Pros: Price! This is the set to consider for small dwellings, offices, kitchens or childrens rooms.
Cons: Sometimes the display varies from channel to channel. Can't insert station captions.
I decided, after years of hemming and hawing, to purchase my first HD television. I had researched the subject, constantly following up new leads and learning as much as I could (Epinions was a Godsend in this regard).
I live in a very small apartment so space is at a premium and I am on a rather small income too, so the television would have to be both small and affordable.
After filing my income tax return for this year, I started searching for a television that would fit in my budget and home requirements: I couldn't spend more than $275 and I had decided I wanted a LCD television since it would take up significantly less space than a similar-sized CRT model.
On a lesser note, I decided I also wanted a television that was 16:9 or close to it since I find the display ratio cool compared to the old squarish 4:3 display ratio.
While looking around online, I found the Polaroid TLA-01511C 15-inch model. It looked like it would fill my basic requirements and it was available at Wal-Mart so I drove down to look at it long and hard in the Electronics Department.
While there were dramatically larger models with more bells and whistles, they were also well outside my spending limit (no surprise).
The picture and sound of the Polaroid were good to me and the television looked like it could hold its own with the larger televisions being offered so I decided that the Polaroid would be the model to purchase when my refund arrived.
I purchased the Polaroid yesterday after my tax return arrived.
I needed no help carrying the television since it is pleasantly light (after all it is only 15 inches) and the box it came in had a handle to make toting it breezy easy.
Set up was a no-brainer for me. All I had to do was slide the television screen pedestal into the base, sort out the connections on the back of my TiVo and DVD player, plug the cords in the right places, hook up the antenna (basic rabbit ears--no cable TV here) and I was ready to go.
Polaroid is surprisingly generous with plenty of A/V cords to plug in most standard DVD and DVR machines and batteries for the remote too. Maybe this is the current trend but the last time I purchased a television, it was strictly a bare bones affair, no extras.
I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so it is a somewhat small market for digital and HD programming, but even with my very simple RCA rabbit ears antenna that I picked up at the same time as the television, I was surprised to find that I could get more channels on the Polaroid than I had with my previous CRT television. I just counted 21 channels and that includes only the ones I chose to keep (both analog and digital). Nothing personal old CRT television, but where were most of those channels (excluding the digital ones)?
Keep in mind that not all the channels are crystal clear all the time. One of the downsides to upgrading in the digital age is that unlike analog broadcasting which is mostly forgiving, digital is an all or nothing affair. With that in mind, I did have to move my antenna around my apt a few times until I finally settled on a small shelf that bridged a window--somewhere I had read and so far have found to be true that an indoor antenna should be near a window to draw a better signal.
I was surprised to discover that a few channels I was receiving didn't show up in my listings. It wasn't until I watched the commercial breaks that I finally figured out that a channel was coming in from Worthington, MN (about 46 miles) and Sioux City, IA (about 75 miles)! Kudos to Polaroid that the built in ATSC tuner was so sensitive.
On that same note, a quirk showed up with the station IDs that the television stores. With many of the channels it immediately displayed the proper caption of the broadcast station, but in a few instances, it only listed the channel number, or later would add ABC, CBS, etc. After a day of using the television, it seemed to narrow down the number of stations with only channel numbers to a few.
Maddeningly Polaroid mentions being able to insert station IDs but fails to disclose how to do this in either the included manual or the Support section online. That is one of my little pet peeves--it has no bearing on the performance of the television, but not being able to see what station I'm just turn to irritates me.
With my TiVo and DVD player, the picture was great! Broadcasts, especially digital and HD looked beautiful on this diminutive but affordable set. The only oddity was that some channels would look darker or lighter than others, but I suspect that has more to do with my antenna than the television.
For the nitpickers Polaroid does offer picture and sound adjustments but they seem to be of the more basic variety. The television is equipped with a VGA and HDMI port so it could also serve as a monitor.
For my money, this television is worth the price even with missing features that larger and more expensive HDTV sets come with.
Today (June 5, 2007) I received a reply via e-mail about my inquiry to Polaroid regarding the station label question. I was directed to call the customer service line in order for Polaroid to get more information.
After calling customer service, I spoke to a very pleasant representative and together we discovered that the instruction manual writers had pretty much written a single manual that was then edited according to the model of television.
Unfortunately this particular model of television does not have the capability to edit or insert channel labels like it's larger siblings. While I'm slightly bummed, this won't diminish my recommendation of this television.