It has been 1 month since I accepted delivery on my W4201C, I thought I would post some of my impressions ...
After recieving the TV, I turned down the brightness/contrast/saturation settings, and a week or so later calibrated the set (AVIA). Since then I have done some fine tuning to tweak these settings to my liking (I like my blacks a bit darker than calibration DVDs do). I use the following sources everyday on my TV:
LG LDA-531 Upconverting DVD Player - HDMI 1(was using via component at first)
Analog cable (NTSC input)
OTA HD (ATSC input)
DishNetwork 301 (S-Video1)
I estimate that I am just over 100 hours on this set as we speak. I personally can vouch for 4 hours a day, son/wife do about another 2-3, mostly (ugh) Barney/Wiggles DVDs. Here are my impressions:
Black crush - lots written about black crush on Dell plasmas. I have seen it once in 100 hours (a couple of days ago), on an SD channel on analog cable that always seems much worse in PQ than other channels. I dont think it was the TV's fault, the channel was looking quite grainy and dark compared to others. Black crush seems to be more of an issue on the 50" models, as far as I can tell.
White crush - havent seen anything at all.
Red Push - you guessed it, none seen.
Posterization - once again, nothing to note.
PQ - impressed by overall PQ. Colors seem very accurate. Good overall PQ in SD, Excellent in HD. Upconverted DVDs (i watch em at 1080i) are amazingly detailed with composite or HDMI inputs, HDMI is a little crisper and cleaner looking. SD much better using satellite compared to cable (garbage in, garbage out I suppose). Excellent brightness for well lit areas (like a family room during the daytime).
Picture modes - A proper zoom without stretching the picture would have been nice. Not much difference between wide/standard/full screen modes, esp. with 4:3 SD programming.
Presets - pain in the butt that color temp settings are not saved if you change to a preset and try to go back to 'Personal'. Sheesh. No explanation as to why they did this. Color temp reverts back to Blue. At least make the default 'Normal' or 'Natural'. Come on Dell, you can do it.
1) Who TF at Dell decided it was a good idea to remove the ATSC signal strength meters from the W4201C? They were there in the W4200HD sets. Stupid, since it makes pointing an antenna difficult, maybe near impossible if you are very far from broadcast points. Bummer. If you are in a fringe or near fringe area, I would recommend an external ATSC tuner, with a freakin signal meter!
2) Remotes "Prev Ch" button does not switch between inputs. Now that is useless!
3) Plasma screen is very glossy, shows a lot of reflections in bright situations .. easy to see reflections from ceiling lights/lamps and windows on bright days, esp. if you are watching darker scenes. Not sure if other plasmas are less shiny than this one.
4) Speakers are nothing to write home about, about par with most plasma TV speakers. Was expecting better, kind of tinny sounding, lots of bass though. They are removable, so at least you can turf 'em for better ones.
4.5) Volume levels are on the low side of this TV. The vol does get quite loud, but only once you take it above 95% of max. That is a lot of button mashing to change levels noticeably. Perhaps my Panny CRT has me spoiled, but it has only about 40 steps from lowest to loudest, and anything above about 75% volume is ear splitting. I can max out the Dell, its loud, but not enough to stress your ears with.
5) Dell support can be a bunch of asshats. My set is missing the 2 thumb screws that secure the speakers to the stand. I do not need to be transferred 20 times to 20 different people, hung up on, etc to get a pair of screws. Ok, the 20 figure is an exaggeration, but it felt
like 20. Really.
Overall: Excellent value for the price in Canada, considering its an HD plasma, has a jillion inputs and an ATSC tuner. Great so far, hopefully it stays that way