0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Age Rating: All
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Other
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hardware Reviews
April 04, 2002
What They SayThe Review!
Sony 36" XBR400
Reviewed by: Jose R Gonzalez
I was looking to upgrade my TV last month and I happened to pass by my local Tweeter (a high end video/audio store in Mass). I had read about the Sony 36XBR400 in a Crutchfield catalog and lo and behold, they had it on display. They were displaying the pan & scan version of "A Bug's Life". All I can say is that it looked perfect. What's more, the signal was coming in through an S-Video connection. Then and there I knew I had to buy this set.
The XBR400 is big and heavy. Its also sport a completely flat screen. It has a total of six (!) video inputs. The image quality is so good, I can barely stand to watch normal cable anymore (I am looking into getting DirecTV soon). I became a videophile with this machine. I soon found the glories of watching anamorphic DVDs in the set's anamorphic mode. But the best was yet to come.
Knowing that a set is as good as the quality of its input, I also bought a Toshiba SD5109 progressive scan player a week later. The Sony XBR400 was so good, I could tell my old Panasonic A110 player wasn't up to snuff.
Let me tell you something: you haven't lived until you have seen an Anamorphic DVD on a progressive scan DVD player feeding a good TV. My Toshiba SD5109 is hooked up to my XBR400 via expensive Monster component cables made out of silver. When viewing a reference quality DVD (like T2: Ultimate Edition), the color depth is OUTSTANDING! Plus, because its getting a progressive signal (480p), there is no flickering, making the picture seem better than what you can see in a theater. When you pause the image, you get a perfect still since you are getting all the information at once. Its quite an experience. The only downside to the component input is that you have to manually set 16x9 mode (it's automatic through the S-Video inputs).
Just last night, I saw Blue Submarine 6 #4 Minasoko. Even though its not anamorphic, the video was just damn perfect. The bit rate for this DVD was consistently above 9 Mbits/s. Because you can see such great color depth on the set, you are getting an almost 3D experience. I shudder to think what an anamorphic
transfer for Blue Sub would have looked like. You could only tell it was non-anamorphic when the credits started rolling (text looked jagged).
Of course, the problem I have now is that I can really tell the difference between an Anamorphic DVD and one that is not. It's not all that bad watching an anamorphic
title (Blue Sub and a Bug's life still look incredible), but good Anamorphic DVDs (like T2: UE) just looks so good, everything pales in comparison. For mainstream movies, I will no longer buy non-anamorphic.
Bottom line: if you like tube TVs like I do, and you can afford it, I'd say go and buy it now. Its a great investment.
My next step will be getting an HD TV decoder so I can experience a good HD Signal (720p or 1080i). I expect more good things to come from my XBR400 when I get this.
Picture in Picture
Automatic 16x9 Mode when using S-Video
2 Component Inputs (Progressive Signal Compatible)
3 S-Video Inputs
1 HD Input
No Automatic 16x9 Mode when using Component Inputs