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OK, I've seen many comments here to the effect that there's no real reason to buy a 1080p set, since nothing is broadcast in 1080p (and may never be) and only HD-DVD / Blu-Ray discs, which are still scarce, provide it. That seems fine as long as you're comparing apples to apples in terms of TV set technology (plasma vs plasma, LCD/DLP vs LCD/DLP). The problem is, what if you're looking at a set that isn't available in the lower resolution?

As anyone whose read my recent posts can probably guess, I'm talking about Sony's SXRD sets. They only come in 1080p. I've compared them side-by-side at the local Circuit City with Sony's LCD rear-projection sets and the LCD/DLP rear-projection models of Samsung and others. I can really see the difference in basic image quality, even with these SXRD sets in their standard "Vivid" (a.k.a., way overblown for display in a store to give maximum punch for the sales guy) mode:

- Flesh tones on the SXRD were much more accurate than on a Samsung DLP, as evidenced by a demo of CSI with a night-time scene.
- Black levels on the SXRD were as good as the DLP or better, and way better than the LCD sets.
- I can see rainbows clearly on DLP sets, without finger waggling, so that knocks them out right away
- I easily see the motion ghosting on every LCD rear-projection model I've looked at (including the Sony Grand Wega models), even when it wasn't a sports program being demo'ed.

In all cases, I stood the same distance from the sets that I'd be sitting if it were in my home (about 8 feet). I looked at both 50" and 60" sets, and while I'm thinking the 50" should be fine at that distance, the 60" model did look more "at the movies" like in terms of how it filled my field of vision.

In short, SXRD just wins hands down for me in terms of visual quality, and the cost premium over the Sony LCD sets is (for me) nominal -- about $300 for the 50" model I'm looking at, slightly more for the 60" non-XBR model. It's not even a huge gap when compared to Samsung or the other manufacturers.

Given this, would you agree that I should just pony up the extra cash and get the SXRD set, even if I won't easily see the difference between 720p and 1080p? Considering I'm going to be staring at this thing for the next 8 to 10 years, I think I should go with what my eyes are telling me about the basic visual quality, regardless of what the broadcasters plans are in the coming years.

- Joe -
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