First, we set up the Westinghouse's picture for optimal quality in a completely darkened room, then put it alongside a couple of other flat panels we had hanging around: the similarly priced Vizio VX37LHDTV LCD and the excellent--and significantly more expensive--Panasonic TH-50PH9UK plasma. We did not calibrate the Westinghouse using its service menu, since we doubt anyone in this price range would want to pay for a professional calibration, but we did achieve decent results using just the user menu and the Warm color temperature setting. For our full settings, check out the Tips & Tricks section or just click here.
The Westinghouse W4207 resolved more detail with 720p sources than with 1080i, so we recommend you set your sources, when you have a choice, to 720p output mode. For what it's worth, the set can also accept 1080p signals, but of course, its native resolution limits how much extra detail you'll see. Still, if you have a choice between 1080i and 1080p output to this set, we recommend going 1080p. We chose 720p when we evaluated the Westinghouse's picture quality with the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player and the Mission: Impossible 3 Blu-ray disc.
The ability of the W4207 to reproduce a deep color of black was about average for today's large screen LCDs. Black areas of the picture, such as the letterbox bars and the shadowy recesses of Luther's (Ving Rhames) surveillance truck, appeared relatively deep; slighty more so than the 37-inch Vizio's, yet not as deep as the Panasonic plasma's. Some of the shadow detail in places such as the underside of Luther's neck and the recesses of Ethan's (Tom Cruise) flak jacket were somewhat less distinct on the Westinghouse than the Panasonic, but the difference was subtle.
Color accuracy was also fine, and the W4207's warm color temperature preset came relatively close to the standard (see the Geek box). The tan arms and back of Zhen Lei (Maggie Q) in the party scene and the ruddy complexion of Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) appeared realistic and reasonably well saturated, although as we expected, the Panasonic produced noticeably richer colors. We did detect a slight tinge toward blue in white areas such as the mask of Owen's head and Ethan's dress shirt, but it wasn't too bad by any means. Primary colors also looked accurate enough, although the red of Zhen's dress could have been redder, and a few of the potted plants in the main room looked somewhat yellowish.
Like most LCDs we've tested, including the Vizio right next to it, the W4207's screen appears lighter in some areas, which is mostly visible in black fields and some nighttime scenes. In this case, the upper-right corner of the screen appeared brighter, and subtly brighter patches were apparent toward the middle as well. Conversely, in bright fields we also saw very faint darker vertical lines, but they were pretty much invisible in most program material and not nearly as noticeable as some backlight irregularities we've seen. The W4207 also washed out more when viewed from off-angle than most LCDs we've tested recently.
As we mentioned above, the Westinghouse has just two aspect-ratio modes for both standard-def and HD sources. With HD sources we recommend the Standard mode, which results in 0 percent overscan--in other words, you'll see the whole picture. With standard-def sources, however, the Standard mode instead gives you black bars to both sides of the image. That's fine for non-wide-screen material, but if you're watching a wide-screen DVD at 480p or 480i, for example, you'll have to choose the other mode, Fill, to avoid squeezing the image and making people look tall and skinny, for example. Unfortunately, Fill crops the image quite a bit, losing half of the black letterbox bars above and below ultrawide-screen movies, as well as chopping off a good number of pixels to either side. We wish there was a mode that displayed wide-screen SD sources, namely DVD movies, with neither cropping nor squeezing. If you hook up the W4207 to a DVD player that converts to 720p or higher resolution, you can avoid this problem.
We also checked out the ability of the Westinghouse W4207 to deal with difficult standard-definition material by playing the HQV test DVD via component, S-Video, and composite-video at standard (480i) resolution. The results were below average. The W4207 resolved all of the detail of 480-line sources, although S-Video looked a bit softer and composite was softer still, with significant crawl between colors--an indication of a low-quality comb filter. The set didn't do a very good job of smoothing diagonal lines; in fact we saw more jagged edges along the moving bars than we've seen on any TV we've tested recently. We also would have liked to see some kind of noise reduction, as noisy scenes looked significantly worse than on the Vizio, for example. The Westinghouse did pass HQV's racecar test and reproduced the intro from Star Trek: Insurrection with a minimum of moving lines and other interlace artifacts, indicating the presence of 2:3 pull-down detection.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6,716/7,242K||Good|
|After color temp||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 611K||Average|
|After grayscale variation||N/A|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.664/0.338||Good|
|Color of green||0.280/0.610||Average|
|Color of blue||0.146/0.067||Good|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Yes||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|