Best 32-37" LCD HDTV for $1600 or less?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Clinton McClure, May 28, 2006.

  1. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    The title says it all.

    May 1st, the wife and I made our first foray into the world of HD. We were looking for something 32-40" which we could hang on our bedroom wall. After looking at a few sets we decided to get a 32" ilo LCD from Wal-Mart. I knew it was made kinda cheap but I didn't realize how cheap. After installing a Dish Network ViP622, I was a bit put off that the HDMI input wasn't working correctly, but I chalked that up to HDCP, Dish Network and all the worms in that can.

    Anyway, last night while watching a movie there was a pop and the screen went black. We still had audio but no video. I turned the set off and turned it back on and then we had nothing. No audio, no video, just a black screen. I tried several different source inputs for the DVD player and got the black screen on every input. We took it back to Wal-Mart today and got our money back and decided to go to somewhere else to purchase one.

    So that brings me to my title question: What's the best 32" - 37" LCD HDTV (with built-in tuner) for $1600 or less? I'm looking for specs, IE: contrast ratio, pixel refresh rate, number of HDMI, Component and DVI inputs, etc...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    Well, for around that price, I know doesn't have a tuner, but the Westinghouse LVM-37W3 is available, which is a 1080p display. Do you really need a tuner if you have satellite?

    I personally don't have one of these yet, but I'm looking very closely. There is supposedly a bug in the firmware that causes ghosting on 1080i, that may or may not be fixed by the newest firmware.

    Contrast ratio: 1000:1
    Response time: 8ms

    Inputs: 1 HDMI, 2 DVI, 1 VGA, 2 component, 1 S-Video, 1 composite
     
  3. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    here's another vote for westinghouse. they also make a 42" version. get the w2 revision.
     
  4. Joe_H

    Joe_H Screenwriter

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    If you know of anywhere to get the 1080p Westinghouse 42" for under $1600, fill me in.
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    What's the quality of Westinghouse? I've never dealt with them before.
     
  6. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I have two "older" (last year's models), DVI-only, slower response-time Westinghouse HD LCD monitors. (No tuners, I have HD-DVRs from the cable company.) I have the 27" set in the bedroom, and the 32" is going to end up in the home office. (My main TV is a 56" JVC HD-ILA) I've been very pleased with these sets as HDTVs. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials they do well on both HD and SD material, the black levels are great compared to LCD panels of even a few years ago, and they also work well as PC monitors. (Their secondary function.) So they're solid HDTVs. For the price they are incredble HDTVs. The peformance of each of these sets is comparable to LCD panels costing from several hundred dollars more to nearly double the price I paid.

    I can only imagine how much better the most recent versions looks and what extra features they have. Here's the spec-sheet on the current 37" version, with HDTV turner, which Best Buy usually sells for $1600, and which is on sale at the moment.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  8. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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  9. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    We ended up getting the 32" Westinghouse for a bit over $900. We would have bought the 37" but the Best Buy stores here didn't carry it (although they DO carry a $10,000 Pioneer plasma display of which they have sold ZERO - go figure...) and I refuse to make large purchases online. Overall it's not a bad monitor. My only two gripes are:

    1. I wish it was glossy black like the Philips and Samsung models. The silver looks uber-cheap and doesn't go with the bedroom furniture. (small gripe)

    2. Even though the monitor is HDMI-HDCP compliant, I still can't use HDMI from my dish DVR (ViP622). I get a blank screen with a "NO SIGNAL" message. I'm assuming this is a firmware issue with the DVR. The DVD player (SD Toshiba) in the bedroom is hooked up via component so there would really be no difference anyway. It still irks me I can't use the next-gen connection because of corporate hogwash.
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    You might want to double-check the Westinghouse set-up, though. I only have a DVI input, but I used that to connect a PC for awhile and I vaguely remember having to go into the TV menu to enable it or configure it. It may be the HDMI isn't automatically available or configured out of the box. (Or it may be that you have to manually enable it to select it as the output on the DVR side. I've seen some pretty odd things with hardware recently. I had a cheap DVD player once that required you to go into the menu and select either the S-video [default] or component outputs. You couldn't have both working at the same time. [​IMG])

    The sliver color actually works for me, though it wouldn't look good in my living room, so I had no gripe there.

    But here's the $64,000 question - how do you like the picture? [​IMG]

    Joe
     
  11. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    didya get the latest revision? it's like LTV-32w6 or somn. how's the pic?
     
  12. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    It's the TLV-32w6 HD and the picture can't be beat for the money. I'll post more in the morning.
     
  13. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    kewl, thanks.

    oh BTW, how does your OTA tuner works. i dunno if you're h00king up via cable/sat but it does have HD tuner built-in. is it builkier/bigger than a regular LCD computer display?
     
  14. JasonWW

    JasonWW Agent

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    I think you mean LTV-32w6 HD. Now that one is 1366x768, right?

    Joseph DeMartino, How does the PC image look? Is text nice and sharp? If you sit a few feet away, is it just as good as a dedicated PC LCD monitor or is it a bit substandard in that application?

    I'm trying to find one that can double as a good PC monitor (text and graphics work) and I think a 1080P is probably the best choice as it simply has more pixals than a screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution. So the higher the resolution the more pixals per square inch compared to an LCD monitor of the same size. Is my logic correct?
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It depends. If your video card is only outputting 768 lines of resoultion the monitor has to interpolate to scale everything up to 1080 lines. This can introduce enough digital artifacts that it off-sets the apparently higher resolution. When I was briefly using the 27" set as a monitor I found it accpetable. I was basically using it with my laptop in the bedroom. I could lie on the bed with a wireless keyboard in front of me and work with the TV/Monitor a couple of feet away. But since at that size/distance I would not have gone for a higher resolution than 1024 x 768 anyway (just as I'm using that now with a 17" monitor at about 18", anything more being too tiny for my tired old eyes) I'm not sure how much I would have gained in the PC realm from 1080 lines.

    Yes, you'd have more pixels "per square inch", but when considering these things it helps to remember that the pixels in question are not themselves square in shape, which is why it can be trickey comparing things. The specs for my set says it supports up to 1280 x 1024 and a number of other resoultions, but 1360 x 768 (which amounts to 1024 x 768 since most standard VGA cards only output 4:3 pixel arrays) is recommended.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  16. Casey C.

    Casey C. Stunt Coordinator

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    Same brand, not the same company. The old Westinghouse Electric Corp. no longer exists; the several companies that make "Westinghouse" products today are just licensing the rights to the name from CBS, which owns the name.

    Westinghouse Digital Electronics has been around about five years. They are part-owned by Chi Mei, the Taiwanese TV maker that is also their main supplier.
     
  17. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    didn't know that =). thanks.
     
  18. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    First I would like to apologize for not posting my product review over a month ago as promised. Unfortunately, as happens all too often in today's world, life is interrupted, work intrudes and family members become ill. I was unexpectedly forced to take a 1-month hiatus from the Forum, my HT, well.... most any hobby I have. But all is well now and, for the most part, back on track. I realize a few people my have been waiting on information to help them decide whether to pull the trigger on this display. Once again, my sincerest apologies and on with the review. ~Clint


    Yi - It's a bit thicker than the average PC monitor and a tad heavier, but it's no concern. It's easily wall-mounted and weighs in at around 37lbs. Since I have a dish ViP-622 DVR connected to it, I am using the DVR's OTA tuner.

    Jason - You are correct. Is is the LTV-32w6 HD.


    WESTINGHOUSE LTV-32w6 HD

    32" flat-panel LCD with built-in HDTV tuner

    Weight: 37lbs without stand, 49lbs with

    Display modes: 480i, 480P, 720P, 1080i

    Appearence: Charcoal with silver trim on sides and bottom-mounted speakers, removable stand for wall-mounting. Control keys for menu, volume, channel, input and power located on the right side of the display.

    Inputs: All inputs are located along the sides of the spine. This seems to make it easier to plug/unplug cables since it can be done on the wall and without tilting the display up at a 45° angle.
    Right side inputs: 1 S-Video, 1 composite video, 1 analog audio-in, 1 SPDIF output, 1 set of analog audio outputs, 1 coax input, 1 RS-232 service port.
    Left side inputs: 1 VGA in with audio, 2 sets of component video inputs, 2 sets of analog audio inputs, 1 HDMI-HDCP input.
    The detachable AC cord is located on the left side as well. Curiously enough, there is no DVI input.

    Settings: Now we're down to the nuts and bolts of this display. The menu is easy to navigate, with controls for just about everything you could need.

    Out of the box I noticed the color was way off with skintones being very orange and the brightness and contrast thrown into full torch mode. Also the default sharpness is set disturbingly high creating a picture with a lot of jaggies around the edges. At first glance it looked bad and the longer I looked at it, the more my head and eyes began to ache.

    There are three color temperature settings to choose from. They are only labeled as Color 1, Color 2 and Color 3 with no actual temperature references noted. By switching between the three, I could tell Color 1 was a cool setting with a slight blue tint, Color 2 was a medium with (strangely) a slight green push around light objects when displayed against a dark background, and Color 3 was a warm setting with a red tint.

    After bringing the brightness and contrast back under control, I spent about 15 minutes calibrating the color with VE. I've always preferred the medium color temperature because it's easier to adjust with good results so I chose Color 2 to work with. I noticed that I could never get the tops and bottoms of the color bars to match perfectly on the SMPTE pattern which leads me to believe the display is not entirely color accurate. Even after calibration, when standing very close, I still notice a slight green halo around light objects when placed against a dark background, however it becomes almost non-noticeable when viewed from about 8'. What's left is a vibrant, colorful display. *Note - Each video input must be calibrated individually.

    Since I've never been a fan of PIP, I've never used it on any of my previous displays, so this may be old hat but it seemed cool to me... You can adjust the PIP window size as well as it's screen position. (The OSD works in the same manner.) Then there is the gamut of standard options in the menu with a few goodies like a transparency setting for the OSD, a backlight adjustment and an option to turn off the distractingly bright blue LED power indicator on the botton front of the display. (Honestly, why don't manufacturers just put these stupid things on the back of the case?)

    The remote is a long thin job with the normal array of buttons, a few of which are really useful, such as the indipendent source input buttons for quick input changes if you are not using a video switcher. (I am not.)

    Last but not least, the display is compatible with most universal remotes and it does work with the Dish Network remotes.

    I'll echo Joseph's earlier comments that for the price, this display is outstanding. SD-DVD and SD satellite content looks good, but HD content from satellite looks fantastic. Is it a display I would use in my HT? No, but for an office or bedroom where viewing is not critical to the nth degree, it does a great job. From the viewing area I don't notice any screen-door effects or other display related artifacts. At first I was leary of the Westinghouse displays, but after a little research I've found them to be a fairly well regarded product.

    Lightweight, easy to work with, and a beautiful picture for under $1000 gives this LCD [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  19. steve_jk

    steve_jk Agent

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    Pardon the dumb ques - but I see the spec sheet says it has a HDTV tuner, but it can only take HD directly from an OTA antenna and HD from cable would have to go thru a cable box. Doesn't having a HDTV tuner mean a ATSC tuner? If so then why do you need a set top box for cable - or would that only be for (subscription) things like HBO but not Discovery/ESPN etc?

    Could it simultaneously take an antenna cable for OTA plus a non hi-def cable signal (i.e I mean switching to the OTA antenna to watch hi-def & switching to cable to watch CNN etc)?

    Also, if you're watching standard digital channels, what resolution do oyu switch to for best picture (I'm assuming 480i??)

    thanks
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I don't do any manual resolution switching on any of my TVs. They display everything at the best resolution available without human intervention. You set the expected input signals, if I'm not mistaken, but I believe that digital panels scale everything to their native resolution in any case. So 480i would be upconverted to 720p.

    Regards,

    Joe
     

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