Sony KDL-55XBR8 LCD TV Comparisons & Conclusion

Comparisons & Conclusion
The LCD TV most comparable with the 55XBR8 is the Samsung LN55A950, another 55-inch LCD TV with LED backlighting and local dimming. In his review of that set, Lawrence Ullman noted some obvious haloing and black-level pumping, which were nowhere to be seen on the Sony. Also, the Sony's off-axis performance is better than the Samsung's, and the Sony has a matte screen as opposed to the Samsung's mirrorlike surface. Otherwise, both offer excellent—though slightly different—color, and the detail in their pictures is second to none.

However, the Sony lists for $7000—that's right, seven grand. Even though this is less than half the list of the Qualia 005 back in 2004—and for a larger screen to boot—it's still a major chunk of change. By contrast, the Samsung is $5000, the same price as the 46-inch version of the Sony XBR8 as well as the 50-inch Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD plasma. Which would I choose if money was no object? I'd have to go with the Pioneer as the best picture of them all. But if I needed an LCD for its greater brightness and money was really no object, I'd pick the Sony over the Samsung.

The KDL-55XBR8 is a triumph of technology over the limitations of LCD. Its blacks are super-inky, its shadow detail is surprisingly good, its colors are rich and natural, its detail is stunning, and its off-axis performance is better than most LCD TVs. Add to that USB and Ethernet access to digital content and DMex expandability, and you've got just about everything you'd want in a high-end TV. The only sticking points are its cumbersome menu system and sky-high price tag, which will keep all but the most well-heeled videophiles away. Still, if you've got the scratch, this is among the finest TVs available today.

None-better blacks, great shadow detail
Razor-sharp detail
Beautiful colors
Better-than-most off-axis performance
Great 120Hz frame interpolation
USB and Ethernet access to digital content
DMex expandability

Cumbersome menu system