Zenith C32V37 with integrated HDTV tuner.http://www.zenith.com/index.asp?url=.../ad_C34W23.asp
At the present time, it is fairly unusual to have a built-in HDTV over the air (OTA) tuner in any TV, let alone one costing less than $1000, so that makes this one worthy of a little mini review.
The HDTV tuner works excellent, getting better signal quality than MyHD tuner card. The HDTV looks as good as any tube TV, or most rear projection and plasma, but it really makes me appreciate my Infocus X1. HDTV at these smaller sizes is kind of a waste. To really appreciate HDTV resolution, you need to make it big, which the X1 does marvelously (even with just 800 X 600 resolution.) That being said, the HDTV picture is sharp and precise. I was also able to route HDTV from MyHD PCI card via component and this worked fine. So I will be able to watch HDTV recorded on my computer with MyHD. And now I can watch one HDTV channel on this TV and record another one with my tuner card â€“ very nice! Not many people can watch one HDTV channel while recording another.
Having the HDTV tuner integrated ensures that the signal stays digital the whole way. HDTV looks really good.
Regular cable TV looks good. This is something lots of HDTVs struggle with. The sharpness control works well without introducing video noise.
HDTV tuner is sensitive and locks in to the signal pretty good. Iâ€™m using a Zenith silver sensor which I got for around twenty bucks at buy com.
Aspect ratio button on the remote lets you toggle between: â€œset by program,â€ 4:3, 16:9 and Zoom. This aspect ratio works on just about any of the input sources, and is especially handy with OTA HDTV, where standard broadcasts are inset in the center of the screen. Using zoom will fill the screen. It is easy to toggle through these options and find the one you like. If you donâ€™t mind making everyone skinny looking, you can get 16:9 source to stretch to fill the 4:3 screen. This worked OK.
EZ tuning automatically inserts HDTV OTA channels into your regular channel lineup. In my area, channel 4 is ABC. When I input â€œ4â€ on the remote, it defaults to the HDTV digital signal, which if fine because OTA digital has a better picture than cable TV. If I scroll up through the digital channels, I get about 12 in the Seattle area, it will reach the cable channels and I can get channel 4 via cable.
When set to digital cable, I can receive cable transmitted in HDTV. At present Comcast in Seattle only has three, ABC, PBS and ESPN-HD, but it is nice being able to get HDTV over cable without a box. Unfortunately, it is either cable digital or OTA digital. You can't enable both at the same time. This only works for unscrambled digital cable, so no HBO and stuff.
Digital optical out, so you can output OTA Dolby digital to your receiver/decoder.
Custom â€œsurfâ€ button on your remote lets you set a favorites list of channels. You can only have about 10 favorite channels. So I set a few in strategic spots of the cable lineup. So I can zoom to the general area of the cable lineup with the surf button and then go up and down with the regular channel switch.
If you have it set for OTA reception, it will also tune in your regular analog OTA channels. This analog tuner is excellent, with very little ghosting or other problems associated with regular analog TV reception.
Two tuner PIP.
Lots of input, including DVI, two component and four video input.
Each source -- video 1, component, cable, HDTV, etc -- all retain their own video display settings, which is handy. It takes a little more time to get all your sources tweaked, but this is still a plus.
Right now the negatives are longer for me. Donâ€™t make too much out of these complaints, as I get buyers remorse whenever I spend $1000 on something. This makes the negatives more dramatic at first. Usually I adjust and maybe even find out ways around the limitations.
Setup is dumbed down and so is the manual. There isnâ€™t too much customizing of your antenna sources and stuff. This might be a positive for people who want more plug-and-play as it does integrate HDTV digital channels into your lineup automatically.
While this TV has "digital cable" tuner, you canâ€™t select OTA HDTV (DTV) and digital cable (CADTV) at the same time. This is odd and makes me mad, because it wonâ€™t let you mix and match what each of your two antenna sources are receiving. Instead you have four options, only one of these options uses a cable TV feed and OTA HDTV feed at the same time. This makes me mad because I wanted to try the digital cable. Instead of allowing you to customize this stuff, it has something called â€œEZ scanâ€ which only gives you four options, two of which only use only one of the antenna inputs!!
The default video settings were terrible. Why is it that every TV manufacturer makes the default contrast 100% and the default brightness 50%? This rarely looks good on any TV, and yet they continue to use this default. So figure on adjusting the brightness, contrast and color. The default color of 55 was too saturated, so I had to set this at 35. There are about 6 â€œpictureâ€ choices to toggle through, such as â€œsportsâ€ or â€œtheater,â€ which might be good for certain people. Iâ€™ll experiment with these later.
Remote button for toggling through video sources is slow and make you toggle through all your sources. This means it might take you ten or more seconds to toggle through your choices. There is a two second pause between switching sources. There is a separate "component/DVI" button, so you can access these three sources relatively fast.
PIP is highly configurable, but when you swap the picture, there is a two second black screen as it switches sources. No fast PIP switching. This slow switching kind of drains the enjoyment of swapping PIP windows. Maybe Iâ€™ll get used to this.
Channel change is a little slow. In between channel changes, there is a Â½ second black screen between the channels. This might annoy channel surfers.
While tube is 32â€, the actual viewing area is about 31â€. There is a black border around the whole picture. Since I upgraded from a legitimate 30â€ TV, I wanted the full 32â€, so this disappoints me.
Warranty on labor is puny 90 days. Iâ€™m not sure if this is standard with most TVs now, but I certainly would have preferred a full year warranty. Parts does have one year and tube is two year warranty.
This TV is big and heavy, 158 lbs. While it is 36 inches wide, it starts tapering back immediately, so only the first inch or so if actually 36â€ wide. Go toward the back of the TV six inches and it is only 32â€ wide, quickly tapering the rest of the way.
Iâ€™ve pleased with the picture so far. It has a nice picture from a variety of sources. It will compliment my projector nicely. The HDTV tuner is a big, huge plus. If you are located close to an urban area, you can probably get free OTA HDTV. Since cheaper HDTV tuners cost around $300 or much more, that makes the $1000 price look even better. While it is very unusual to have integrated HDTV tuners in TVs, that is soon to change. It is my opinion that the parts for integrated HDTV tuning are probably $50 at most, so more and more TVs will start having integrated tuners (finally!!!) It is also my opinion that HDTV tuners are ridiculously overpriced at $300 for a cheap one by Samsung. Unfortunately there is no way to output the HDTV of this TV to another source, such as a projector.
If you have any questions, just let me know and Iâ€™ll try to get the answer.http://www.zenith.com/index.asp?url=.../ad_C34W23.asp