Note: This post has been updated to include answers to questions up to page 2 in this thread so after you read this post, you can skip to page 2 if you want to avoid chatter.
I just plugged in my Sceptre 37" 1920x1080 TV, and here are some first notes / thoughts, along with some pictures.
Packaging: Good, not great, Unless they throw it it'll probably arrive OK. It's double boxed with nothing in between the 2 boxes, good so that you can save the original box for storage, but I would have preferred some air between the boxes because UPS is about the worst carrier out there when it comes to damaging shipments.
* Batteries for Remote.
* Cable - HDMI on TV end, DVI on PC end. It's only 3' long though.
* Cable - Audio/Video/Composite
* Cable - Component
* Cable - Mini audio cable (headphone size on both ends perfect for sound blaster)
* Cable - Power
* Cable - VGA
* Two wires for hooking up attachable speakers
I'm really only going to hook up a PC via HDMI/DVI, and I have no good source of NTSC video so you're going to have to rely on someone else for that info. I did hook up an HDTV antenna though.
As far as the PC input via HDMI, it really does look great, I tested it at 1920x1080 from a Radeon X800XL, it did 1:1 pixel perfect soon as it booted up. It's 10am, and sunny and theres a window behind the TV, but blacks are pure black and whites are excellent. The backlight has 8 levels (0-7) I have it on 4 now and am completely satisfied by the brightness and blackness. I could probably punch it down a few notches as well.
I see no banding but I'm not an expert on this as I have never actually seen that sort of thing. The only thing I can notice is that if you turn the lamp up to max, and look hard it's slightly brighter around the edges, not much though. I think most people wont see that, and I can only see it when I really try to find something wrong, and it's in HDMI mode with a blue windows desktop background with lamp full on
Dot pitch is evident though when you're sitting with your eyes closer than 24" from the TV , and is a little annoying, but when I sit 24"+ from the screen its not an issue at all. It's also annoying to have to turn your head left and right to read the whole screen lol but thats life in the fast lane.
There is an issue:
Any channel you tune to will say what it's being broadcast in in the EPG. The OSD always says 720p no matter what channel you are on. I've asked Sceptre about this and they say it's a bug, and the 720p is incorrect. I'm not so sure I believe them though. This unit may be using a tuner that has a max output of 720p, and therefor not delivering true 1080i to you.
Other than that, I was really impressed that it could pull in stations that neither my HDTV Wonder, nor my Fusion5 could see. But after a few hours it seemed as though the sensitivity of the tuner degraded and I went from 8 channels back to 4. Perhaps heat is a factor here? Unfortunately, I can't find any content playing at the moment that isn't just upscaled 480i, and the problem with that is that most of the local stations have pathetic upscalers, not to mention the extremely awefull analog->digital conversion... I have always seen alot of blooming, ghosting, and aliasing from local upscaled HDTV (this is on 3 different systems) due to crummy conversion/upscaling at the source. One 1080i channel showing 480i upscaled looks really good though.
One annoyance I can see is that it doesn't always get the aspect ratio right on "auto" mode. That's kinda common but the kicker is that you switch between "auto" and "4:3" "zoom" "19:9" and "partial zoom" on a global basis... that is if you switch on one channel, then change the channel, you have to switch back to Auto, or the appropriate aspect. There's no way to save aspects on a per channel basis. Highly annoying. I'm not much of a TV watcher though, so it's not that big of a deal for me.
On Screen Guide.
It's no TIVO, but seems adequate. It appears that the guide is generated in a res closer to 640x480, and then overlayed on the video (not the panel) so when you select a zoomed aspect ratio, your guide is zoomed off the top of the screen lol.
DVD via PC
Well, I just built this PC so dont have DVD installed yet, but I do have DIVX, and I played a 2.1gig divx of the 9gig enhanced matrix in DVI at 1920x1080, and well, I'm really blown away by it, Looks are all subjective, but I have to say it looks better than my 23" HP widescreen LCD, better than my 720p Panasonic projector (AE-700), and better than any LCD source I've seen (quite a few). As far as color levels, depth of color, black and white levels, it really reminds me of my 32" SD Sony TV that I got rid of a few years ago, but of course this has a much sharper image.
I'm not all too impressed with the PIP functionality as a whole. (but then again, I never am) I may not have it all figured out yet, but it looks like there are 2 sides to the TV, one has HDTV/VGA/DVI/HDMI, the other side has NTSC TV/AV1/AV2/Component.
When you are watching the first side(HDTV/VGA/DVI/HDMI), you can PIP NTSC TV, AV1, AV2, and that's it.
When you are watching the second side, you have more options but it gets more complicated. I dont have a full matrix of the possibilities.
there is a button on the remote labled PIP Audio, you press it and it toggles between main audio, and PIP audio. When in DVI mode on main picture, you can surf channels in the PIP as well The pip aspect ratio is fixed at 16:9 with no apparent way to change it, and it appears that all sources are stretched to fill the PIP window. The size of the pip window can be toggled between 1/4 screen size, and 1/16 screen size with another size in between. There is no accurate positional control available for it, you can put it in one of the 4 corners but not move it around. There is also a swap button on the remote to swap pip<->main, and the sound follows the swap. The PIP window has a bright red border around it about 1/4" wide.
I think it's safe to say no one is going to rave about the high def sound. There is no bass at all. (I guess the subwoofer out should be a clue). It doesn't sound completely awfull, I mean theres not alot of distortion or anything. It looks like it would be easy to open the detachable speakers (a few screws) and replace the speakers inside with some quality ones. It appears there are 3x3" circular shaped speakers in each side. This thing does look overbearing with the speakers attached, and if you have a bright light source behind it (window like me) you can see some light coming through between the gap between the speaker and the case. As soon as I dig up my old 5.1-in-a-box from the basement Im taking off the speakers and running with that... More for aesthetic reasons than anything else.
* Update * I have come to realise that the sound from this unit is pathetically bad. Frequency response is non linear, everything sounds muddy, and everyone is reporting hiss and buzz.
The inputs look to be the same as pictured on the Sceptre website, so have a look at the pic there. Although they are all downward facing which I find kinda annoying.
The case looks fine to both myself, and the wife. The stand does look cheap though. There is no tilt or swivel on the stand. On the back, the power rocker is slightly tilted on it's mount, minor defect but no one will ever see so I'm not worried.
When I get within 6" or so I can see one pixel in the lower center that has a dead blue component. This wont bother me though because it's bright yellow on a white screen, and black on a black screen... i.e. its invisible for most conditions even when up real close.
It has mounting holes, looks like the screw holes are about same size as vesa monitor mounting screws, but the spacing is much larger... I dont have a metric ruler handy but the spacing between the holes is 17.5" horizontal and 8" vertical.
It looks like you could flush mount this baby directly to the wall, and still be able to connect/disconnect cables while it's mounted (Provided you have a small hand or can borrow one).
Unfortunately, the LCD Panel goes bright blue when the PC puts it on standby.
I didn't wait long to test if it eventually decides for itself to go into standby. I never really turn mine off so it wont be an issue for me but for those who do that could be annoying.
My testing method: In display properties, screen saver tab, clicked power, set "turn of monitor" to 1min, then waited 60 seconds, it went bright blue, waited 5 minutes, still bright blue.
* When selecting DVI/HDMI, there are 3 modes, the first one crops , says HDMI, the second one crops, says HDMI/HDCP, the third one says DVI and doesn't crop. Don't panic when you get a cropped image like I did, just keep cycling
* You cant select any of the video sources directly, you cycle through 4 on one button, and the other 4 on the other.
I'm happy I bought this thing, and would do it again. It's probably the best PC Monitor you can buy that's over 30" and with 1080p display. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that plans to use it solely as a TV though. To get the potential from this set I think you have to use external video sources.
Attached Images: Shows packaging, accessories, and comparison side to side with 15" lcd on monitor arm.