Well, I got mine last night. I initially started with a 37LC2DU, but returned it because it just didn't have the features I realized I really wanted after all - most notably, the tv guide on screen. My prior set, an older (circa 2000) RCA 27" analog set, had the "Guide+" feature that I found I use-- a lot. So does my wife.
Anyway.... while the 37LC2DU unit is really a very good set (especially in its price point), it falls a little short in "features". No cinema zoom, no guide, only one HDMI (but you get 2xHDMI if you find the "older" 37LC2DU-UD units..). So, back it went. Also, there's a lot of people having bleeding and mura issues with those sets.
On to my review:PQ:
As I had with my prior LG unit, my opinion is that the picture quality is really very good. HD broadcasts are well, STUNNING. SD broadcasts also show up really quite well. I never get the feeling that I'm watching a "fuzzy" image at all. I am still fiddling with the various color adjustments (contrast, brightness, and so on). The "presets" they have ("Daytime", "Normal", and so on) seem to do quite well. I'm actually pretty pleased with "normal" most of the time. My customized "User1" and "User2" settings will take some time to play with.
Yes, this is an LCD unit, and the "blacks" are really "dark grey" and so on-- that's a limitation I can live with-- if you're super fussy about that you may want to look into a plasma unit. My personal opinion is, for an LCD picture, it looks great as far as I am concerned.
One of the niftiest bonuses the 42LB1DR has in this area is the "APM" feature. With "APM", you press a button and the screen is divided into four quadrants, so for whatever show or movie you're watching, you can see four different screen settings (Daytime, Normal, Night, and User1/User2) all AT ONCE. This helps provide a real cool side-by-side comparison. The 37-inch units do not have this feature.SOUND:
Again, very good. And as with the pic, there's several presets to choose from (Normal, Theater, Stadium, News, etc)-- here for whatever reason I thought the 37-inch unit's presets were better. The "Theater" setting on this unit sounds a bit hollow, but that's not a big issue. Lots of presets to choose from, and I found that some of the presets (as well as one of the user settings I fiddled with) sounded really great. Absolutely no complaints here. The speakers on this unit are on the SIDE as opposed to the bottom, so you get some nice stereo here.GUIDE:
This I just love. Same as the RCA/Gemstar "Guide+" I had before, but even more so. I have yet to do all of the channel editing, so that I only see the channels I want, have them in the order I want and so on. Takes getting used to, since the TVGOS screen is certainly "busier" than the Guide+ was. It's certainly colorful!! I first plugged in my television late last night, by this morning all of the guide information was there. (Note locale: Milwaukee, WI). Reminder: I'm using nothing more than an OTA antenna. My antenna is a typical "roof" antenna, but it's actually IN my house, in the attic. I used "antennaweb.com" to help me aim it properly.TUNING:
This is a bit different than the 37 inch unit. The EZ-Scan categories are "antenna" or "cable" only. EZ-Scan on the 37LC2D unit actually broke the scan into multiple chunks, showing me each of the scan progresses for DTV (digital), TV (analog), and so on. EZ-Scan on this unit only showed the primary channel numbers, which was a little odd. However, once scanned, the channel EDITING is the same-- and I am able to distinguish between DTV, TV, CATV, whatever. The Digital signal strength meter on this set shows a better signal than the 37-inch little brother. It *appears* the tuner in this unit is a bit better? Anyway, no complaints. It found ALL my OTA channels.BONUSES:
By this point, I have ended up with exactly the television I wanted. Specifically, a really nice LCD with good pic quality, tons of image and sound adjustments so I can make it just right for my room, two HDMI ports for the future [my current DVD recorder/player only has component out-- but works and looks great!]. It's got RGB if I ever move a computer up to the family room, and certainly has enough component inputs and even A/V out.But, it gets better.
What I did not know until I was doing research on this unit is it has a built-in DVR. While that sounds a little cheesy, it actually works QUITE well. And, it integrates with the TG Guide. Hit "guide"... scroll to the tv program I want to record... Hit "REC" button, nice red dot shows up next to the program listing-- voila. To see the recordings, Scrolling to find your shows is pretty easy-- and each recording even has a little icon showing the first second of the show - kinda cool. You can also rearrange your recordings into sub-folders ("Dad", "Mom", and so on). You can also create recordings manually too, if you one of those unfortunate enough to have DirecTV or some other situation where the TV Guide On Screen doesn't work or get programming data.
The other really cool thing that's related to the DVR is timeshifting. When I played with this, it worked REALLY well. Timeshifting needs to be enabled in the setup menu first. I just leave it on. So, you're watching tv, and want to rewind a few minutes to see that really cool scene again, or whatever. Just hit the rewind button, and play. Little icon pops up showing you you're watching under a "DELAY", and you're all set. Then, when you later get to a commercial or something, you can "fast forward" up to the point where you're watching "LIVE TV" again. I think this feature has great potential especially if the phone rings or something. The DVR "reserves" an hour off of the hard drive for this feature - which is more than sufficient for my needs.
Another bonus is PIP-- which (AGAIN) the 37-inch unit is missing. This isn't nearly as useful to me, but is one of those "kinda cool" things to have. There's a few different PIP modes, so while you're watching a show, you can "pip" in another source (analog tv), and even "surf" the other source if there's multiple channels. The second PIP mode "surfs" for you, showing three different screens on the right side.LIMITATIONS:
As with all technology and feature sets, there's some limitations. The biggest limitation I can see with all of the above is that there is only one digital tuner. For a unit that has a built-in DVR, that's something that's a shame. What this means is that when you're recording a digital signal, you cannot also watch ANOTHER digital channel at the same time. This may or may not be a huge issue for some; it's not for me, since most of the things I want to record, I do so because I'm not home. The same limitation applies to PIP: The PIP is designed to bring in another SOURCE. What these both translate to is: If you want to record something or use PIP to surf other channels, you can do so now--- courtesy of analog broadcasts. So, I could certainly record NBC *digital* tv, and watch or PIP-surf NBC *analog* at the same time. So, I really get some nifty things. But---- that's only going to last for two more years (Feb 2009) when Analog is shut off. At that point I suppose I could hook up a cheap HDTV tuner to the cable RF port, and then I'd be all set. By then, HDTV standalone tuners will be cheap and plentiful, to help all those folks who have to keep their old analog set running.........
Anyway: For a $400 price differential above the 37LC2DU, I am QUITE pleased. I would have spent $250+ on a Sony DVR anyway. Now I don't have to. See my prior post regarding the hard drive: I am very convinced this is upgradeable to a bigger drive. But I'll wait until the warranty expires before I try that MISC:
I cannot comment regarding the other issues people have identified with this unit, mostly because I don't have a cablecard. Issues people have reported are either a) Weird problems with spontaneous power-on or power-off [fixed by firmware update and a board], or b) No TV Guide On-screen. But-- as I indicated earlier, I'm using this set for OTA broadcasts, and in that regard I am **EXTREMELY** happy- it works exactly as I want, with the quality I like. Oh, and one final thing: This unit just LOOKS pretty. Black glossy frame in front that just looks very cool. Oh yeah-- the pedestal allows the TV to *turn* left and right. Yet another nifty bonus.
Anyway-- if you're eyeing up one of these, I most certainly and wholeheartedly give it a "two thumbs up". Enjoy.
I'd also like to see more comments and reviews here: This thread is a little bare..!