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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I always thought Westinghouse was this tired old faded brand that made crap microwaves and fall-apart toasters and stuff that you only saw in Target collecting dust on the shelves below the good brands. But man, did their LCD tv surprise me. Not that it was glorious, but just that it beat the big names it was sitting next to.


I've now read all the Westinghouse posts here and see that I'm way late to this "discovery", but earlier tonight I would have never even considered buying Westinghouse. I bought the Samsung 26" LCD a couple of days ago at one store but, given its SD PQ, I was going to go buy the Sharp 26" at another store and compare the two and then take one back. But I just wasn't seeing a whole lot of difference between the two on the shelves, and that's when I noticed the W on the shelf above the Samsung. Now, I still think the Samsung beats it in some element of PQ that my neophye eye doesn't yet know the name for. It might be black levels. The Samsungs I've seen in different stores have been beating the Sharps in some way, some richness or clarity. And the Sam did have that same slight advantage over the Westinghouse.


But the W did something noticeably better than the Sharp or Samsung. Or rather it didn't do something bad that the other two did. It was something I tried to describe in this post yesterday. It's like a stationary cousin of ghosting. Like let's say you have a fat white letter L on a black background (that's just an example I remember). Well on the left edge of the L, right where it meets the black, there'd be a brighter white stripe just inside the border of the letter, almost as if in reaction to the black next to it. And the same thing on the black just next to the white letter - there'd be a darker black uhh... let's call it a protest stripe. Or a yang to its yin. It was unnatural and clearly some kind of image problem. Now multiply that on every edge all over the screen and you've got a really distracting image problem. I had basically conceded that it was an LCD technology problem and I was stuck with it.


But then I saw the W and was pretty sure I wasn't seeing that effect on its screen. I looked closer and watched for a while and even used the "Freeze" function on the remote. Sure enough, it wasn't doing it. Hooray! But then I'm saying to myself, "Westinghouse...?" in a tone that might have sounded like "Crappinghouse...?" had I said it out loud. I figured it was some cheapo piece of junk made by sleepy, disinterested people in a crumbling factory somewhere that would just wind up falling apart on me. Consumer Reports had rated them poorly (turns out that was last year's models). But I kept watching and kept comparing and kept liking.


Then I started playing with the remote. I really like that onscreen menu. While this is a minor thing, I really like the way you can move the menu around the screen and adjust its transparency. That's a nice touch. And the menu is well done overall. Some specific color sliders would be nice like on the Samsung, but I'm no videophile and I see very little difference when playing with those on the Sam. And I like the remote too. Simple. I like the dedicated buttons for the sources and the PIP options.


So I'm thinking, hey, this looks like a steal. My main Samsung PQ gripe is addressed and its $500 cheaper at my BB. Holy cow! I almost bought it on the spot but wanted to come consult this site first. Hell, I might even get the 30" at these prices.


The one drawback I noticed in store and now see here is the lack of HDMI. It seems like it doesn't make sense to buy DVI-only at this point given the way things are moving. It makes sense for me currently because Comcast uses the Motorola boxes in my area, which have DVI but not HDMI. But I forsee that changing in upcoming models, which could be a concern if HDCP becomes more common and i'm having to use a converter. Perhaps they'll leave DVI on there too as a legacy thing. I also read about the possible lurking HDCP problems with this unit, an issue dissected, beaten to death, and then drawn and quartered here in this thread . Sounds like a bit of a crapshoot if I end up with an HDMI box in the future.


But whatever, I think this really sounds like the model to go with. I know that uncalibrated store shelf comparisons aren't the way to go, but when they're all sharing the same feed and I've played with their settings and the W handles that one image issue so much better, I'm thinking that's got to say something.


The one thing I couldn't really test was the SD signal. I was comparing on HD via component. I hooked up RF to the W and it looked like arse but the signal in my BB is truly terrible. It looked like it was projecting through a layer of Grape Nuts. None of the others were hooked up to cable (gee, wonder why) so I couldn't compare and the BB guys couldn't be bothered, but I have the Samsung at home and have a good idea of its SD performance. What I'm wondering is if it's possible for a model to really shine in HD but drop the ball when it comes to SD. Like, could my HD observations be deceptive (in the event that HD performance is not proportional to or indicative of SD performance.

Any advice from Westinghouse owners or haters? From HDMI/DVI/HDCP gurus and trendwatchers?


The only other issues I've seen or read about are that there's no vertical adjustment on the W in zoom mode like there is on the Sam. So if you're in zoom and the top and bottom are cut off, there's no salvaging it. Guess you have to go to 4:3 and suffer. And the inputs seem a tad sparse. I'd like another S-vid input and a monitor output, but baaah whatever. I don't really understand what the first resolution number of 1280 means compared to, say, Sam, at 1366 in terms of how the picture looks, but unless it presents some functional handicap I guess I don't care as long as it looks good. And the 15:9 ratio is puzzling, if not uncommon, apparently. No biggie. And when using the freeze function on the remote, I think I found evidence of the paranormal. Yes, ghosting. I'd see two faded copies of the tennis player's arm trailing behind his swing, for example. But I couldn't notice it unless I froze the image like that, so that's nice. I've heard the 27w6 is the better 27 incher to get from W, but I don't want to have to wait until September for it and pay probably a good bit more for it. Tempting... but this tv analysis paralysis must end. I need a freaking tv.
 

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The w6 also adds an ATSC tuner. Check out Westinghouse's web site for additional info/specs.


I have the 32" w1 and am extrememly happy with both the money I saved and the PQ I'm getting. I watched "Sin City" last night and I'll certainly never complain about the black levels on his thing again. When I was shopping, I compared the Westy to two different Sammies and I just couldn't see paying the premium. Anyway, the 27"w6 looks like a pretty big improvement over it's w2 brother, but my guess is it'll come at an equally big price differential.


Good luck w/ your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What's the prevailing wisdom around here of buying a non-HDMI device at this stage in the game? Clearly we're moving on from DVI to HDMI, but do people expect legacy support of DVI for a while into the future? Sort of like how composite and S-video have been surpassed but are still around. Of course, with HD in its infancy and SD still ruling the roost, there was very good reason to keep those two around. But in an HD world, it seems like there might be less incentive to keep DVI around when HDMI is here, both serving the same HD need. Don't know what that says about component, but that still has plenty of DVD players keeping it necessary. My guess is DVI support will stay around for a while, at least from the cable providers since they know so many people have DVI devices (right?). HDCP complicates things in certain situations, it sounds like. Damn this early-adopter syndrome. Curses!
 

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HDCP support is essential in my opinion: no longer an early adopter thing: if you are buying a display for HD, get one that is HDCP


DVI is OK as long as it is HDCP: HDMI has some additional advantages; so given the choice HDMI is preferred


Most sets will all have HDMI (which is always HDCP) going forward
 

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Just purchased the w2 model after much research and comparison on this board. Got a great deal locally as well.


The HD image via OTA fed by DVI is stunning. DirecTv is ok.


I see no need to wait for the w6 model - save a few bucks now, you won't be dissapointed. Highly recommend!
 

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I am looking into the W6 one as well.


Everyone says the blacks on the Westinghouse couldnt compare to the other televisions but that the picture quality in some ways was better.


The W6 has a HIGHER contrast ratio and only time will tell how the picture quality is overall.


My concern with the W6 is lack of energy star and I am still not clear as to which image processing it uses. Also it does not look like it has the advanced sound features that the more expensive sets have. So it has some features trimmed out even though it MAY have a really nice picture.


Toshiba is using the Chi Mei panels and has all the frills on the 27" HOWEVER Westinghouse on the W6 will have the better panel.


So there are tradeoffs to be had. Also longevity is a concern as well.


Westinghouse Digital only licensed the Westinghouse name. The company is affiliated with Chi Mei and some of the upper management came from companies like Sylvania, MAG Innovision, Princeton Graphics, and others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To update you all, I bought the Westinghouse at BB today. Can't beat that price. And I'm looking at it right now next to the Samsung 26. It's not an ideal situation because in order to have them both running off the cable box, one has to be RF and the other has to be composite. I switch them back and forth to compare. When the Sam is on RF and the Westinghouse is on composite, the Sam looks better overall. When the cords are swapped, the Sam still looks better, but the W seems to be closer to composite quality while on RF than the Sam could manage in its turn. That's weird. Either the W is particularly good at RF or the Sam is particularly bad.

Black levels

Well, everybody's right about the black levels, at least between these two models. The Samsung is noticeably better and it's pretty much a deal breaker when you see them side by side. It makes all the difference in the richness of the color. This is one of the two main issues.

Outline/Glow/Resonance/Echo thing

The other main issue is the odd edge phenomenon I mention in the original post above and in another the day before that. It is most noticeable when you have solid fields of color against contrasting solid fields of color. Like white text on a red background or some combo like that. I imagine I'll get used to it, but it's distracting. The whole reason I brought the W home was that in the store, it did not display this phenomenon like the Sharp and Samsung. That was/is my main gripe with those two. It holds true here in my home setup. But it seems like the reason it doesn't have that problem is that it is a less well-defined picture overall, and so those contrasting "echoes," let's call them, get sort of blurred/washed out. The lack of blacks helps in that regard, think.

Color

-Can't seem to get good skin tone on either of them. On the Samsung, skin is sometimes too yellow or sometimes to red depending on how I tweak it. This is even with the pink detail slider at zero. Those pink/green/blue sliders do almost nothing in my opinion. And this is all on Cool 2, by the way, the coolest temperature setting. I had to back way off the Color, which helped but it still isn't quite right. I don't see what good the two warm settings are. Way too hot. Overall the Sam seems to have a problem with red. Just can't get it right.

-Color on the W starts off better, but seems to be less adjustable overall. Skin is a bit pink and there doesn't seem to be much you can do about that without sapping the color overall (the saturation slider)

Brightness/Vividness

The Sam has the black levels but the W has the white levels. I hadn't even thought about white levels. It makes the Sam look kind of dimmer at its brightest. So the W can seem fresher and more vibrant in bright scenes with lots of white. And faces, like a lovely delicate female face for example, can really glow on the W but remain dimmer on the Sam. Can't adjust the Sam backlight or you might could do something about this. You have to rely on contrast, brightness, and dynamic contrast instead.

Sound

Samsung wins with a 5 band equalizer and better sound overall vs. the W's bass and treble only settings. The W's sound isn't bad, just not as good.

DVD

DVD looks great on both of them (a good quality DVD this time). Tried them both on S-video and component. Can't tell much of a difference in PQ. The black levels are still different but not as noticeable. Really only the color issues remain, like the skin tone issue above. Both units are acceptable in DVD display, I'd say. One thing that's really weird is that the subtitle text is seriously jagged on both tv sets on both S-video and component. I don't know if this is just a problem with the DVD or if any DVD would do this. Don't have my other DVDs here to test with.

Screen

-The W has an extra diagonal inch which makes for a slightly taller screen, but it isn't really noticeable. The thick glossy black frame around the Sam seems to help draw out the contrast vs. the W's thin matte black with silver all around.

-Samsung has Wide, Panorama, Zoom, 4:3. The latter two don't distort regular tv.

-Westinghouse's equivalents are Fill, (no equiv for Pan), Zoom, Standard

-The fact that you can't alter the position of the screen in zoom mode on the W is bad. I was just watching the House of Flying Daggers and it is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It's got black bars at top and bottom, and the subtitles show up in the bottom bar in two rows. Obviously you don't want 4:3 so "standard" mode is out. But if you do "zoom", the second row of subtitles gets cut off. If you could adjust in this mode, you could use up the empty top black bar by moving the whole shebang upwards. But you can't, so zoom mode is out. That leaves only "fill" which squooshes things vertically in order to fit in the subtitle area. You get both rows of subtitles, but have to put up with proportion distortion. This was the final deal killer, I think.

Odds & Ends

-When I change channels on the cable box, the Westinghouse flickers for a second which is annoying.

-Samsung's Dynamic Contrast thing certainly does crank up the contrast and bring out the blacks, but at the expense of smoothness. The grain comes out. When that feature is turned off, it resembles the W, but the W wins by just a hair. But the W seems to only have less grain because it has less clarity (so the grain is less defined and therefore less noticeable). So it's a bit of a wash.

-The Westinghouse manual says the DVI is DVI-D. But the port looks more like DVI-I (Dual link), though it doesn't match exactly any of the illustrations here .

-Samsung has only HDMI, no DVI. Guess that's not a problem.


The winner


In the end, I'd say the Samsung wins in most categories. It loses in cost, whatever that edge/border echo issue is, no backlight adjustment, and perhaps in RF SD display capability. The Westinghouse sure is a steal, but the black levels, screen shape limitations, lack of HDMI, and handful of smaller issues conspire to make it not quite worth keeping when I've got the Samsung right here. Think I'll go swap it for the Sharp and compare that against the Samsung just to be sure. Thanks, Best Buy return policy!
 

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have you looked at the Philips 26'' at CC? very nice price and seems like a good alternative. maybe you can compare the three and report back..above posts are very informative.
 

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Thanks for doing this comparison. I am deciding between these two LCDs. I have not had a chance to do a side by side comparison at the store.
 

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Yes, thanks for taking the time to compare the two TVs. I am tring to decide between the 27W2 and the 23" Samsung. I dont think most of the issues you found would be a deal breaker for me but Ill have to see next week when I pick up the W. I am somwhat concerned about the samsungs DNIe feature that cannot be turned off, the picture in the store looked much richer and deffinatly had better black levels but the reds were being pushed to hard resulting in a somwhat unatural picture. From what I remeber, however, I thought the W looked much sharper then the Samsung (especialy with SD).


Some of this is probably due to the crappy callibrations in BB. Guess Ill see next week. (glad BB carries both and has a good return pollicy :) )
 

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TVwillkill: you're starting out with your color tweaking in the wrong direction. Color temp on the Samsumg should be set to either normal or one of the two Warm settings, not to the Cool settings. The warm setting is usually closer to 6,500 K greyscale tracking and will yeild the most neutral tone of white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I tried those warmer settings but they just looked so unnatural, especially when I had another tv right next to it to compare to. I'll try more comprehensive tweaking from that direction though.


By the way, everyone, I took the Westinghouse back to BB and swapped it for the Sharp Aquos LC26GA5U for an uncomfortable $400 more. So now it's sitting next to the Samsung. In a nutshell, Samsung wins, at least for me. Might be the blacks again, but something about this image is just cleaner and more vibrant and crisp than others. The Sharp seems grainier despite lots of different tweaks. In SD, this is a bigger problem. In DVD it is all but unnoticeable, but is still a tiny bit noticeable, but much finer grain, and actually I kind of like it. More on that later. Maybe the dealkiller is the visible scanlines on it in certain fields of solid color in SD. No good, no good. Mind you, this is SD over the two worst kinds of connections (RF, composite), which I'll be ditching for better connections when my new set top box gets here, but both units have the same signal to work with over the same wires and the Samsung does better with it. Maybe it's due to lopsided tweaking, but I don't think so. I noticed this superior Samsung image the first time I saw it in the store, every time in the stores since then, and now here at my home.

Tweaks

If you're a tweak freak, though, the Sharp may be the set for you, especially if you're one of those guys on a mission for perfect skin tone (it has lots of color variables). It's got way more kinds of tweaks than any others I've played with. All kinds of stuff for color, blacks, etc. You can tweak the 3D-Y/C settings, film mode, I/P Setting, picture noise, and more. You can tweak the bejeezus out of this thing. Whether you can perceive all those microadjustments is another story and will depend on your level of videophilia.

Sound

Even though the Sharp doesn't have the five band equalizer, just bass and treble, it clearly wins in the sound department. Maybe it's just the way those speakers are larger and separated on either side of the unit, but it just sounds great. It really sounds... "wide", like it's coming from speakers that are set wider than where the thing is actually sitting, rather than coming from more of a point source. And there is good bass depth. Very clean sound, fills the room. Samsung sounds good. Sharp, exceptional.

Connections

The Sharp has both HDMI and DVI. Samsung only DVI. That weighed heavily in Sharp's favor for me and almost tipped the tables. And the Sharp has monitor-out via Svideo, which I think is also nice. The Sharp's PC-in is a different connector than I've seen before: RS232C. I'm sure there are cables for it out there, I just haven't seen it before. One thing about the Sharp's connectors is that they are in a little recess in the back of the unit and they point sideways, and there are two rows of them, an inner and an outer, set tight together. So there is limited room to get in there and stick in, pull out. And if you have something plugged into the row closest to the wall of the unit, and also have something plugged into the outer row, you can't get to the inner row without unplugging the outer row. Very narrow place to work. And if you have those god-awful Monster Cables that keep a death grip on whatever you stick them on, good luck plugging and unplugging them. The HDMI and DVI are down on another panel and easy to get to.

Remote

The Sharp remote has the cool feature of buttons that light up. But otherwise I find it a little awkward to use. It's very long and your hand has to travel up and down it to get to buttons that seem like they should be more concentrated in one easy area (rather than only your thumb having to travel). And there's a lot of unused real estate, which exacerbates the above space issue. And the most common buttons, like Menu, volume, channel, and mute are tiny. You'd think those would be big n' easy. One minor gripe is that it appears you can only toggle input source and view mode (zoom etc) via buttons on the remote. I don't see them included in the main menu anywhere. The Samsung remote is better in my opinion. Basic and with a sensible button layout.

DVD PQ

On DVD, I was first thinking that the Samsung won the PQ war, both via Svideo and Component. I felt like I saw a kind of grain in the Sharp. But looking at it a bit more, it was almost more like flim grain than anything, and that actually made skin look nicer, for example. I guess we're so used to seeing that in the movies and therefore have a subconscious affinity for it. This aspect seems more like personal preference, though. Some might like one style over the other.


Okay so the Sharp goes back to BB and I can finally relax, my tv odyssey behind me. Now I just sit back and wait for television to go all hi-def.
 

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there is a world of difference between the Westinghouse 27" and the 30". get the 27.


or the 32.


i bought the 27" ([MSRP only please] service plan) from best buy--terrific set--but then BB dropped the price on the 32 by $200 (retails now for $1299). too much to resist--i took the 27" and got the 32".


controversy: Best Buy lists the contrast ratio for the 27" as 1000:1 (same as the 32"), however Westinghouse's website lists the contrast ration for 27" as 600:1.


second, the refresh rate for 27" is 16ms per Westinghouse, while for the 32" it is 8 ms (lower is better).


PQ for both sets appears to be the same, however, the 32" is far more impressive looking in my bedroom and dynamically, the bigger screen is a huge improvement in viewing pleasure.


get the 32" if you can.
 

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Im interested in geting the 27" westinghouse lcd but the pinkish skin tones is worrying me, is it really bad like red push? and fixable?
 
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