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Westinghouse Digital LCD HDTVsA Low-Cost entry into HDTV
While researching HDTVs for VASSTs book, ?HDV: What You NEED to Know, Vol. 2 by Douglas Spotted Eagle, Mark Dileo and I, I came across some low-cost alternatives for people wanting to get into the HDTV (high definition television) market, especially the flat panel, without spending upwards of $3,000 to $5,000 dollars. The one that stood out the most, between several different reviews from leading web and print publications, and my own research, is the Westinghouse Digital LCD HDTV (www.westinghousedigital.com).
Westinghouse, known for its home appliances like washers, driers, fans, small kitchen appliances, etc., began making televisions and monitors recently, and according to sales figures, they are the leading providers of LCDs of varying sizes, in the country.
Westinghouse Digital offers two types of HDTVs: 1080p and 720p, which Ill break down by those classes. One note, none of these HDTVs have TV tuners, which can add to the bottom line. However, if youre hooking it up to cable or satellite, theres no need for one. Inputs are varied for nearly all devices, including HDMI, DVI, VGA, Composite, Component, S-Video and more. Visit www.westinghousedigital.com for more details.
In 2005, the largest and most expensive, though still below $2,000.00, LCD HDTV that handled 1080p (image size is 1920 x 1080), was the 37-inch model. As of late January 2007, there are three models to choose from, the 47-inch, 42-inch, and 37-inch. The prices vary, but on average range from around $1,000 for the 37-inch, to around $1,400 for the 42-inch, and about $1,900 for the 47-inch. The biggest variable is where you shop for it, which Ill detail later.
So why 1080p? Whats the big difference between this and 720p, or even 1080i? 720p provides excellent resolution and is always progressive frame (considered a ?whole frame, or a full frame), while 1080 can be both progressive and interlace (frame is split into two fields). While 1080i is of higher quality, frame size and pixel count than 720p, having a progressive 1080 signal is much better visually. Interlacing can affect the quality, whereas progressive stays nice and clean.
HD DVD and Blu-Ray movies are 1080p, and videogames on the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 are, or will soon be, running at 1080p. And before long, with low-cost 1080p cameras such as the Sony HVR-V1u, and higher-end HD cameras, television will be broadcast over the air, cable, satellite, etc., in 1080p. Having a 1080p HDTV that can support different signals (standard definition 480i/p and HD 720p, 1080o/p) gets you ahead of the curve.
Also, the frame rates supported include 24p (how films are digitally acquired and/or delivered), 30p and the more common 60i, which is interlace and runs at 29.97, or 30, frames per second).
A quick look around the web revealed that a comparable 1080p LCD HDTV, 47-inch, costs around $2,500 to over $3,000. The savings with the Westinghouse Digital LCD HDTV can allow you to buy an HD gaming system or DVD player of your choice.
The sizes of these LCD HDTVs are more varied and there are more 720p-compatible HDTVs than 1080p. Also, the prices are less than the 1080p counterparts. Sizes start at 19-inch and go up to 46-inch, with prices staying around $1,500 and going as low as $400, depending on where you make your purchase.
One note, even though I am referring to these LCD HDTVs as 720p, the actual supported size is 1366 x 768, similar to an LCD monitor for a computer. However, broadcasted HD is either 720p or 1080i/p.
The 720p HDTVs are an excellent way to dip your toes into the HD waters, or if you want a smaller-than-37-inch HDTV and 1080p doesnt matter. The 19-inch could be a decent little and affordable field monitor.
They also sell small ?virtual picture frames, officially called LCD Digital Photo Frames, which allow users to upload digital photos and you can set it up for a slide show, or various stills that change when you like them to.
The other major product they make are LCD computer monitors, though technically, you can hook up the 47-inch 1080p HDTV to your computer, along with all the rest of the HDTVs. Anyway, they have some great ?square and widescreen (?rectangle) LCDs that support HD resolution. Sizes range from 17-inch to 22-inch.
I personally use two 17-inch widescreen LCDs for my work, which is mostly HDV editing. These are excellent monitors that are easily calibrated. In the future, I plan on getting two 22-inch widescreen monitors, as the bigger the size, the more I can configure my digital workspace. Prices are affordable and compared to similar models from other name brands, the edge goes to Westinghouse Digital.
Westinghouse Digital offers affordable LCD HDTVs and the most affordable 1080p HDTVs in the marketplace. The image is wonderful, as is the sound. They also make great LCD computer monitors and Digital Photo Frames. The prices and quality cant be beat.
Visit www.westinghousedigital.com to stay on top of new models, further details on each product, and where to buy. Their biggest seller is Best Buy, but there are a few reputable online retailers, too.
All photos © Westinghouse Digital.
Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.
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