Well, since you started this as a new thread I'll jump in. :-) In my case I have the same TV and have the same opinion as Jeff. I don't know about you, Jeff, but the answer for me cannot be a projector. It must be a self contained flat panel. Somewhere in the 50-55" range.
CRT still beats anything out there.
I bought my 36" WEGA XBR right before the flat panel craze started. Just to save room I'd like to go to a flat panel but my picture is so darn good and I paid so darn much for this TV I just can't move yet.
Nothing will beat good old tube units but some are not as bas as others, look at the Panasonic Plasma models for a pretty good overall picture, LCD flat panels come in third of the 3 for picture quality.
I have a 32&36 inch XBR that are both sitting in my garage right now. I can't say I didn't like the picture, they are VERY good. I have just switched to LG plasmas, a 42" for the bedroom, and a 60" in the living room. I have had just about every style of tv that Sony makes. (except the plasmas which are no longer made) I have a Sony projector in my theater with a 119" Dalite screen, had a 57 XBR and even a 13" sony in the kitchen. I used a 60" grand Wega LCD as a loaner from my dealer untill the new LG came in. I have always loved Sonys video. IMO, the new LGs I have are alot better, except for the sound. The XBRs were awesome sounding for a tv. In all fairness, the XBRs I replaced didn't have the HDMI, and the smaller two didn't even have comp. video due to the age. The new sets both have the ability to do 1080p and thats a huge differance. If you hook a blu-ray up, forget about any older XBR even coming close. If you want to just watch normal old cable tv, the XBRs were my favorite. The new Bravia is as good a picture as i've seen for LCD, but I still prefer the plasmas. I know i'm comparing apples to oranges, but given the right source, you should be able to get a flat panal that bests your XBR for a very reasonable price.
I had an XBR 36" HDTV CRT Sony - the only thing that comes close is Panasonic Plasma IMHO...you gain in precision geometry an dbrightness but you still lose a bit in dark scenes. Overall,,,,I think Panasonic Plasma is a slight improvement...
LCD .....forget it - hopeless at dark scenes....although Blade Runner on Blu Ray with 1080 P screen and proper 1920 x 1080 pixels is utterly AMAZING - best Blu-Ray I have seen so far and I have seen amost...
ditto the above. I have a 36" Sony XBR. Tube. Gorgeous. Just wish it could scale to my 110" projection system. I love the big image, but the 8-10 yr old Sony XBR CRT is killer...especially on the blacks...if you have the space, keep what you've got unless blu ray is burning a hole in your pocket....
I have a Sony 32" High Scan CRT and the new Pioneer Kuro Plasma will replace it this year. It is still generally agreed that CRT provides the best picture, it's just not practical to make then large enough to give you that "you are there" experience.
I have a KDL-46xbr4 Sony LCD TV that outperforms my Sony 32" XBR CRT because in 1080i you really don't start to see the difference until over 42". The 32" is great, the 46" LCD is "greater". There's your answer, IMO. Take a look and see if you don't agree on 1080i input.
No 4:3 standard definition upconverted picture on a flat panel display will come close to the picture on the Sony XBR.
However, if your source is letterbox high definition, then a flat panel display will be better from the standpoint of resolution, but not from the standpoint of color accuracy or black level.
So, the answer depends on your source(s) and what type of viewing you value.
I have the 36 WEGA XBR and tho it doesnt come close in actual quality, my Hi Def LCD Projector cant be beat for the true movie experience. The Panasonic Plasma is close as I have seen to the XBR, maybe 85-90% of its quality. LCD is getting better but still lags sadly behind Plasma if you have any sort of trained or critical eye for picture quality.......some love it, if its flaws are not apparent it is an option for some.
An SED TV would do the job. It's a flat panel AND it's CRT based. It's also ready for prime time. Unfortunately, nobody wants to bring them to market.
I have the 34" Sony XBR picture tube (16:9). The punk weighs 230 lbs. Never seen a LCD that touches it-even the new XBR 120 Hz "motion flow" flat screens.
BluRays from the PS3 are a dream. We watched cars a few nights ago. It was ASTOUNDING.
Many of the responses so far discussing the advantages over CRT seem to be centered on resolution and size. I have no doubt a 32" or 36" XBR can't compete in those areas, but is anyone here saying that their flat panel set - of any type - can better a XBR in the areas of color accuracy*, shadow detail, and consistent image over a broad viewing angle?
I know moving to a flat panel will be a series of tradeoffs, but if I can't get ~95% or better of the picture quality of my XBR in a new flat panel then (for me) I'm not sure it matters how big the screen is or how many pixels it has. Ideally I'd like it to be 100% or better.
*(assume either a professional calibration or an end user who knows how to do a decent cal job with readily available utilities)
The Sony 34" CRT series, #'s 510, 910, 960, 955 were all flat, rectangular, and outstanding! No longer made but the beauty is these amazing machines can be had for as little as $300 on Craigslist and Ebay, get 'em while you can!
...is anyone here saying that their flat panel set - of any type - can better a XBR in the areas of color accuracy*, shadow detail, and consistent image over a broad viewing angle?
The NBC television network still uses HD CRT displays as their reference monitors. Until I see TV networks switch to flat panel displays to quality check their programming before being broadcast, I will continue to believe CRT displays are superior in the areas you describe.
I stopped by a big electronics store last night. The salesperson told me that in his opinion there is no flat panel tv that equals the CRT for shadow detail. He said he bought the last XBR tv his store had for less than $500 and will not upgrade it, yet.
His feeling was the best shadow details were to be found in the Pioneer Kuro and Panasonic plasma models, but that they would not equal or better an XBR in shadow details and in comparison would block up in the shadows. His feeling was that the reasons to go to the plasma were size and high definition resolution in the mid-range (on the scale from black to white). He opined that if one wants shadow detail and a good image from an analogue source, that one should stay with the crt - assuming one has the space for same.
I love the look and size of a flat panel. I love the mid-range resolution from a high def source. The Pioneer seems pretty pricy for such rapidly changing technology (the Panasonic less so).
Does anybody know when technology will improve to provide good shadow detail in addition to all the other flat panel benefits?
Sigh, I went to Tweeter after work today and looked at the Pioneer Elite Kuro, the comparable Panny, and the Sony XBR5 LCD. Knowing that none of them were optimally set up, it was still disappointing to see that none of them (actually no flat panel in the store) had any kind of real shadow detail (compared to a great tube TV). The plasmas also seemed to have a problem with pure whites, although that could have been a cal issue.