The inexpensive Westinghouse SK-H640G series is and simpler to use and slightly more efficient than the competition, but comes up short in features and picture quality.
Westinghouse SK-H640G series--overview
Much like Vizio, budget TV brand Westinghouse has decided to capitalize on the usual energy-efficiency of small-screened LCDs. Its "greenvue" line, which includes the SK-H640G series, is said to surpass Energy Star requirements by 20 percent. That's not a very high standard yet, however, and, according to our tests, the 32-inch model, while among the most efficient of its kind, will save you at most a few bucks a year over similar TVs. Compared with those TVs, it also came up a bit short in the picture quality and features departments, but simple its design and control scheme could appeal to bargain hunters fed up with typical HDTVs' complexity.
Despite the "green" marketing, the Westinghouse SK-H640G series comes dressed in only glossy black, although a small gray strip along the bottom edge does provide it with a subtle accent. The set is more compact than many of its low-buck brethren, and we also approve of the looks of oval-based stand, although sadly it doesn't swivel.
The little remote control seems cheap and its loose battery cover fails to alleviate that impression. The buttons are grouped somewhat logically, but their ease-of-use is spoiled by their small size and cryptic icons. One saving grace is the capability to directly access different input groups via dedicated buttons.
Westinghouse made the unusual decision to base its menu system around a row of often arbitrary symbols along the top of the screen that are, thankfully, supplemented by yellow text names. Our favorite is the almost whimsical tube of mercury that represents, yes, color temperature. We wouldn't mind this simple arrangement, which seems more appropriate to an entry-level TV than the complex systems found on many competitors' models, if the company had included actual numbers along with the bar graphs representing levels for items like contrast and brightness. As it stands, there's no easy way to dial in a particular setting, aside from counting pips on the bar.
Four aspect ratio controls are available for both standard- and high-definition sources. The "1:1 mode" option with HD sources minimizes overscan, showing as much of the picture as possible, so we recommend using it unless you notice interference along the extreme edges.
The Westinghouse was certainly not among the best-performing LCDs in its class, exhibiting light black levels and issues with both standard- and high-definition video processing. On the other hand, despite a paucity of controls its color remained a strong point.