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Review: Westinghouse LVM-37w3

May 24, 2007 1 comment

I’ve owned the Westinghouse LVM-37w3 for about two months now.

 

It is a 37-inch widescreen LCD high-definition monitor. Here’s my take on it:

The Basics:

The LVM-37w3 is a high-definition monitor, not a television. This is an important difference in that there is no built-in tuner. You cannot connect this set directly to a coaxial cable from your wall or an antenna. You have to have some sort of source with an output (such as a dvd player, game system, cable box, computer, etc.) to connect to this set. For my use, this feature was actually a plus – not having a tuner makes this set considerably cheaper than comparable TVs, and considering how poor the over-the-air channel selection is in my area I knew I’d be using cable TV with this set.

It is a true 1080 set with a native resolution of 1920 * 1080. It can display every pixel of high-definition content that is broadcast in either 720p or 1080i. It is also capable of displaying 1080p sources through four of it’s inputs and it scales non-1080p sources up to 1080p for display.

The set has eight video inputs and seven audio inputs. It’s selection includes 1 HDMI, 2 DVI, 2 Component Video, 1 RGB, 1 S-Video, and 1-Composite input. 6 of these are high-definition capable, and four of them are cable of accepting everything input type of 480i to 1080p. The audio inputs are standard analog audio for the DVI and Component connections, built-in in the case of HDMI, and mini-stereo for the VGA.  The only snag is that the s-video and composite input share a single set of analog stereo inputs.  Needless to say, the chances of running out of inputs on this set is pretty slim.

What’s really good:

  • This set does an outstanding job displaying whatever you throw at it. High-definition content looks as good on this set as I’ve seen on any comparable set. Basically, if the quality of the source is good – this set will display it well. I’ve hooked a dvd players, computers, and a cable box to this set and have been really impressed.
  • The sheer number of inputs – with four 1080p HD inputs, plus two more component video inputs, this is a future-proof set. While two of the digital inputs are DVI rathern than HDMI, the power of HDMI to DVI cables prevents this from being a major problem with this set.
  • This set also makes a great computer monitor since it has both DVI and VGA inputs. Granted, it’s a little big to have sitting on your desk, but it’d be idea to pair with a home theater PC.
  • A minor feature, but a nice one it how it handles audio. In additional to the stereo inputs, there is then a stereo audio outputs that you can connect a set of speakers. Thus, this set can function as a poor-man’s stereo receiver. This also enables you to shut off the internal speakers and only hear them through your sound system.
  • The price – the price on this set, given it’s features, is incredible. Comparable 37inch LCD 1080p TVs cost a couple hundred dollars more than this one.
  • Autosource – this simple feature is actually quite handy. Because there are eight inputs on this set, flipping through them all can be a pain. With autosource, if the set is on, and then you turn on a device it’ll automatically detect that and switch the input for you.

What’s not so good:

  • While the image is beautiful, the set itself is not. The very plain gray and metallic black design is nothing to write home about.
  • When it comes to adjusting how the images are displayed there are only two options – Standard and Fill. While for HD content these two options are sufficient, when it comes to displaying older Standard Definition content it leaves a little to be desired.
  • De-interlacing. While the set claims to scale all inputs up to 1080p my experience it does a better job with some inputs than it does others. Not surprisingly, the set does a decent job de-interlacing native 1080i material. The high definition material off my cable box (which is coming in at 1080i) tends to look pretty good. A little ghosting and a few artifacts here and there, but all things considered it looks solid. When accepting a 1080i input from an upconverting DVD player, the story was not nearly as good. Ghosting and artifacts were easily observed. Lesson learned: set all inputs from progressive scan if possible.
  • DVI1 – there are three digital inputs on this set, HDMI, DVI1, and DVI2. The problem is that DVI1 does not work properly when connected to something that has HDCP. For my purposes, this wasn’t a huge problem – my cable box (switched to DVI mode) displayed without a problem on DVI1. But my DVD player would not – I had to use either the HDMI port or DVI2. For me, it’s a minor inconvenience because I have an HD source that will display okay, but it could be problematic.

Overall assessment:

If you’re in the market for a HDTV but don’t have tons of money to spend, the Westinghouse series is an ideal set. Good image quality, lots of HD inputs with 1080p support so you won’t have to replace it in the near future, and a great price make this a good entry-level HD set. Comparable sets also come in 42 and 47 inch versions.

Categories: LVM-37w3, Main, Reviews, Technology