I have owned a 27 inch Westinghouse LCD TV for a couple years now, with absolutely no trouble and offer nothing but glowing reports about it. However, my older Westinghouse LCD set doesn't have a built-in HDTV (ATSC) tuner. As you are probably aware by now, as of February 18, 2009, analog TV transmissions will cease to be on the air. For those of you with cable or satellite, no impact on you. For those of us using outdoor TV antennas, MAJOR impact!
Faced with the reality that I needed a set with a built-in HDTV tuner, I began shopping for a new set. Since I have had such great experience with my previous Westinghouse LCD set, I set out to find a model by Westinghouse that I liked. I purchased a 42 inch Westinghouse TX-42F430S when it went on sale at Best Buy. The first thing you notice about this set when it is still in the box is that it is not all that heavy, maybe 60 lbs. without the stand I could easily move it around by myself. After removing it from the box, I was taken back by the sheer size of this set! I have never owned a TV this big before. My 27 inch set has been hanging on the wall in the living room above the old tube type stereo system in a Fisher cabinet, and that is where I wanted the new set to go. I was able to re-use all my previous wiring and electrical with the new set (good thing, all my wiring is inside the wall and well hidden!). My connections are-
The power connector is nice to have, as many sets have an attached cord instead of the removable power cord like this set, and being able to unplug at the set makes installation on a wall MUCH easier! Cords get in the way, a fact of life, but not a problem here. The Westinghouse TX-42F430S has what they call 'spine design' which means that all connections are made on either side of a central 'spine' that runs down the middle of the set from top to bottom, making everything easily accessible while it is hanging on a wall. You install the set first, then make your connections. My old set had to be installed AFTER connections were made, and it was difficult.
After installation, the wife and I fired up the set. A big, bright Westinghouse 'W' logo comes on the screen while it 'boots up'. When the set was running, the first thing we had to do was change the input to 'Antenna over the air'. Then, we had to allow the TV some 10 minutes to do a search so it could determine what stations were available. Once it was finished, we were amazed at all the new channels we receive right over the air. One of the PBS stations has 5 separate feeds! None of this is visible with a non-ATSC tuner. Also a noticeable improvement was the sound. The Westinghouse TX-42F430S has two full range speakers pointing downward on each side of the cabinet bottom, and a 10-watt powered subwoofer in the middle pointed backward and slightly down. It doesn't have the big bass boom of a theater, but it does have much better sound than our last TV.
What I really love about this set is its 'auto sense' for input sources. When I turn the TV on, it uses the antenna input source. If I turn on the DVD player, the TV automatically switches the input source to the DVD player. No buttons to press!
I know some of the techno-types all know what 1080p and 480i and all that stuff means. I do not. I can simply tell you that the picture quality is fantastic, even up close. One thing I noticed about the Westinghouse TX-42F430S while in the store looking at it on display over other sets is that quick moving pictures don't pixilate like some other sets do. Quick pans look fairly natural and not blurry or jumpy on the Westinghouse TX-42F430S. Occasionally on the local Fox station, when watching something in HD, I can see little white lines across the very tippy top of the screen. They blink and move around depending on the picture. Some commercials have them too. Then, sometimes they go away completely. It's not very annoying, but worth mentioning.
My only gripes about this set is the unusually unintuitive user interface. I admit I have not messed around with the GUI on many new TV sets, but compared to my old set, the Westinghouse TX-42F430S is a little more difficult to figure out. It took me a long time to get to the screen with the 5-band graphic equalizer so I could play with the sound, and I was also able to play with some of the picture settings as well.
Interesting for those of you who are power conscious, when power is removed from the set, it does not lose any stored info. I run my set on a UPS that runs my entire entertainment center. When I am not using any of the equipment, I turn the master switch off to save power (vampire electronics, you know). Some electronics lose settings if power is not kept on them, but the Westinghouse TX-42F430S does not forget anything. It comes right back to previous mode when power is restored. Worth noting- There is a setting in the menu that comes from the factory set so that when power is applied to the set, it comes on by itself. I disabled that real quick! For those of you that keep your set plugged in all the time, if the power drops, even for a moment while you are away or asleep, you will return to find your TV set on! In addition, there is another setting in the menu that allows you to set an energy save mode. With energy save on, the set draws about 1 watt when off. With the energy save off (as it comes from the factory) the set draws about 36 watts when the set is off. Unacceptable! The only difference between power save on or off is a quicker startup when you turn the set on. In other words, with power save off, the set's computer is running all the time.
Since my set is wall mounted, I cannot make great comment on every installation, but in my case, the set runs very cool and does not heat up the house much at all. Definitely nowhere near the heat of a plasma set! Also, LCD sets have a reputation for using much less power than a plasma, and the Westinghouse TX-42F430S only draws about 300 watts when on. You can reduce the power drain further by lowering the brightness control. I found it has a direct impact on current draw.
I would definitely buy this set again, despite the learning curve. Once I learned it, I simply can't go back.
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Amount Paid (US$): 1099.99