I've had my LC3700N for just over a week now and thought I'd post a bit about my experiences with it. I ordered it directly from HP rather than through another retailer because they have an EPP agreement with my company, and with free 2nd day shipping, it came out to be pretty competitive with any of the other retailers (despite having to pay sales tax
It arrived from FedEx double boxed with no visible damage to the box or the internal packaging. It was a perfect fit in my cabinet without the speakers (which I never attached, as I don't need them) with just enough clearance on the side. The appearance is very eye pleasing. The black goes very well with my cabinet, and I much prefer the no speakers look and height than the Sharp LC37D6U or D7U with the speakers on the bottom. The stand turns the TV and is able to hold it tightly while being easy to move, very nice. However, the silver stand is very out of place, and I wish HP had made it black. I don't know what they were thinking when they did this.
I've attached a picture taken pretty much after unpacking and setting it up, before removing the mylar around the frame, and recabling everything to make it neater (I'll post another picture of the finished product later).
Connecting the cables was somewhat of a pain, with my pier being on the left, I had to make sure all of the cables were long enough to go to the set *and* have enough room to bend to the right. DVI and HDMI was hard to connect since you have to push up (pretty much blindly) to connect them.
After plugging it in, initial setup was a breeze. I didn't set up the internal tuners since I'm using a cable box, and the default settings for everything were pretty good (I'm just now starting to tweak the color to my satisfaction, more on that later). I didn't see any dead pixels or any unevenness in the backlighting.
Here's how I had things connected, and my experience.
Motorola DCT-6412 DVR/cable box is connected over component. 4:3 programming is set to output 480p (although I may experiment with using 480i instead -- has anybody had experience with this?). HDTV looks great, while SDTV ranges from being acceptible to downright terrible, although a major part of this could be Comcast's signal (they switched to digital simulcast in my area).
LG LGDVB418 upscaling DVD player is connected over HDMI. I set it to output at 720p. At first, I thought it looked terrible, but after fiddling with the settings on the DVD player a bit, I think it looks better, although playback sometimes feels a little jerky. More on that later. The TV says "incompatible audio source" whenever switching to the DVD player. I'm not sure why this is, and I haven't bothered to troubleshoot this yet as I have the DVD audio going directly to my receiver, and have read it will only do PCM over HDMI.
Homebuilt Media Center 2005 PC is connected over DVI from an nVidia 6600GT card. It took a bit of tweaking to get it to do dot-to-dot mapping in native resolution, but I got it working. TV playback can seem a bit jerky, and I haven't yet determined if it's my video card settings (too low a clock cycle speed?) or something else. I'm tempted to just switch it back to 1280x720 and let the TV scale it to see if it eliminates that. DVI setup required me going into the menu and setting it to use DVI-D rather than analog (the default). The auto-sync is very nice, and works great when using the nVidia test patterns that come with their control panel. The PQ in the MCE shell looks great, and DVDs look great too (much better than through the DVD player).
Here's the game consoles I'm using. Xbox and Playstation 2 are connected over component and switched through my receiver. I don't have any Playstation 2 games that are progressive scan compatible, but the games look great. I haven't seen any evidence of ghosting. Xbox progressive scan games look excellent, and I haven't seen any ghosting with them either. GameCube is connected over S-Video (I can't justify using component for it since I use it so rarely). Again, no evidence of ghosting and great PQ.
Now, for the color. There's some red and green push, although not a lot, but it can get annoying. One thing I've noticed is there often seems to be a greenish outline around people's faces. I'm not sure how to eliminate this. Turning down the sharpness to around -3 has helped, but I'm thinking I may need to go into CMS and tweak it further. I'm not sure where to start; I consider myself well versed in home theater, but CMS is pretty intimidating to me (not like a service menu, but just because its adjustments are so subtle, it's hard for to tell if it's helping). I also sometimes see red blooming. I've turned down reds a little bit and it seems to help. My ancient copy of Video Essentials helped me to adjust black levels, but I probably need to get something newer such as Digital Video Essentials or Avia to really tweak it.
There also seems to be a bit of backlighting issues around the edges of pictures. For instance, if I'm watching something in 4:3 that itself is letterboxed (this happens with commercials when watching HD channels a lot), it seems that the very edge where the picture meets the black box is brighter than other areas. Is this normal? This could be my cable box being stupid, too, but since this HD and LCD TV stuff is new to me, I'm still not quite sure what to expect yet.
When properly adjusted, black levels look excellent. Obviously, not as good as a CRT or plasma, but the blacks look black, not gray, and this is with the backlight at 0 for me. When switching between my PC (whose black levels I haven't calibrated yet) and my DVR (which has had its black levels calibrated) it's like night and day. Blacks on the PC look kind of grayish (although still very good) and on the DVR they look black. Contrast can be blindingly white, there's no lack of brightness. I've had to step it down a little bit because its default setting was too bright for me.
Here's my biggest concern, perhaps someone here can shed light on it:
Watching TV can seem jerky to me sometimes. Not ghosty, but things just don't seem smooth -- it's very subtle, but it bothers me. I don't know if this is my eyes playing tricks on me because I'm not used to a 16:9 set, or if it's something else, but it seems that whenever things are moving around, it's just not smooth. I see this when watching DVDs, HD, and SD broadcasts. I don't know if this is the Quick Shot circuitry (is there any disadvantage to using it?), if it's the source material, if it's a setting I'm missing on my TV, or if it's all in my head. Has anybody else noticed this? Is it just something I need to get used to because of hypersensitivity, or something else? This is my first HDTV so I'm not sure if this is to be expected, or what.