My first look at the Sony XEL-1 OLED TV

Well, after a few months of running this blog I’ve finally got a look at the Sony XEL-1 OLED TV. There are currently dozens of OLED TV reviews out there on the XEL-1 ranging from praise to criticism. (More on these later). This is my first opinion.

It all depends on how you look at it.  I visited the Sony Store at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa, Canada. The XEL-1 display model is set up on top of a Blu-ray DVD player which is playing a demo disk. The XEL-1 is secured to the wall with a very heavy looking cable and is surrounded by signs and a spec sheet.

You may wonder why I just don’t post some photos and be done with it. Unfortunately I hiked down to the store and my camera crapped out. “Card Error” was all it said. I’ll have to head back later and try again.

Anyway, the picture IS stunning. The colors are fantastic and the contrast is amazing. Stunning, fantastic and amazing. The unit itself is pretty tiny and fairly flimsy looking.  The salesperson said that the organic panel itself is fragile and could be cracked if grabbed the wrong way. It is very thin, but you already know that.

The inputs are fairly standard and are all arrayed on the back of the base. The remote is also extremely thin and matches the overall design of the XEL-1.

However, if you are more than 4-5 feet  away from the XEL-1, you start to lose picture detail as the screen is just way to small. In my opinion, this Sony OLED TV is just for desktops and similar situations. You’d be hard pressed to have more than a couple of people over to watch “Casino Royale”. It’s definitely for early-adopters only as no one is going to cough up $2500 to use this as their main TV.

As it appears to be certain that we won’t see larger OLED TV’s until about 2010 we’ll have to be satisfied with the XEL-1. Don’t get me wrong though. After being pounded in the Beta vs. VHS battle years ago, Sony is pulling ahead of the pack again. As the first manufacturer with a commercially available OLED TV, and with the Blu-ray victory behind them, Sony is a company to watch in the coming years.

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