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The HDTV Podcast
This review is featured in the latest podcast from The HT Guys
http://www.htguys.com/archive/2007/September28.html

Westinghouse TX-42F430S 42" 1080p LCD HDTV ($1155 Buy Now)
A few weeks ago we learned that most consumers put a heavier emphasis on cost than any other specification when selecting an HDTV. So we decided to obtain and review a TV that can be considered a value brand. While not the cheapest TV on the market today the Westinghouse TX-42F430S is definitely a value for what you get. This Westy has many of the cool features that the more expensive tier 1 TVs do and a couple that they don't.

Features:

  • 1080p with ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners
  • Four HDMI inputs
  • 8 msec response time
  • 1000:1 CR
  • Autosource switching
  • Spine Design


The TV has a clean black design that looks very professional. We have not been impressed with previous designs from Westinghouse. But this one will complement any room that its placed in. The TV looked good when it was turned on as well. We found the picture was clear, bright, and had good color. The only issue we could find with HD sources was the black level. We found that the TV could not match the black levels of the SONY Bravia. Fast motion looked good but if you looked very carefully you could see some motion blur.

Another area the current model improves over past models that we have watched is the off angle viewing. We found that you can pretty much sit anywhere in the room and see the picture with minimal color degradation. Looking at detail we were pleased with the results except in dark scenes. Bright HD content looked as good as tier 1 panels. Standard Definition content did not fare as well as HD did. This is pretty much true with all HDTVs with the exception of Plasma.

The only way for us to evaluate 1080p Content was to use our HD DVD player and watch movies. We loaded up Back Draft, Bourne Identity and The fast and the Furious. All looked good but our favorite was The Fast and the Furious. The video looked very smooth even during the fast racing scenes. The Bourne Identity was also watched via and upconverting DVD player at 1080p which looked quite good. We were also pleasantly surprised when we set the DVD player to output a 480i signal. The TV did a decent job of scaling and de-interlacing the picture on its own.

Other Things to Consider:
The audio is OK so if you are using the TV in a bedroom you are probably OK. If you want to use it as your main system, a Home Theater System is recommended. We felt the Menus were clean and easy to navigate although we did not like the remote control (when have we ever liked a manufacturer's remote). The TV has a cool feature called Autosource. Autosource will automatically switch to a input when it becomes active. So say you are watching your TV via a Set top box and then you turn your DVD player on, the TV will switch to that input for you. It does make programming a remote a little easier but in our case it was a pain. With our Mac Mini always on there is no way to automatically switch to the Mini. Likewise you may not turn your DVR off so switching back automatically is not possible. You can see that it could become more hassle than its worth. The good news is that it can be turned off. The TV also has a cable management system called "SpineDesign" which means the cables are plugged into the TV down the middle of the TV kind of like a human spine. The cables waterfall off to the sides. The TV measures 42.2" (107 cm) x 27.0 " (68.5 cm) x 5.5" (14 cm) (w/o Base) and weighs 61.1 lbs (27.7 Kg) (w/o Base)

Bottom Line:

We went into this review thinking that the TV would be just OK. The only real knocks we have against the TV are the Blacks, detail in dark scenes, and the remote. When it was all said and done we felt that this TV will give some of the Tier 1 brands a good run for the money. So if you can spend about $150 (available at the HT Guys store for $1155) more than the Vizio you'll be getting a much better TV.

Posted by The HT Guys, September 26, 2007 4:12 PM

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About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.