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Westinghouse LVM-37W1 review: Westinghouse LVM-37W1

Westinghouse LVM-37W1

Phil Ryan
5 min read
Last year, when Westinghouse first jumped into the flat-panel LCD TV pool, the company slapped its logo on a less-than-impressive 30-inch LCD whose only claim to fame was a dirt-cheap price. Things have changed, and now it's one of the first manufacturers to market with a 37-inch flat-panel LCD that has a native 1080p resolution. The LVM-37W1 ($2,300 MSRP) outperforms almost all of the budget flat-panels we've seen lately--and does many things better than name-brand competitors such as the 37-inch Sharp LC-37D7U, which costs a good deal more.
With a silver bezel and stand as well as removable speakers mounted below the screen, this set has a much more pleasing style than last year's Westinghouse. The bottom-mounted speakers take away from the hip wide-screen feel, so if you plan to use an external audio system anyway, you may want to detach them. Menu, volume, channel, input, and power buttons are located on the right side, and a small blue LED, along with an IR receiver, are found on the front bottom right. The small remote is comfortable and even includes dedicated input selection buttons, but it looks more like it belongs to a child's toy than a $2,000 HDTV.
Resolution is the Westinghouse LVM-37W1's strong point. With a native resolution of 1,920x1,080, it has enough pixels to theoretically display every detail of 1080i HDTV (see below). As with most LCDs, all incoming signals are scaled to fit the available pixels. Note that the set also accepts 1080p signals via its DVI 1 and VGA inputs but not DVI 2.
Technically speaking, the LVM-37W1 isn't a TV at all since it doesn't include any tuner; if you want over-the-air television, you'll have to add an external ATSC or NTSC tuner. Naturally, an external tuner box from a cable or satellite company or even the tuner in your VCR will work fine with this panel. Not including a tuner allows the company to avoid the FCC's ATSC tuner mandate and, thus, reduces the cost of the set.
Convenience features include independent input memories, color temperature presets, and picture-in-picture. For aspect-ratio controls, you'll find Standard, which displays 4:3 sources properly; Fill for displaying 16:9 sources properly; and Zoom, which crops the top and bottom of the picture. All of them work with both standard- and high-def sources.
For such a budget-priced panel, the jack pack is surprisingly complete. It offers two DVI inputs with HDCP, one of which can handle resolutions up to 1080p/60Hz and the other that can do 720p, 1080i, and up to 1,280x1,024/60Hz from PCs but not 1080p. You also get two high-bandwidth component (they don't accept 1080p), one S-Video, one composite, one VGA that can handle 1080p/60Hz, one stereo minijack audio, and five stereo RCA audio (one per video in). In a perfect world, there'd be an HDMI input too, but DVI offers identical video quality, and you can purchase inexpensive cables or adapters to connect your HDMI sources.
Overall, the Westinghouse LVM-37W1 delivered above-average video quality for a flat-panel LCD. Right out of the box, it served up a color temperature very close to the reference 6,500K, especially in brighter portions of the picture (see the Geek box for more). At the time of this writing, we were unable to access the service menu to perform a proper calibration, but after adjusting the user menu controls for the best possible black level, the color temperature became noticeably bluer. Still, it was better than we've seen in some panels that cost twice as much. The color decoder evinced slight red push, and like so many LCDs, this Westinghouse has orangey reds.
As we expected from a flat-panel LCD, the Westinghouse LVM-37W1 didn't produce a very deep black and surprisingly truncated some detail in white areas. This combo was visible when watching one of our favorite test scenes, "Chapter 3: Awakening" from Alien: The Director's Cut. When the door to the hibernation room opened, the Westinghouse's poor black level buried much of the detail in the dimly lit scene. Once the lights came on, the bright highlights on the windows of the hibernation pods became blown out and difficult to view. The Sharp LC-37D7U we had on hand soundly beat the Westinghouse in terms of rendering deeper, cleaner blacks and dark areas of the picture, and it didn't crush whites. Conversely, the Sharp gave the white walls a red-yellow hue, while the LVM-37W1 served up a much more natural-looking color.
As the opening scene of Star Trek: Insurrection showed, the LVM-37W1 includes 2:3 pull-down, so film-based sources remained solid instead of devolving into a jaggy mess. On the other hand, the LVM-37W1 introduced a bit more video artifacts and noise than did the Sharp, even in HD sources viewed through the DVI inputs.
High-def still looked good via our DirecTV HD feed, and we recommend you set your HDTV source to 1080i when possible. When we did so, the LVM-37W1 produced a more-detailed picture on DiscoveryHD than did the Sharp LC-37D7U, although we needed to sit relatively close--say, six feet or less--to notice the difference. We also tried an informal PC gaming demo, hooking up the LVM-37W1 to a nice PC and playing a bit of Half-Life 2 at 1,920x1,080/60Hz; the large, sharp image was impressive. When we connected our Sencore VP403 signal generator, it indicated that the LVM-37W1 couldn't quite resolve every pixel of a 1080i signal, but the Westinghouse did a much better job than even the 45-inch Sharp LC-45GX6U we reviewed earlier this year.
At this price, it's hard not to recommend the Westinghouse LVM-37W1 for viewing HDTV in a bright room or using as a massive computer monitor, especially when compared to the other LCDs we've seen so far. However, if you're looking for a 37-inch flat-panel that will perform best for home theater, we still prefer less expensive plasmas such as Panasonic's TH-37PWD7UY and TH-37PX50U. While their native resolutions aren't nearly as high as those of the Westinghouse, they make up the difference in other areas, such as black level and color. For more on LCD vs. plasma, see our comparison.
Before color temp (20/80)6,750/6,550KGood
After color temp (20/80)N/AN/A
Before grayscale variation+/- 283KGood
After grayscale variationN/AN/A
Color decoder error: red+5%Good
Color decoder error: green0%Good
DC restorationAll patterns stableGood
2:3 pull-down, 24fps(Y)Good
Defeatable edge enhancement(Y)Good