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Dell W4200ED - First Take

We preview Dell's 42-inch EDTV plasma.

Dell W4200ED

Dell's W4200ED ($2,300 list) is a 42-inch plasma TV--the ED in the model number indicates an 852x480 EDTV native resolution. In other words, it can display an image when fed HDTV sources, just not at full detail (more info). If you're looking for a higher-resolution plasma, Dell also offers the W4200HD ($3,500). Both models are set to be released in November 2004.

Upside: Thanks to Dell's aggressive pricing, the W4200ED is a relatively inexpensive plasma TV. With a slim design, the W4200ED can be wall-mounted or placed on its included stand. By offering two PC inputs and numerous picture-in-picture (PIP) options, Dell makes it possible for you to surf the Web and watch TV simultaneously, so you can check the stats while you watch the game. The rest of the W4200ED's ample connectivity suite is highlighted by a DVI/PC port, an HDMI port, three component-video inputs, three S-Video inputs, and two digital audio outputs.

Downside: Unlike some EDTV plasmas, such as the Panasonic TH-42PD25U, the W4200ED does not include a built-in HD tuner or a digital-cable-ready CableCard slot, so you'll an extra set-top box to receive both HDTV and digital cable. And as with all plasma TVs, you should be aware of possible burn-in issues.

Outlook: With its low price, we expect the W4200ED to attract (relatively) budget-minded buyers who want a big, flat-screen TV. Wait for our full review, where we'll give you all the details.

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