Well, I just happened to walk into Circuit City about a week ago to replace an aging 27" Sony, and happened to run across a "returned & serviced" Zenith c27v36 for $299. It has some shipping damage - just a few marks on the cabinet, and the lower swing door falls off easily - but nothing major so I figured what the heck. The CC guy told me it was returned due to some interference in the picture from the speakers, but it was serviced so should be ok. Same warranty as a new set & I got the extended 3 year plan.
Ok, so now I got it home and hooked it up to an HD-DVR from my local cable company via component cables, and hooked up my daughters Playstation to the other component inputs. I don't (yet) have it hooked up to an external sound source but probably will shortly if everything on it checks out. I should start off by saying that it looks really nice in HD mode, and in general the picture's "geometry" ? is pretty good.
I've searched through the threads and have found answers to many of my questions (like how to program the remote!) - but there are some things I couldn't find that I'm hoping to get feedback on before my initial 30 days are up... please note that I'm no AV genius, so if my terminology & general understanding seems weak - well, that's pretty much where I'm at.
1) When I set the cable box to send 480p, 720p & 1080i signals, it seems to do a pretty good job of switching from "full screen" mode to the letterbox mode depending on whether the channel offers HD. Unfortunately, the 480p mode doesn't look good - it has vertical "hazing" that cycles through the picture - BUT, 480i mode looks just fine - so I set the cablebox for 480i, 720p and 1080i outputs - but now it NEVER uses the 480 mode! So, everything comes in a letterbox, HD or not. I can't figure out why this is, although I realize that maybe it's the cable box never sending out the 480i mode (?). For now, I'm manually changing the output depending on whether or not I'm watching HD, but I'm hoping someone here has a similar setup that might be able to shed light on this?
2) There is noticeable "fuzziness" on the left and right edges of the display. The left looks slightly brown-tinted, and the right slightly blue. It's about 2-3 inches in on each side, and (as you might suspect) only "really" noticeable with text and white backgrounds (like in the cable menu, and on tickers) - the fuzziness seems less noticeable in HD, and really not noticeable during non-text viewing like movies, etc. with the exception of slight mis-coloring - but probably only because I know it's there. I've tried using the DEGAUSS option a couple of times - but hasn't helped & I don't think it wise to overdo it. Should I be concerned about this - does something like this get worse as time goes on? Can it be improved?
3) I've been noticing a random 'popping' from the speakers - sometimes 30-45 seconds apart, sometimes 5 minutes. At first I thought it was just during the first 10 minutes of turning it on - but last night I watched a full show on it for the first time, and it popped intermittently all through the show (which was the HD version of "ER"). My daughter hasn't noticed anything when using the Playstation, but I am planning to spend some time with it this weekend trying different inputs/settings to see if I can contain the issue... but in the meantime, I'm wondering if this is a common occurance of this set that might have a simple solution?
4) Finally, I've been reading about the "service menu" a bit, and I'm wondering if I might be able to resolved any of these issues (screen-wise) through this? I see a detailed thread for the C32V37, but not the C27.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. At $299, I'm willing to put up with some inconveniences - but like most of you (I'm guessing), there is a fine line between getting a good deal and being irritated every time you sit down to watch TV!
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to any thoughts...