Features Gone WildThe massive 006 is one imposing TV, but it's almost all picture. The 70-inch screen is surrounded by a black frame - which helps make the picture pop - and is covered by a nonremovable, half-inch-thick pane of clear acrylic. While this tends to cause more room glare than you'll see on an RPTV without protective glass, S ony's e ngineers explained that it's an integral part of t he display and serves to protect the delicate lenticular s creen.
Most such screens are designed to increase the horizontal viewing angle - or how far you can move to either side and still get a bright, clear image. But Sony's screen also increases the vertical viewing angle, so you don't have to be sitting down to get a good picture. In fact, the Qualia's screen was both brighter and more uniform than those on other microdisplays I've seen whether I looked at it standing up or lying on the floor.
You get some serious user features for your 13 grand. Unfortunately, a backlit remote isn't one of them. The slim, metal wand that is included is a holdover from past high-end Sony TVs, and I'm not its biggest fan. Its high points include good looks, a large, friendly cursor control, and an economical button selection, but the similarity of the keys can make it hard to use.
I have no complaints about Sony's onscreen menu system. Despite a remarkable number of options, it also provides an uncommon degree of comfort. For instance, when you highlight an option, a brief text explanation appears. There is also an extensive array of picture adjustments, some of which are described below.
The Qualia's hefty 100-watt audio system uses a pair of attractive removable column speakers on either side of the screen and a built-in powered subwoofer. Still, it lacked sonic impact for such a large TV. You'll want to use a bona fide surround sound system for watching movies.
Tweak CityThe Qualia 006 takes about 45 seconds to reach full brightness every time you turn it on. There are three picture presets, including an excellent Pro mode that comes amazingly close to ideal image quality. I can't begin to cover all of the picture tweaks, but a few are worth mentioning. Setting Color Space to Wide expands the image's color gamut, producing deeper hues. Cinema Black Pro controls a mechanical iris, and when this was on, it increased the depth of blacks, but at the expense of some brightness.
On the other hand, in my quest for image purity, I left a few controls turned off. These included Clear White, which gave whites a blue tinge; Detail Enhancer, which added artificial edge enhancement; Black Corrector, which limited detail in dark areas once brightness was calibrated; and Color Corrector, which threw off the color balance.
Setting up my inputs was a breeze, especially since the 006 has two HDMI inputs (I used one for our satellite receiver and one for D-VHS) and I could program the setup menu to skip unused jacks. The 006's digital tuner grabbed more stations than our Dish 921 satellite receiver, and the TV is also equipped with a CableCARD slot for direct connection of digital cable. Cycling through the various aspect ratio (screen-shape) selections, I really appreciated the ability to switch display modes with high-def material, but I'd have liked to see a 4:3 choice for viewing upconverted HDTV.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.