Yet another HD LCD selection thread

Probably won’t buy for another month, but now that we have HD in the house (Direct TV HD-DVR) and 50 or so new HD channels are coming in September, I want to get a new HD LCD for the den.

Seems easy when I go to the local BB or CC, lots of nice looking LCDs on the wall. But then I made the mistake of going to the AV forum - and of course, it is loaded with “issues” for every brand. Some examples: a thread with scores of pages of people complaining about banding problems with the Sharp LCDs, complaints about poor SD performance with the Samsungs, and so on for every brand. I know, I should just ignore all those, but I’m really pretty anal retentive about video quality, and, e.g., as soon as I noticed banding on a set, it would drive me batty.

So, I’ll ask here: my criteria - prefer 42" (smaller den, but 40 seems just a tad too small, 46 too big.) LCD. Lots of sunlight in the room, so glare would be an issue. Not concerned about how great it is with a console or computer, this is primarily for watching TV and DVDs (a blu-ray HD DVD player will probably be purchased simultaneously.) Source material will be DirectTV HD and SD. Prefer a set that displays SD well (and I hate the look of stretched screens, only want to watch in source aspect ratios, letterboxing is fine.) No background buzzing, etc. Obviously, really good PQ, good enough even my wife says Wow! 1080p. And really need to keep it under $2000.

Also - much prefer to purchase from a store in the area vs. online. I buy a ton online, but I want to be able to look someone in the eye if I have any problems, need to exchange it, etc.

Suggestions/options? Equally welcome are “DON’T buy one of these!”

Thanks - Jeff

Westinghouse 42" 1080p.

A week ago Best Buy had these on sale for $1099, and when combined with a 10% off coupon meant you could pick it up for $989.

I’d keep my eye out for another deal like that popping up.

Argh. That is exactly the set I want to buy. I can’t believe I missed that deal!

this is exactly what I want as well… I’d go with the westy, but it is just a monitor. I’d rather have one that has a HD tuner in it. I’m planning on using DirecTV for SD tv (for now) and OTA for HD programing. I don’t believe I can do that with the Westi.

It was this set, which does have a tuner in it.

(edit… yea I see Reldan corrected me as well thanks :D)

ops… I speak too soon… Best buy has the following:
Westinghouse 42" 1080p LCD HDTV Model: TX-42F430S
for 1.3k

So is that a good all around set even with Standard Def programing?

Just to ruin the Westinghouse for all of you, here’s the 90-page AVS Forum thread describing all the issues with this set:

Seriously, though - the vast majority of people seem pretty damned happy with it.

LOVE the color on the Sharp Aquos we have in the bedroom. Haven’t seen any issues with banding. I might if I was looking specifically for it, but nothing’s jumped out. And the SD looks about as good as I’ve seen SD look on an LCD. (Which is, mediocre. But way better than my Samsung DLP.)

Keep in mind that AVS Forum is the equivalent of the IL-2 Forums for gadget guys. A divine beam could lower Eden’s Golden Television from Heaven to the earth, and the AVS Forum guys would complain that the colors were oversaturated. There’s tons of useful info there, but you have to weed out the hardcore whining.

Yeah, but in this case I think there may be some good warnings about the 42-inch Westy. It sounds like it has had a lot more critical issues than either the 37 or 47 model.

I’m planning on using this on my desk as a humungoid backdrop monitor (when not being used for gaming, of course), but I’d have pulled the trigger on the 37 today if I could find a LVM-37w3 on sale anywhere.

Yeah, that’s what I meant about reading the AVS forum. Someone posted “Well, you notice everyone complains about the issues with the Samsungs and Sharps and Sonys but no one complains about the JVC!” but I’m guessing that’s just because a: not as many JVCs purchased and b: the kind of people who buy Samsung and Sharp and Sonys are probably more hardcore and more likely to post on AVS.

But I am pretty A.R. about my TV, and I know I would be with a big LCD. All it would take is someone saying “oh, yeah, notice how it’s always brighter on the right side than the left side? That’s because of the chiral chains they use to make a Samsung LCD panel.” and I’d be staring at (and seeing!) the right side brighter than the left. And it would drive me Monk-style crazy.

So I suppose I should stay away from AVS, LOL!

And that’s the problem with that blankety AVS forum. “Hey, the Sharp looks good!” and then you read a 200 page thread on banding issues. Or you like the Samsung, and read 200 pages of issues with it. And on and on. Sigh.

$200 off Newegg for the LVM-47w1, which brings it down to $1400 shipped, the lowest I can find on Pricegrabber by $50.

promo code: PPAL808MERC02

The 42" Westinghouse I have is the older model, from the 1080p LVM series, the ones without the built-in tuner. The standard def on those isn’t that great… I have no idea if it is better on the newer ones.

Just to clarify here, the scaler in the Westinghouse I have is very good. Given a nice, clean SD signal (such as those put out by the Wii over component cables), it looks fantastic, but most SD tv programming is not anywhere near “clean”. There are all sorts of noise and blocking artifacts and other garbage that you don’t notice too much on your old SD set because the display technology naturally kind of blurs everything. Some HDTV sets do a really good job of using fancy algorithms to simulate this on the HDTV LCDs so the SD programming looks good, but the Westinghouse, at least the one I have, just does a very simple (good, but simple) upscale, which leaves something to be desired when watching SD tv shows.

I bought the Westy above on Sunday. I was initially disheartened by the SD performance, as it looked very grainy and washed out. Two things have turned it into a great picture:

  1. Turning down the backlighting to 60% has made the blacks much blacker.

  2. Finally getting the HD cable box so that even SD channels are digital has made a huge difference.

Still in my first week, but I’m loving it.

I was out looking at HD sets tonight, and would appreciate advice.

Here’s the scoop:

Currently have a ~9 year old ~55" SD rear projection. I can’t really go much bigger, because the space the TV fits in is limited (57" is feasible, but probably not 65")

We sit ~12-14 feet away from it. The TV sits opposite a number of large windows - glare is a problem.

I think I want 1080p. I doubt I’ll have much content at 1080p right away, but I expect I’ll likely keep the TV for ~8-10 years, so the future will likely hold a Blu-Ray player, perhaps a video game machine that puts out 1080p, etc.

The main decision seems to be between the 3 main technologies of Plasma, LCD and DLP.

I kinda lean towards DLP. It’s the cheapest of the 3 at the size I want (~$1619-$1799 for a 57" model). I like that burn-in isn’t an issue, because I’d rather have vertical bars when watching SD than to do the stretchy thing. The DLP and LCD are apparently less subject to glare than Plasma.

The possible drawbacks of DLP seem to be:

  1. Bulb burnout. I heard two numbers on bulb life - ~2000 hours and 6000 hours. The latter is pretty good, the former not so much. I was told a new bulb costs $200. Assuming that replacement bulbs are easy to locate/order if/when my bulb bulb burns out in 5 years, can I replace it myself, or does a tech need to do it? Will the image quality gradually decay as the bulb ages, or is it fine until the day it goes pop?

  2. Brightness. They had the DLPs in a dark room and they looked fine, but how do they do in a sunny room? Is a DLP set going to be less bright than my 9 year old conventional rear-projection (which is bright enough for my tastes).

  3. Not so much a drawback as a question. I was looking at Mitsubishi models, and the newer models have switched to LED bulbs from halogen bulbs as their lighting element. Supposedly, this improves color quality. On the sets I was looking at, side by side, the LED set had greener greens in some nature shots, but was also a bit less bright overall. Then again, it may have just been somebody puttering with the settings. We didn’t have a remote handy to check and see if they were set the same. The LED bulbs apparently last about 5x longer, which would be nice, but the LED sets cost about $500 more. Is there a real advantage to the LED bulbs, or is it mainly a question of longer bulb life and color differences so subtle that only an AVS forum guru would notice?

All input is welcome. Feel free to scare me away from DLP if there’s something terribly wrong with it that I should know.

Check out the Sony SXRD sets also – they’re rear-projection like DLP, but use LCOS instead the TI mirror chips. The KDS-60A2020 (1080p 60") can be had for $2k, and it’s awesome (works fine in our basement rec room even when there’s a fair amount of light).

I actually bought that from Newegg yesterday, then got remorse and cancelled my order. (I have a few more bills to pay off before I should start going around buying TVs I don’t need. Next month!) But it’s good to hear you’re digging it.

I was going to use it as a computer monitor, too, on my rather large desk. Do you think it’s too big for that? I’d probably be happy with even the 37, but those are impossible to find anymore.

Phil, I’ve got two DLPs in my home- a 61" 1080p model and a 46" 720p, both by Samsung. I haven’t had any issues. I don’t watch much TV during the day (what with being at work and all) but my wife has summers off and hasn’t complained about glare on the TV and we have four rather large windows directly across from it. Bulb changing is about as easy as it could possibly be, no need for a technician (at least for Samsungs, don’t know about other models).

My parents have a 65" Mits DLP and it’s a really nice set but I can’t say I see any improvement in the colors over what I get on Sammys.

We’re finding that if we sit closer than about 7 feet, it becomes very grainy, so as a computer monitor I would think it would be weird to sit across the room from your monitor. Check out the thread mentioned above from the AV Science Forum. One guy actually returns his TX model (he had a 47", but same model) because of red ghosting from the VGA input. Someone else then says they’re using it as a computer monitor and it’s fine. It turns out to be problems with that guy’s VGA output.

Also, the TX models don’t have DVI inputs, whereas the LMW’s have them. If you want digital output from your computer you’re going to need a DVI to HDMI converter, or just go with plain VGA.

I use the 37 as my PC monitor and it works great.