Loewe Articos 55 is pretty darn nice. This is a DLP rear projection set.
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Are you sure you are looking for a rear projection LCD and not a flat panel LCD set? The flat panel sets are as thin as plasmas and lighter in weight than plasmas. They are even brighter than plasmas and are therefore well suited to a room that does not have good light control for tv viewing. The flat panel LCDs are better than rear projection LCDs with respect to brightness and have richer, better saturated colors.
I believe that LG has a 50" flat panel LCD and Sharp has a 47" model.
The downside to all LCD sets is that they are a bit slow in response to rapid changes in the image. Also, black levels are not particularly deep on any LCD, making dark scenes in movies a bit murky. The other big downside for the flat panel LCD versus the rear projection LCD is the higher price of the former.
Another thin option to consider is the rear projection DLP sets from In-Focus and RCA. They have 50-60" sets that are only 7" deep. I saw them at CEDIA and they looked surprisingly good. I expected to see focus problems and geometric distortion at the edges, but nothing really gross showed. Like all DLPs, these sets do exhibit "rainbows" to those prone to seeing them (that includeds myself, although I can ignore them). The big negative is that these sets are priced like big plasmas.
The new Sony Rear Projection LCD is fantastic. The XBR models come in 50, 60 and 70 inch versions and will do 1080P if I'm not mistaken. Sony has a new set coming in '05 with their own version of LCOS. It will produce 1080P for sure. It was a huge hit at the Vegas show. If you can wait, it might be worth it. I understand it might be pricey though. Bang for the buck (there are better sets at much higher prices),I like the Sony rear projection LCD's.
Thanks for all your responses! I will probably wait til '05. I personally was leaning towards a Sony product like a Grand Wega 50" LCD rear projection and wanted to see if I could do better in that price range. I am not an expert but like to buy the best at a given price point. I was concerned also since some reviews I read said the Sony LCD RP had problems with black levels.
The Sony LCOS set is so dramatically better than any other RPTV set I've seen (I saw it at CEDIA in Indianapolis). BUT, it is projected to cost $10,000 and the only announced model is a 70" set that is 25" deep. Not really suited to most small rooms. Still, I plan to shoehorn it in somewhere when it becomes available (projected Jan. 05).
JVC also showed a LCOS RPTV of about 50" size that was priced, I believe, in the $4,000 range. It had nice colors, but suffered a bit from poor black levels. Still, it is worth looking into.
I like the Sony Grand Wega LCD sets, even if the black levels are less than ideal. Because many movies and tv shows have dark scenes, black level has become the most significant weakness of all of the competing technologies, with the exception of the old CRT tv. But, most CRT sets have there own set of problems (burn-in, convergence, poor detail, etc). That is why I prefer DLP sets in the 50"-60" size. I can live with the occasional rainbow.
You should go see the new WF and XS lines of the Sony LCD RP TVs for youreself. IMHO, people have spent so many years repeating the "poor black levels and fast motion" line with this technology, they may have failed to notice how much ground has been made up with ever-improving circuitry. My research concluded that these new Sony LCDs are a more matured and reliable technology than any current DLP.
The current XBR has no processing, circuitry or PQ advantage over the new XS; while the less expensive XS offers numerous advantages - cable card, HDMI, etc etc. In this line of TVs, the only thing to wait for in 2005 will be the next XBR in Jan/Feb.