My dad has the previous gen XBR 32" and I think the picture is better than the newest gen XBR 32" which my sister owns. The truly flat screen leaves something to be desired in my opinion.
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It has been established a while back that the 32" xbr100 was the best set Sony has ever produced. It had a seperate tuner from the set and was awesome. It was the generation right before component video inputs were made avaibale, so this set does not have that capability but, for NTSC it is unbelievable.
I have a three-year-old pre-Wega 35" XBR (that's right, it was 35" not 36" like the current Wega). My dad has about a 10-year-old 29" XBR. I think all of the XBR's are great and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. I've seen the newer Wega's and think they do have a slightly superior picture to mine. They should, they have more lines of resolution when watching DVD's. BTW, Sony is supposed to be releasing a 40" XBR this fall.
All of the Sony XBRs that I have checked out throughout the years have all delivered great pictures. The only set I feel that could compete with the XBRs are some of the late model ProScans (1995-96) and maybe some of the earlier Panasonic Superflats (mid 90's). I am also in love with the current Sony KV-36XBR100 36-Inch Wega Flat Screen (I have placed one in a "hypothetical" 20K home theater system earlier this year). And while I could get a 36-Inch set in my living room (my Panasonic CT-27SF37 is located in my bedroom), I think that $3,000.00 is a lot of money to spend on a non-HDTV (although, the 36XBR100 is HDTV ready). With HDTVs going for under $3K now (and I love that 43-Inch Table Top Toshiba by the way....... I Saw one at my local "Best Buy" for around $2,200.00 last weekend...... so if I ever decide to get me a set for my living room, it will have to be that one), there is no excuse not to at least looking into one of the more affordable HDTVs. But anyway, there is the Sony KV-36XBR100 that you can look into. And also, you could look for a used 32XBR100. That was an excellent set when it was in its production run, and in my opinion, it was one of the best sets ever from Sony. When I was shopping for my TV for the last few years, while I was originally looking at the 1995-96 ProScan TOL 27-Inch set (forgot what model number........ but it had one of the sharpest, most detailed pictures I've ever seen...... and we didn't EVEN have DVD Players back in those days..... if I had that set now, I cannot even imagine how good a picture that set will be able to produce with a DVD Player), I was also looking at a Sony KV27XBR45 (about $1,200.00 to $1,500.00 list in about the same time period.... 1995-96), and I also thought it had a wonderful pictute. It was also one of the more stylish and sleekest looking sets that was available during the time. If you want THAT set (I'm talking about the 27-Inch XBR), then you may be able to find one for about $400.00 to $500.00 used. But if you want a Sony XBR TV, I would have to say they're wonderful sets, and I would recommend them without any hesitation.
Ericbee is right on the money. I HAVE an XBR2 (circa 1994). It is the special rare monitor-only version (much better looking than the one with the speakers attached IMO, and also a notch above the standard XBR...). I have had it for 7 glorious years, and plugged into a top-level line conditioner, it beats the new Wegas easily IMO (and any other direct view TV for NTSC...).
The ONLY TV I might (and thats a big maybe) switch to if I had the room would be one of the Pioneer Elite Pro rear-projection units- but for a direct-view TV, the ultra rare XBR2 can STILL not be beat.
I still have my old 20 Sony in my den/home office. Still looks great. My other TV is a 32" Panasonic. The picture is great and it always gets comments from everyone who comes over. What helped is it is plugged into the digital plug on a Audio Power Pack II AC conditioner. Did wonders for the colors.
I'm sorry Whatjd:
There are some corrections that I need to make in reference to some model numbers that I have discussed with you last night. The current 32-Inch XBR I was referring to is dubbed the KV-32XBR400 (and not the 100). And the 27-Inch set I was referring to is dubbed the KV-27XBR45. I humbly apologise for the errors.
And by the way, if you like the current 32-Inch KV-32XBR400, then I have you know that Sony has just released this year's version of this set. It is called the KV-32XBR450. I've just found out about it at Crutchfield. To check it out for yourself, you could go to "www.crutchfield.com", and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Sony Store", and once you get to the store, click on the link where they have the 32-Inch to 36-Inch televisions. Then click down to the bottom of that page, and you should see the link to the new 32XBR450.
Watjd- I will have to look at the model #- there is a '2' after the XBR (as in XBR 'squared' they were calling it at the time). Back in '94, it was ~$4k- I got a steal on it, 'cause Sny announced they were discontinuing the 'monitor-only' model. I believe I got the last one in Canada...
I got a great deal on the 32 XBR 250, and it sucked.
Just check audioreview for some accurate nightmare stories.
The first and second generation Wega TV's were really awful, but you couldn't generally notice the abberations until you spent a couple of hours in front of them.
My local TV repair Sony Authorized center had no knowledge of the service menu, they used magnets (like in the 1950's) to "fix" my picture, not to mention, making the pic worse, and scratching the cabinet in the process.
Sony said, it's in spec, we're not fixing it again.
Nice treatment for a $2000 purchase, right?
Thankfully, when I was ordering a service manual, I got a nice (so far only 2 that I know of) person on the phone who gave me the # for Sony Corporate.
Within 1 week I had a brand new XBR 400 delivered, free of charge.
THankfully, I didn't have to boycott Sony, as I had planned.
As with all large corporations, some products are good, some are bad.
Sony, unfortunately, is driven to produce a new model each year, and many times, good products are discontinued and replaced with inferior ones.
My next TV money will go to a smaller company, like Loewe.
As for Sony, I like the 34" 16:9 XBR, but it costs $4k, although it does have a built in HD tuner (great, I wonder how useful that will be).
Hello Whatjd -
I own the 32 XBR2. I purchased it from my local Sony Outlet in Tracy, California in 1998 for $1200 sealed box. I believe my set may have been one of the last ones manufactured, it has 1998 date, as the set was discontinued thereafter
If you really want one of these sets, it may be hard to find one but the internet does allow for pretty broad access. I don't know where you are located but if you are in the U.S., call the Sony outlets in your area. They can tell you what they have in inventory at that store but they can't quote you the price as that is corp policy. This could have changed but it is a bit of a pain if the outlet is like 3 hours away and all you save in comparison to the superstores is say $100. Speaking of which, I would also try some of the other tv stores that your area may have. I say this because last year I saw an XBR2 at Andersons TV. It was a floor model and just to show how well this tv has held its value, they were still asking $2000.
As for performance, the set is very good but I don't have experience with the newer ones with the 3:2 pull down and component inputs. The XBR2 has both analog and S inputs and I think, IMHO, the picture with a good S cable, is as good as my brother in laws 36XBR250 using component inputs. Again, this is my opinion. In addition, the set is quiet. I don't know about you but it bugs me to hear that "popping" noise when changing channels or switching inputs. Maybe I got lucky as mine does not make a sound.
Whatever you do, stay away from the first generation WEGAs. Due to the weight of the tube, the yoke had a tendency to slip which caused some "bowing" in the corners, specifically in the top corners. Some of this bowing was alleviated by the technicians coming out and adjusting the yoke but most people fixed it themselves by going into the service menu and changing some of the parameters. This did not always work however as for some owners the bowing was still there though less severe.
I think the mark of a good tv is how long it stays on the market without any changes. Notice how quickly Sony has come out with new Wega models? I am not saying these newer sets are not good but then again I believe the XBR2 came out in 1994 and was not replaced but discontinued 4 or 5 years later.
Good luck on finding an XBR2 but I think if your budget allows, buy the 40" Sony Wega and enjoy.