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Moving beyond cameras, Polaroid has been slapping its brand on a variety of budget-priced consumer electronics products, including DVD players, home theaters in a box (HTIBs), and now LCD TVs. Its 17-inch wide-screen set, the LCD-1750, is a fairly basic LCD TV whose main selling points are a relatively high resolution and a relatively low price. Polaroid also makes a similar set with different cosmetics, the LCD-1700.
Housed in a silver case with a charcoal-colored border around the screen, the LCD-1750 is reasonably attractive and as thin as other LCD TVs, measuring 14 by 21 by 7 inches (H, W, D) with stand and weighing 13.7 pounds. On the back, you'll find a handle, which makes the unit easy to take on a road trip or tote from room to room. The included remote is a little strangely shaped (thin at the bottom, thicker on top) and rudimentary, but we did find it simple to use.
As you might expect from a budget model, this Polaroid isn't loaded with features. Nevertheless, the standard stuff is all present and accounted for. You get PIP (picture-in-picture), which allows you to watch TV in a small window while using the rest of the screen as a PC monitor, and basic picture and aspect-ratio controls (standard, zoom, wide). For connectivity, the LCD-1750 provides a set of component, S-Video, and composite-video jacks and an RGB connector for your PC (sorry, no DVI). If you prefer your PC's speakers to those built in to the TV, you can connect them via a back-panel minijack.
To test the LCD-1750's performance, we hooked up a Denon DVD-2900 player and made some basic picture adjustments using Digital Video Essentials before looking at scenes from the Superbit DVD Adaptation. After lowering the color to a more balanced level, reducing sharpness to eliminate extra edges around lines, setting contrast to the midpoint, and blasting the brightness, we were looking at a fairly decent image with reasonable detail in the shadows. The color of the blacks wasn't very deep, but we didn't expect them to be with an inexpensive LCD. During the movie's orchid-hunting scenes in the swamps, we also noticed that green foliage--and green in general--didn't pop like it should. As noted, the LCD-1750 displays the full resolution of 720p HD, and high-def content from the Discovery Channel and HDNet looked quite good.
Oddly, though, when using the LCD-1750 as a PC monitor, you can't view a wide-screen image. Instead, the manual instructs you to set your monitor to 1,024x768, which results in black bars appearing on either side of the desktop. You can stretch the computer image to fill the screen, but it looks fuzzy. In case you're wondering, when watching with bars, you're really looking at about 14.5 inches (diagonal) of image. As a computer monitor, the LCD-1750 performed about as well as the Dell W1700 (not included in the chart below, since we used an earlier methodology to test it) and quite a bit worse than the Sharp LL-M17W1U (which we compared side by side with the Polaroid).
The long and the short of it: If you will use this Polaroid exclusively as a TV, it's an acceptable solution for kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Choose something else, however, if you want an LCD TV that doubles as a strong PC monitor.