that can handle resolutions up to 1920-by-1080 pixels at 60Hz (a big improvement on the VGA input of Sony’s KDS-60A2000 rear-projection set). The side panel also includes another A/V input with composite, along with a headphone output. Other audio outputs include one stereo analog and one optical digital audio, the latter for passing surround soundtracks from the over-the-air digital/HD tuner to an audio system.

Performance
As we mentioned at the top, the KDL-52XBR2 offers very good all-around picture quality, although its black-level performance just doesn’t measure up to the best plasmas. We especially appreciated its extremely accurate color and clean image. We noticed a few video processing issues, including an inability to properly de-interlace 1080i signals, but we don’t consider those deal-breakers. All things considered, the KDL-52XBR2 is the best-performing LCD at its size that we’ve tested.
As always, we began by adjusting the Sony’s picture for optimal performance in our darkened home theater which meant, among other things, reducing its blindingly bright light output to a more-comfortable 40 ftl or so. Once we had that under control, we turned to the myriad other adjustments. The set’s grayscale in the default Warm 2 mode was accurate out of the box, and after we used the fine controls it was much better up and down the scale. We could have wished for more linear progression, however; the color of gray would spike slightly toward warm (red) or cool (blue) at different level of brightness, which caused its “After” geek box number to be less-than perfect (see below). For our full user-menu settings, click here or see the Tips & Tricks section above. After adjustment we set up the Sony next to some other high-end 50-something flat-panel HDTVs we had on-hand, including the aforementioned Sharp LC-52D92U–a 52-inch LCD and the Sony’s most direct competitor at the moment–the Panasonic TH-50PX77U plasma, and our reference plasma, the Pioneer PRO-FHD1. We slipped the Eragon Blu-ray disc into our
Samsung BD-P1000, slid the resolution selector to 1080p, and we settled back to see how the KDL-52XBR2’s picture compared. The first thing we noticed in our darkened environment was the KDL-52XBR2’s mediocre black-level performance. During dark scenes, like the beginning of Chapter 9 showing the enemy stronghold and the shadowed forge, the set clearly didn’t deliver as deep a level of black as the others; the black letterbox bars looked brighter, as did the darkest shadows and the overcast sky. Black-level performance was definitely better than some of the sets we’ve tested recently, including almost all LCDs, but against the inky-looking Sharp and the two plasmas it simply wasn’t as deep. The Sony did evince plenty of detail in shadows, however, an area where it clearly beat the Sharp and matched the plasmas. The clothing of the evil blacksmiths came across well, for example, with the hairy decorations and patterned hides easily discernable. The smoky forge areas also brought out a bit of false contouring in the fading light of a torch, and later in the white sky, that was visible on the Panasonic but not the Sony or other sets. The foggy mountains also looked a bit cleaner on the Sony than the Panasonic, with fewer motes of video noise. Accurate color is one of the KDL-52XBR2’s strengths; indeed, its primary color scores are as accurate as that of the excellent Pioneer PRO-FHD1. The green of the forested hillsides looked nice and natural as a result, as did the blue sky and river as the heroes ride through on horseback. Grayscale accuracy was likewise visible in skin tones, which remained neutral and natural regardless of lighting. Arya’s face as she sneered up at her captor was flush in the firelight but not overly red, while Eragon’s face in the morning light in the barn appeared equally natural and not too pale. Unfortunately, despite spot-on color, the Sony’s simply did not look as rich or saturated as the other displays. That’s because its lighter black levels washed out the image a bit, robbing the picture of that extra impact in a dark room. We’ve received a lot of reader e-mail regarding complaints about Sony LCD TVs’ exhibiting “clouding” or what’s been called a “Mura effect.” The issue appears as amorphous, brighter areas in scenes that should be a uniform darkness across the screen. From reports via e-mail and in forums like AVS we gather that many models of Sony LCDs are affected, but for the record the Sony KDL-52XBR2 we reviewed did not exhibit this issue. In other words, the Sony’s uniformity across the screen was solid for a flat-panel LCD. In the darkest test patterns we detected that the sides of the screen appeared somewhat brighter than the middle, but it was imperceptible in real-world program material. Likewise the upper-right corner was very slightly brighter, which was visible in letterbox bars if we looked hard for it. Of course the set evinced none of the “banding” issues we noted on the 52-inch rival from Sharp, and we didn’t detect any “clouding” regardless of brightness level. That’s not to say that we discount the reports we’ve seen elsewhere, but only that this particular model, which was (as are all review samples CNET receives) hand-picked by the manufacturer. Off-angle viewing was very good for an LCD, although we’d give the slight nod to the Sharp if we had to choose. Its image didn’t seem to wash out quite as quickly as we moved from dead center toward the edge of the viewing area. Of course, both of the plasmas stayed equally true from all angles. As a 1080p big-screen HDTV we expected the KDL-52XBR2 to deliver plenty of detail, and it didn’t disappoint. In scenes with the mature dragon, his gray-blue scales looked sharp down to the finest detail, and we could see the tiny points of the spines below his jawline. We saw similar sharpness in the mane of Brom’s horse and the blonde of Eragon’s hair. As always we looked out for differences in detail between the Sony and the lower-resolution Panasonic, and if anything the Panasonic appeared a bit sharper. We attribute that subjective difference to–once again–black-level performance; the superior contrast of the Panasonic made the fine details “pop” ever-so-slightly more. Objectively speaking, with a still frame the Sony KDL-52XBR2 was able to resolve every line of a 1080i source, but the moving tests on the HQV HD DVD gave it problems. It failed both the video resolution and film resolution tests, which other displays, such as the Pioneer, passed. We noticed that the bleachers during the pan over
Raymond James Stadium looked a bit softer, but the difference was subtle during program material. We adjusted all of the DRC controls to no avail, although we got the best results from using DRC Mode 1 with Reality at 1 and Clarity at 100. We recommend using 1080p sources when possible with this set, although if your choice is between 720p and 1080i you should still choose 1080i. With standard-def sources, the Sony KDL-52XBR2 turned in a below-average performance. Using the HQV test DVD, we saw some jagged edges in moving diagonal lines, and the waving American flag evinced more jaggies in the stripes than with many other televisions. With DRC Mode 1 engaged, we saw some flicker in the still resolution/color bars pattern, so we left DRC turned to Off. Also, the set failed the 2:3 pulldown test, displaying moire in the stands behind the cars in all of the available DRC modes. The Sony’s noise reduction modes performed very well, however, cleaning up the nastiest snowy noise in the sky and sunset scenes without hampering detail too much–although the highest setting did soften the image noticeably.  
Please note: We have received reader complaints, both in the user opinions and in e-mails, regarding uneven backlighting in XBR2 and XBR3 series flat-panel LCDs from Sony’s 2006 line. Since we didn’t notice abnormal backlight behavior in any of our review samples, including this one, we can’t comment firsthand one way or the other.

ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!! $1,000,000 Laptop…The HELL with Flossin’

April 10, 2007

At long last, relief from public ridicule. You’ve been suffering in the embarrassment of having to tote around that low-end $350,000 Tulip Ego for months, but someone has finally come along with a portable computer worthy of your elevated station. (How on earth could you be expected to carry a laptop that costs less than your cell phone?)A rather mysterious company named Luvaglio of London has supposedly created a $1 million laptop, which Luxurylaunches says is “believed to integrate real diamonds and other precious jewelry into the chassis of the system.”

ARE YOU KIDDIN’!!! A 350000 Laptop…Who’s Flossin’

April 10, 2007

Dutch company Ego-Lifestyle has brought its latest high-end luxury laptop, the Tulip Ego, to the States just in time for the holiday shopping season. Barneys New York will be the first U.S. retailer to feature the handbag-shaped laptop and its corresponding interchangeable “skins,” which are available in a variety of designer fabrics and finishes. And all this can be yours for a mere $5,000. The laptop, first introduced at Milan Fashion Week in the spring, has a 12.1-inch screen, an AMD Turion processor, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and a DVD/CD burner. But if you’re willing to go even further and sell off, say, your house or your firstborn, you might consider the limited-edition Platinum, Diamond, and Otazu Ego Diamond models. The latter, designed by Rodrigo Otazu, sports a total of 470 diamonds arranged in tulip, heart and Otazu logo patterns. The Otazu (pictured) currently sells for $350,000.