Westinghouse W33001 review: Westinghouse W33001

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The Good Inexpensive; 2:3 pull-down detection; independent input memory; dual-component inputs; DVI input.

The Bad Poor color decoding and video processing; nondefeatable edge enhancement; subpar black-level performance; limited picture controls via component input.

The Bottom Line While the price of this 30-inch LCD TV is enticing, its performance just doesn't measure up.

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4.5 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 6
  • Performance 3

Review summary

According to the Westinghouse Web site, the company "offers a wide range of products and services to keep nuclear power plants operating safely and competitively worldwide." For everyone's safety, we hope those products perform better than the W33001. This flat-panel HDTV, branded Westinghouse by a subsidiary of the nuclear-plant-parts maker, is available for less than $2,000--near the bottom of the 30-inch LCD price ladder. It isn't quite as ugly on the outside as Gateway's version, but its picture is a bit worse. That said, if your main goal is just to have an LCD panel hanging on the wall or propped up on a table for casual viewing, this TV gets the job done. If you want a decent picture, however, you'll have to spend a bit more on a set such as the Sharp LC30HV6U.

Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

The Westinghouse W33001's silver-plastic housing doesn't strike us as horribly grotesque, but it definitely doesn't exude class. A relatively thick border surrounds the 30-inch screen, flanked by nonremovable speakers that increase the perception of width. In all, the W33001 measures 19 by 35 by 4 inches (H, W, D) without its feet attached. An optional wall mount is available, as is a centered table stand for those who don't want to use those side-mounted feet.

The included remote control boasts dedicated buttons for each input. It was a little unresponsive at times and had to be pointed precisely for the command to go through. The top-right side of the panel also has buttons that allow you to access all the display's menu commands, just in case you lose the remote. Interestingly, the remote also includes a sliding panel toward the bottom that hides Teletext controls for PAL/SECAM. NTSC users need never slide open the panel. With a native resolution of 1,280x768, the Westinghouse W33001 can fully display 720p HDTV and converts all other incoming signals, including 1080i HDTV, to match that resolution. The panel's built-in NTSC tuner will get regular TV, but you'll have to add an external ATSC, cable, or satellite tuner to watch HDTV. The video processing includes 2:3 pull-down to keep lines in film-based sources smooth instead of jagged and broken.

Picture-in-picture tops the list of convenience features. We also liked the inclusion of independent input memories, which means you can adjust the picture controls specifically for each source. If you decide not to route your audio through an A/V receiver or a home theater in a box, you can flip on a simulated surround-sound mode--but don't expect wonders.

We also have to give Westinghouse credit for the array of inputs it included on the W33001. The rear panel is home to one set each of progressive and interlaced component inputs. It also has one S-Video, one composite, one RS232, and one VGA-style PC input. Digital purists will appreciate the DVI input, which lets you maintain the integrity of digital sources all the way to the panel for a slight boost in image quality. Of course, you'll need a source with a DVI output, such as a late-model HDTV receiver or DVD player, to take advantage of this. The Westinghouse W33001 didn't perform well in CNET Labs' tests. We began by attempting to calibrate the set, but its internal red, green, and blue controls interacted much more than usual with the panel's brightness control, making proper calibration impossible. Our attempts to calibrate resulted in an overly green picture (see the geek box for more). In addition, as with many LCD panels, the primary colors themselves weren't accurate. In particular, reds looked too orange. Color accuracy wasn't quite as bad as the Samsung LTN325W's but wasn't as good as the LG RU-23LZ21's.

Dark scenes, traditionally a big challenge to LCDs, indeed had their own issues. In chapter 4 of Alien, for example, shadows melded together into swaths of dark gray. Valuable details in the picture were lost. In the same scene, the TV's nondefeatable edge enhancement made the computer screens on the Nostromo dance with artifacts. As the ship moved through space, it seemed to shimmy, and the panel's false contouring created bands of varied brightness and unnatural color.

In the opening scene of Star Trek: Insurrection, the W33001's 2:3 pull-down kept the curved bridge smooth, but once again, edge enhancement caused artifacts such as dancing lines and harsh edges. We noticed these same effects when we turned to our DirecTV satellite feed.

Even the best HDTV material had noise in it. The demo on the 720p D-VHS version of Digital Video Essentials showed prominent false contouring in the waiter scene, and Jim Corwin Experiences Africa on DiscoveryHD had African thickets that were thick with video noise. The same material viewed on the LG RU-23LZ21 looked much clearer and more pleasing to the eye.

Geek box (huh?)
Before color temp (30/80)9100/7850KPoor
After color temp (30/80)6000/6590KPoor
Grayscale variation 20 to 100 IRE+/-647Poor
Average overscan5%Average
2:3 pull-down, 24fpsYGood
Defeatable edge enhancementNPoor
Color decoder error: red15%Poor
Color decoder error: green25%Poor