1080p From Westinghouse

August 2, 2006

Westinghouse LCDLast weekend while at a client’s house I noticed his son playing some fight night 3 but it wasn’t the game that caught my attention. Normally I wouldn’t have given this much thought and would have walked on by but the LCD he has using looked really nice, so of course being the inquisitive fellow I am, I popped my head in his room and coyly said what’s that?

Brent responded Fight Night, not that I said the TV, oh that’s the new LCD I got for my birthday (don’t ya just love kids) can I see I said? Well lo and behold if it wasn’t the same 42″ Westinghouse LCD I’ve ripped the proverbial new one several times over, what changed?

Apparently the only thing that really changed was I finally had a chance to see the display everyone and their brother has been bugging me for an opinion on, with a high quality video source. Oh no not the Xbox, they also had DISH Network HD. Yeah this looked much better than the previous times I’d watched this display, now my curiosity was peaked.

For those unfamiliar with the Westinghouse LVM-42W2, it’s become somewhat of an underground favorite among gamers and home theater buffs alike, now before we go any farther I still don’t consider this display to be reference quality but that’s not what the LVM-42W2 is about. The display is prone to slight color banding and as I found out first hand, the image quality seems to be disproportionate to the source quality.

But as I mentioned, the allure of the Westinghouse isn’t absolute performance but the resolution to cost ratio provided by these displays. $1999 for a 42” 1080p capable LCD isn’t a bad deal considering similar plasmas retail for 1k more (note I said similar, as I’m unaware of any true 1920×1080 42″ plasmas, yet)

Viewing some of the VOOM HD channels from DISH on this 42” Westinghouse was quite an eye opener, so obviously this display is capable of decent images but how is Westinghouse able to deliver 1080p at 42” for less than 2k?

Well besides the fact that LCD panel costs have been dropping brick for the last year or so and “Westinghouse” doesn’t actually manufacture LCD’s (their manufactured in the same plant many better know LCD’s are) the LVM-42W2 is a monitor and not a television, by this I mean that the LVM-42W2 doesn’t include an internal ATSC or NTSC tuner, think computer monitor with video inputs and you’ll get the idea.

Speaking of video inputs the LVM-42W2 has 1 HDMI, 2 DVI, 1 VGA and 2 sets of component inputs for a grand total of 6 HD inputs, not too shabby. So I can personally attest that this display paired with a good HD source and a game console makes for one heck of a beginners entertainment center/home theater.

What is the LVM-42W2 lacking to transform it into a truly awesome display? Well the aforementioned slight color banding would rule it out for super critical viewing in my opinion but then again the increased resolution might outweigh this minor drawback for many users.

I wanted to grab this display and take it home with me for further testing but Brent would have probably cried foul, how about you guys, anyone own one of these little overachievers? I’m interested in your thoughts; I’m actually in the market for a largish LCD display for some dual purpose video/gaming needs, speaking of which I just noticed that Westinghouse has a 47” LCD… the LVM-47W1.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under High Definition Televisions


Comments

  • paulhodges

    I have had this unit for almost three years now, and am very ready to make a change. The color banding issues that were described as being a slight ISSUE have developed into a full tilt banding PROBLEM, with a constant overlay of shadows and fog that has ultimately destroyed this value 1080p model. I realize there is a price to pay for being an early adopter, but the notion of purchasing this sub par unit based on the hometheater magazine review and various other supporters in awe of the reasonable price at the time. Now we are three years down the road, and the landscape for flat screens has changed. I read less about Westinghouse, and that pleases me, since many of the flat screen manufacturers somehow believed that all of us had a pile of cash that we were willing to part with to take advantage of the flat screen home theater revolution. Based on my experience, I would not recommend Westinghouse, since prices have dropped enough to recommend numerous other brands, as well as projector options if you are adventurous enough. Shame on me for parting with $1500 for this and shame on anyone who purchases Westinghouse after reading my post.

  • paulhodges

    I have had this unit for almost three years now, and am very ready to make a change. The color banding issues that were described as being a slight ISSUE have developed into a full tilt banding PROBLEM, with a constant overlay of shadows and fog that has ultimately destroyed this value 1080p model. I realize there is a price to pay for being an early adopter, but the notion of purchasing this sub par unit based on the hometheater magazine review and various other supporters in awe of the reasonable price at the time. Now we are three years down the road, and the landscape for flat screens has changed. I read less about Westinghouse, and that pleases me, since many of the flat screen manufacturers somehow believed that all of us had a pile of cash that we were willing to part with to take advantage of the flat screen home theater revolution. Based on my experience, I would not recommend Westinghouse, since prices have dropped enough to recommend numerous other brands, as well as projector options if you are adventurous enough. Shame on me for parting with $1500 for this and shame on anyone who purchases Westinghouse after reading my post.

  • Jerry

    I have had this set for over 2 years now. All I can say is that it worked. I have used HDMI, DVI, VGA, and component ports, all worked fine. Provided that my HDMI useage was limited to the SONY HD DVR.

    I am getting a PS3 with HDMI 1.3 cable soon. I am hoping I will not have any issue that Kyle had.

  • Jerry

    I have had this set for over 2 years now. All I can say is that it worked. I have used HDMI, DVI, VGA, and component ports, all worked fine. Provided that my HDMI useage was limited to the SONY HD DVR.

    I am getting a PS3 with HDMI 1.3 cable soon. I am hoping I will not have any issue that Kyle had.

  • Adam Mueller

    I’ve had this since january 3, HDTV running out of my PC, also hooked up to XBOX360 with HD-DVD. Have to back up what some said, HD looks gorgeous, great as a PC monitor, SD looks so so. Haven’t used the HDMI input, only VGA, DVI and component, but as I said HD looks great through those. SD cable looks pretty crappy, but I frankly haven’t seen too many high res TV’s this size that can make 480i look good, and some of it has to do with my crappy cable line here anyway. Frankly, having paid less than 1250 for it new, can say that it was worth at least what the list price was, and you can find it for significantly less. As others have said, only issue is the crappy remote, but all I use it for is to turn it on and switch inputs(which for me is quick enough, takes about 1-1.5 seconds, and you don’t have to cycle through the inputs except unless you’re using both dvi or component sets, in which case takes 2 button presses max, as it remembers which one you were using last). Anyway, I’ve had no issues, still loving it, especially as a pc monitor, hd looks beautiful, and can be found for under 1300.

  • Adam Mueller

    I’ve had this since january 3, HDTV running out of my PC, also hooked up to XBOX360 with HD-DVD. Have to back up what some said, HD looks gorgeous, great as a PC monitor, SD looks so so. Haven’t used the HDMI input, only VGA, DVI and component, but as I said HD looks great through those. SD cable looks pretty crappy, but I frankly haven’t seen too many high res TV’s this size that can make 480i look good, and some of it has to do with my crappy cable line here anyway. Frankly, having paid less than 1250 for it new, can say that it was worth at least what the list price was, and you can find it for significantly less. As others have said, only issue is the crappy remote, but all I use it for is to turn it on and switch inputs(which for me is quick enough, takes about 1-1.5 seconds, and you don’t have to cycle through the inputs except unless you’re using both dvi or component sets, in which case takes 2 button presses max, as it remembers which one you were using last). Anyway, I’ve had no issues, still loving it, especially as a pc monitor, hd looks beautiful, and can be found for under 1300.

  • Mark Rothman

    I’ve had this display since a few weeks prior to Black Friday this past year and I also had DISH HD installed the same week.. standard TV looks alright on it, but every HDTV channel blows your mind.. I don’t have any of the banding issues that people in the past have talked about, and from what I’ve read in the customer reviews on sites like Newegg, it only seems to be an issue in 1 or 2 displays out of every 10.. I use this as my primary TV, but also as my primary PC display.. giving up 1920×1080 resolution to go down to a 1440×720 resolution is insane in the PC world.. Hell, I run at 1920×1200 on my 17″ laptop.. I couldn’t handle anything lower on a big TV.. I got even luckier and at Best Buy picked this thing up for $1499 minus a one day 20% off sale for a grand total of $1199.. can’t beat that no matter what you do..

  • Mark Rothman

    I’ve had this display since a few weeks prior to Black Friday this past year and I also had DISH HD installed the same week.. standard TV looks alright on it, but every HDTV channel blows your mind.. I don’t have any of the banding issues that people in the past have talked about, and from what I’ve read in the customer reviews on sites like Newegg, it only seems to be an issue in 1 or 2 displays out of every 10.. I use this as my primary TV, but also as my primary PC display.. giving up 1920×1080 resolution to go down to a 1440×720 resolution is insane in the PC world.. Hell, I run at 1920×1200 on my 17″ laptop.. I couldn’t handle anything lower on a big TV.. I got even luckier and at Best Buy picked this thing up for $1499 minus a one day 20% off sale for a grand total of $1199.. can’t beat that no matter what you do..

  • TJ F

    I also have the LVM 42w2. I got my hands on a 60gig PS3 and all I’ll say is I’m angry. I know this 1080p monitor is relatively cheap for what it is, but regardless, 1800 bucks is a lot of money and I want my TV to work right. When I attempt to use 1080p for Blu-ray movies, or games, the TV has sparkles everywhere, and yes it also has the dreaded blink.

    I sent it in to Westinghouse in early December 2006 and was told 3 weeks turnaround. 6 weeks later I finally got it back and boy was I excited to set it up and see 1080p for the first time. So imagine my surprise (and temper) when I plug everything in, only to find the same old sparkles and blinking as before. 6 weeks without a TV I paid nearly 2 grand for and it still wont work at full resolution.

    At this point comes the debate. Do I return the TV if possible and get one that works? Do I send it back in to Westinghouse per their offer to “fix” it again, or do I wait and see what Popular Mechanics, Sony, and Westinghouse figure out. All that matters is that it’s a pain and very frustrating to spend around 2500-3000 bucks for a theater setup that can’t deliver what is promised. Especially on a film student budget.

  • TJ F

    I also have the LVM 42w2. I got my hands on a 60gig PS3 and all I’ll say is I’m angry. I know this 1080p monitor is relatively cheap for what it is, but regardless, 1800 bucks is a lot of money and I want my TV to work right. When I attempt to use 1080p for Blu-ray movies, or games, the TV has sparkles everywhere, and yes it also has the dreaded blink.

    I sent it in to Westinghouse in early December 2006 and was told 3 weeks turnaround. 6 weeks later I finally got it back and boy was I excited to set it up and see 1080p for the first time. So imagine my surprise (and temper) when I plug everything in, only to find the same old sparkles and blinking as before. 6 weeks without a TV I paid nearly 2 grand for and it still wont work at full resolution.

    At this point comes the debate. Do I return the TV if possible and get one that works? Do I send it back in to Westinghouse per their offer to “fix” it again, or do I wait and see what Popular Mechanics, Sony, and Westinghouse figure out. All that matters is that it’s a pain and very frustrating to spend around 2500-3000 bucks for a theater setup that can’t deliver what is promised. Especially on a film student budget.

  • I just recently purchased the 47″ version of this TV. In my case, I wanted something to replace a 32″ LCD which is hooked up to a HTPC and HD satellite.

    The TV so far is extremely satisfying. Yes the remote does still suck, however as has been said, a universal remote is an easy fix, and many people already have one. I would like more strech/zoom adjustments, but nothing my PC can take car of for me.

    Apparently there has been some improvements over the 42″ model, especially in regards to freeze ups. However, newer firmware for the 42″ seems to have solved the issue also.

  • I just recently purchased the 47″ version of this TV. In my case, I wanted something to replace a 32″ LCD which is hooked up to a HTPC and HD satellite.

    The TV so far is extremely satisfying. Yes the remote does still suck, however as has been said, a universal remote is an easy fix, and many people already have one. I would like more strech/zoom adjustments, but nothing my PC can take car of for me.

    Apparently there has been some improvements over the 42″ model, especially in regards to freeze ups. However, newer firmware for the 42″ seems to have solved the issue also.

  • Kyle A. Miller

    I own this set. After setting the RGB values found in the AVS forum and calibrating with AVIA, I find the picture to be outstanding. I do not see the banding issue people are reporting. I do not see the lock up issue some see. It maybe because mine is on a line conditioner.

    I also don’t experience the problems with HD sources or viewing SD media. Why? I run all media through an HTPC via DVI. Software on the PC maximizes picture quality given whatever display Windows is using, which is my Westinghouse @ 1920×1080@32. 😀

    SDTV is not great, but also not bad when viewed using BeyondTV and PowerDVD decoder. DVD looks very nice. HDTV OTA looks awesome when 1080i. High Def DVD? I don’t know the quality until I get a drive, preferably a hybrid. Pinging Ricoh.

    I can end my mini-review without at least one con. The remote does suck. No, it really does. I never used such a terrible remote. You have to aim the remote just about dead center for the LCD to catch. For daily use, it doesn’t matter. I never touch it. I use a universal remote to power it on and off and that’s it. The rest is handled through the PC.

    I bought this LCD as part of the $1,500 one day deal at BB. Would I do buy it again given the same chance? Without a doubt.

  • Kyle A. Miller

    I own this set. After setting the RGB values found in the AVS forum and calibrating with AVIA, I find the picture to be outstanding. I do not see the banding issue people are reporting. I do not see the lock up issue some see. It maybe because mine is on a line conditioner.

    I also don’t experience the problems with HD sources or viewing SD media. Why? I run all media through an HTPC via DVI. Software on the PC maximizes picture quality given whatever display Windows is using, which is my Westinghouse @ 1920×1080@32. 😀

    SDTV is not great, but also not bad when viewed using BeyondTV and PowerDVD decoder. DVD looks very nice. HDTV OTA looks awesome when 1080i. High Def DVD? I don’t know the quality until I get a drive, preferably a hybrid. Pinging Ricoh.

    I can end my mini-review without at least one con. The remote does suck. No, it really does. I never used such a terrible remote. You have to aim the remote just about dead center for the LCD to catch. For daily use, it doesn’t matter. I never touch it. I use a universal remote to power it on and off and that’s it. The rest is handled through the PC.

    I bought this LCD as part of the $1,500 one day deal at BB. Would I do buy it again given the same chance? Without a doubt.

  • Jason S

    I have this Panel. It is all about what you feed it. It defiantly has it’s weaknesses but for the price it has an amazing picture. Mine doesn’t have the banding issues I have read about but it does lockup on occasion. The Lockup is a power on / off issue where you have to unplug the set to turn off or on. The remote sucks so I use a Harmony 880. I got this on a 1 day deal from Best Buy for $1499 so I am happy with it anyways. I have not seen anything else come close to the value for the price I paid. I personally love it despite it’s weaknesses.

  • Jason S

    I have this Panel. It is all about what you feed it. It defiantly has it’s weaknesses but for the price it has an amazing picture. Mine doesn’t have the banding issues I have read about but it does lockup on occasion. The Lockup is a power on / off issue where you have to unplug the set to turn off or on. The remote sucks so I use a Harmony 880. I got this on a 1 day deal from Best Buy for $1499 so I am happy with it anyways. I have not seen anything else come close to the value for the price I paid. I personally love it despite it’s weaknesses.

  • B.Greenway

    Very interesting Adam, exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

    Now the -Long time to switch between sources, weak remote, caught me off guard a bit, not the remote so much as the slow input switching, now admittedly I only had two inputs to switch between on the set I was playing with but it didn’t seem like an inordinate amount of time between the two.

    I was aware of the no built in tuner and I have to say I think that was a trade off for the price point, as I rarely (if ever) watch off-air HD I wouldn’t find this very important, but absolutely it’s something to consider.

    Good list though and defiantly worth studying if your interested in this display.

  • B.Greenway

    Very interesting Adam, exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

    Now the -Long time to switch between sources, weak remote, caught me off guard a bit, not the remote so much as the slow input switching, now admittedly I only had two inputs to switch between on the set I was playing with but it didn’t seem like an inordinate amount of time between the two.

    I was aware of the no built in tuner and I have to say I think that was a trade off for the price point, as I rarely (if ever) watch off-air HD I wouldn’t find this very important, but absolutely it’s something to consider.

    Good list though and defiantly worth studying if your interested in this display.

  • Adam Griffith

    This set is certainly one of those that ones your interest but I think it will ultimately disappoint for the following reasons:

    -Color banding
    -Problems with HDMI at 1080p (sparkles, etc)
    -Poor contrast ratio, esp. compared to what you can now get w/the newer 720p sets
    -Questionable/poor response time, esp. compared to what you can now get w/the newer 720p sets
    -General first-gen 1080p weaknesses/glitches
    -Long time to switch between sources, weak remote
    -Poor playback of, poor compenstation for use of standard DVD, other SD sources
    -No built-in tuner, non-detachable speakers, some reported power and lock-up problems/glitches
    -Lack of additional HDMI, and I’d also wonder about the monitors back-light/brightness/color saturation situation…I’m assuming it’s quality is questionable compared to other top-brands

    So…ultimately it’s a question of: do you put up with all of that in exchange for its miraculous bargain price? I admit the low-price is intoxicating. Makes it hard to resist really.

    However, if your looking for an overall package, instead of just a really high-grade monitor then I’d look elsewhere.

    My move would be to buy something like the Samsung LN-S4092D. Basically one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous 720p sets that you can buy, made by a company that has stepped up their game this year ten-fold. 2 HDMI w/contrast ratios and response times that are top of the line. Rich colors jump off of it like you wouldn’t believe.

    I think the best move at this stage in the game – is to buy it (or something like it). Live with it in glory for a year til about next Christmas, when true and well-tested 2nd/3rd-gen 1080p sets are coming out – then swap it for one of those.

    With the HD-media format war, the glitches of first-gen 1080p, HDMI 1.3/etc coming, the companies that will be delivering their 1080p sets/advances over the next year, and the fact that prices on those sets will have time to drop from their premium status — there’s a lot to be said for just getting an amazing 720p now and watching all the craziness that goes down over this next year in peace.

    I mean…it’s not like you won’t be able to trade up for only a small monetary difference…once the skies are finally signaling an “all clear”.

  • Adam Griffith

    This set is certainly one of those that ones your interest but I think it will ultimately disappoint for the following reasons:

    -Color banding
    -Problems with HDMI at 1080p (sparkles, etc)
    -Poor contrast ratio, esp. compared to what you can now get w/the newer 720p sets
    -Questionable/poor response time, esp. compared to what you can now get w/the newer 720p sets
    -General first-gen 1080p weaknesses/glitches
    -Long time to switch between sources, weak remote
    -Poor playback of, poor compenstation for use of standard DVD, other SD sources
    -No built-in tuner, non-detachable speakers, some reported power and lock-up problems/glitches
    -Lack of additional HDMI, and I’d also wonder about the monitors back-light/brightness/color saturation situation…I’m assuming it’s quality is questionable compared to other top-brands

    So…ultimately it’s a question of: do you put up with all of that in exchange for its miraculous bargain price? I admit the low-price is intoxicating. Makes it hard to resist really.

    However, if your looking for an overall package, instead of just a really high-grade monitor then I’d look elsewhere.

    My move would be to buy something like the Samsung LN-S4092D. Basically one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous 720p sets that you can buy, made by a company that has stepped up their game this year ten-fold. 2 HDMI w/contrast ratios and response times that are top of the line. Rich colors jump off of it like you wouldn’t believe.

    I think the best move at this stage in the game – is to buy it (or something like it). Live with it in glory for a year til about next Christmas, when true and well-tested 2nd/3rd-gen 1080p sets are coming out – then swap it for one of those.

    With the HD-media format war, the glitches of first-gen 1080p, HDMI 1.3/etc coming, the companies that will be delivering their 1080p sets/advances over the next year, and the fact that prices on those sets will have time to drop from their premium status — there’s a lot to be said for just getting an amazing 720p now and watching all the craziness that goes down over this next year in peace.

    I mean…it’s not like you won’t be able to trade up for only a small monetary difference…once the skies are finally signaling an “all clear”.