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Westinghouse LVM-47w1 review: Westinghouse LVM-47w1

Westinghouse LVM-47w1

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Matthew Moskovciak
Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg

Matthew Moskovciak

Senior Associate Editor / Reviews - Home theater

Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.

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7 min read

The remote for the LCM-47w1 follows the unexciting stylish cues of the TV itself, and we found it more difficult to use than it should be. If you depend on the TV for sound, you'll be especially annoyed to find that the oft-used volume buttons are not called out as well as they should be--they're same size as lesser-used functions such as PIP and Freeze. The remote also a full numeric keypad, but since the Westinghouse has no internal tuner--and hence no channels of its own to tune--the number keys just waste valuable remote real estate. On the upside, there are direct access buttons for component, VGA, DVI, S-Video and A/V sources--although HDMI is strangely missing (but you can get it by hitting DVI repeatedly). For all but the most basic uses, we'd recommend picking up a decent universal remote. One of the big draws for the Westinghouse LVM-47w1 is that it's a 1080p display, which means it has a 1,920x1,080 native resolution, the highest available today, and can display both 1080i and 1080p sources without scaling. All other sources, such as 720p high-def and standard-def content, are scaled to fit the available pixels.

6.7

Westinghouse LVM-47w1

The Good

Comprehensive connectivity including five HD-compatible inputs and a PC input; resolves every detail of 1080 resolution sources; accepts 1080p over HDMI, DVI, and PC inputs; excellent performance as a PC monitor.

The Bad

Subpar picture via standard-def inputs; somewhat inaccurate color; pedestrian styling; terrible remote; no tuner; only one standard-def input.

The Bottom Line

A high resolution, a bunch of HD inputs, and decent image quality performance make the Westinghouse LVM-47w1 a strong contender in the budget, big-screen LCD category.
Intro
Big LCDs used to cost far more than plasmas, but the price gap is shrinking in a hurry. Budget brands such as Westinghouse are making the gap almost nonexistent, with its 47-inch LVM-47w1 going for rock-bottom prices online--if you can find it. With the low price, 1080p native resolution and five HD inputs--plus a PC input that can handle 1080p--the LVM-47w1 seems like a bargain hunter's dream. Sure, the styling is lame, the remote is a joke, and the picture isn't reference quality. It also doesn't have a whole lot of extras, such as tuners or tons of picture controls, and its DVI inputs require adapters to work with HDMI components. But if you're willing to live with those shortcomings, you're looking at a big-screen that can double as a great computer monitor for a very reasonable price. The Westinghouse LVM-47w1 certainly doesn't cater to those who put style first. It has a basic black bezel with silver highlights on the edges and silver speakers on the bottom, all of which combine for a pedestrian look that won't turn too many heads. There's also a small black strip at the bottom with a Westinghouse logo that lights up. Luckily, the distracting logo light can be turned off using the LED option in the General section of the menu. The Westinghouse is medium-size for a 47-inch LCD, measuring 46.1 by 31.7 by 8.9 inches WHD atop the included stand, and weighing 78.9 pounds.

Because the LVM-47w1 lacks any kind of tuner--ATSC or otherwise--it's technically a monitor rather than a TV. In terms of other features, it has the ability to do picture-in-picture, picture-by-picture, and picture-on-picture. The possible combinations of inputs are pretty broad; you can do DVI1 alongside DVI2, for example, although it won't display a PC source as the main picture with component video as the subpicture.

Advanced picture-affecting features are pretty scarce on this set but you do get all the basics. Missing are any picture presets such as Movie or Game, but we did appreciate the presence of independent input memories for tweaking picture parameters differently for each source. There are three available color temperatures (Warm, Neutral, Cool), with Warm coming closest to the standard. We also liked the backlight control, although we wound up leaving it at zero for optimal light output in a dark room--you'd want to turn it up if, for instance, the LVM-47w1 was in a brightly lit area. For our full dark-room picture settings, please refer to Tips & Tricks above.

Aspect-ratio control on the LVM-47w1 is pretty weak. There are just two modes each for standard- and high-def sources, called Standard and Fill. With standard-def sources Fill fills the screen and Standard puts up 4:3 bars; there's no zoom option. With HD sources and the only thing Fill does is to introduce more overscan, zooming the picture a little. We recommend leaving it set to the standard setting so that 1,980x1,080 sources aren't scaled, preserving their full detail.

Connectivity, on the other hand, is the LVM-47w1's strong suit, although you might need some adapters to make it all work. The set can accommodate up to three digital HD sources via its one HDMI and pair of DVI inputs--all of which can accept 1080p signals; we did notice that the set does make a slight clicking sound when switching to the HDMI input, but it's just a slight annoyance. The two DVI inputs are a little anachronistic since most components use HDMI now, but inexpensive DVI-to-HDMI adapters or cables work fine to connect HDMI sources to the LVM-47w1's DVI ports. Note that if you're using your TV as your main audio system, you'll need to connect a separate audio cable since DVI itself does not carry audio.

There are also two component-video inputs along with one VGA-style PC input--and the latter can also accept a 1080p source. The 1080p-capable PC input is a nice extra considering that the Xbox 360's HD-DVD add-on drive will output only 1080p via VGA. Rounding out the rest of the connectivity is just a single A/V input with S-Video, which could be a problem if you don't have a receiver to do the switching and want to directly connect a few standard-def components. Overall, the Westinghouse LVM-47w1 performed better than we expected. It delivered relatively deep levels and fully resolved every detail of 1080-resolution test patterns--although the detail was hard to discern in real life. Color accuracy was a bit off but not overly so. Picture quality via the standard-def inputs was below average, although keep in mind that that's irrelevant if you're watching standard-def via another input, such as HDMI from a cable or satellite box.

Using our Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player outputting 1080i, we looked at some scenes from the Swordfish and Serenity HD-DVDs to get a sense of how much extra detail you get from a 1080p display. Comparing the LVM-47w1 and the 42-inch Vizio GV42L HDTV--which has a 1,366x768 native resolution--there was not much of a visible difference in detail when sitting about eight feet away. Tiny details, such a single strand of hair, were sharp and visible on both sets. It wasn't until we were standing nearly right in front of the two sets that we began to see any difference, and even then it was slight. Of course, resolution test patterns demonstrated that the LVM-47w1 can display more detail, but it's much harder to see that difference in program material.

On the other hand, the extra resolution looked great when we connected a notebook computer at 1,920x1,080 resolution via the PC input. Images were extremely detailed, and we were able to read 12-point type from about eight feet away. We'd love using this display as a monitor, with its high resolution and enormous screen size.

We also spent some time watching standard DVDs in 480i via the component-video input to see how the LVM-47w1 handled standard-def sources. Video processing was pretty noisy, and it didn't pass as many tests from the Silicon Optix's HQV suite as we would have liked. It does successfully engage 2:3 pull-down on film material, as evidenced from the race car test on the HQV disc and the opening scene of Star Trek: Insurrection. In Insurrection, we did notice there was some abnormal flashing behavior during the long pan across the village, and we also saw this phenomenon while watching Pirates of the Caribbean. While we were able to minimize this effect on the Samsung LN-S4096D and the JVC LT-40FH97 by changing their Film mode settings, the Westinghouse lacked any options to correct it.

While color accuracy was pretty decent using objective tests, we had a little more trouble dialing in accurate skin tones on actual program material. For example, when we initially adjusted the settings, we felt that skin tones looked too red--for instance, a close-up of Hugh Jackman made him look sunburned on the LVM-47w1, while he looked much more natural on the Panasonic TH-50PH9UK that we had on-hand for comparison. We tried bringing down the color saturation, and if we took all of the red out of his face, it drained too much of the color from the rest of the image. We settled somewhere in the middle, but it didn't look as natural as it should have.

Black levels were fairly solid for an LCD, although not quite as dark as the Samsung LN-S4096D's we had on-hand to compare. Not surprisingly, neither of the sets could measure up to the black levels of the Panasonic TH-50PH9UK plasma, which were significantly deeper than those of both LCDs.

TEST RESULT SCORE
Before color temp (20/80) 7,123K/7,118K Average
After color temp N/A N/A
Before grayscale variation +/- 542K Average
After grayscale variation N/A N/A
Color of red (x/y) 0.651/0.328 Good
Color of green 0.275/0.595 Average
Color of blue 0.145/0.056 Good
Overscan 0.25 percent Good
Black-level retention All patterns stable Good
2:3 pull-down, 24fps Yes Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Yes Good

6.7

Westinghouse LVM-47w1

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 8Performance 7
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