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Westinghouse Digital VK-40F580D 40-inch LCD 1080p HDTV/DVD Combo
With the 40-inch LCD 1080p HDTV/DVD combo, they're giving consumers one heck of a reason to take the Full HD plunge
By Heath McKnight

Westinghouse Digital has been at the forefront of high-quality, low-cost 1080p-resolution HDTVs for more than three years now. With the 40-inch LCD 1080p HDTV and DVD combo, they're giving consumers one heck of a reason to take the Full HD (1920 x 1080p) HDTV plunge.

Picture
I've been working with Westinghouse Digital HDTVs and monitors for three years now, and I was looking forward to taking a look at the company's latest offering. The unit was a true champ with handling all forms of video, including 1080i/p (from a Playstation 3 with Blu-ray, and footage from the Sony PMW-EX1 HD camera), along with 720p and 480i/p content.

A friend of mine has an older 41-inch Westinghouse Digital 1080p HDTV, and comparing the newer model, I notice the unit has a slightly better image overall. The colors look great, including blacks and whites, which are known to be less rich than on LCD HDTVs, but I like what I saw on the Westinghouse Digital.


There is less video noise than most other HDTVs in its class, which is great. But oftentimes the noise comes from satellite or digital cable, which adds a lot of compression to standard definition (SD) and HD video content. For a reviewer, trying to judge an HDTV such as this unit is difficult when dealing with compressed satellite or digital cable content. It's just not the same as Blu-ray, DVD or a gaming system.

When it comes to gaming, the image is spectacular, and the can handle what's happening on the screen without any hiccups I'm used to seeing on older sets. I hooked up both a Playstation 3 and an XBOX 360 to the unit, and had no problems. Why play HD video games on anything less than a 1080p HDTV?

Integrated DVD Player
The Westinghouse Digital comes with an integrated, front slot-loading DVD player, which supports both major DVD releases and those you create yourself. And it's very convenient, since you're not hooking up a separate DVD player that takes up space on the entertainment center, an I/O port on the HDTV or a spot on a power strip.

The DVDs played back perfectly, including a few DVD-R discs I created in Apple DVD Studio Pro and burned on my Mac. Westinghouse Digital's Pixel Direct allows a direct path to give the best possible picture from DVD players, and I did notice a difference compared to other HDTVs and DVD players.

Plenty of connectors abound

Though it would be great to have a built-in Blu-ray player, the costs would rise sharply on the unit. But as more and more consumers purchase Blu-ray players, the prices will drop and we may see the integrated Blu-ray player in future Westinghouse Digital HDTV releases.

Design
The flat panel LCD design is perfect for installing on a wall, or simply sitting on an entertainment center. The unit weighs only 48 pounds with the base (44 pounds without), and is much easier to move around than a CRT. No more "breaking the back" when setting up and/or moving this unit!

The SpineDesign makes it easy to access all the I/O ports (Input/Output), so you're not reaching all the way around to the back and bottom of the unit, just to plug in the HDMI cable. The SpineDesign features the I/O ports on the side of the spine, and it is much easier to work with.

Sound
The sound from the two 10-watt front speakers on the HDTV is good, but I highly recommend getting a 5.1 stereo surround sound system. No matter which TV you may be using, sound is always an issue with DVDs mastered only in 5.1 stereo, which is the majority of major DVD releases from Hollywood studios. I've seen quality stereo surround sound systems from LG or Samsung for less than $300. It's a must-have for any home theater set-ups. Great surround sound is as important as the HDTV, but I do think audio from the unit is pretty good.

Features

  • 40" display with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and 16.7 million colors.
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution; also supports 1080i, 720p and 480i/p.
  • Front, built-in slot-loading DVD player. Can play back both major movie studio DVDs and your own DVD creations.
  • Easily accessible I/O Ports (Input/Output) via the SpineDesign, which include: Two HDMI, RCA, S-Video, Component, and digital stereo.
  • 1800:1 contrast ratio, 176ยบ horizontal- and vertical -viewing angles.

Conclusion
I'm very impressed with this 40" Westinghouse Digital HDTV. Whether you're watching 1080p, 720p or 408i/p content, or playing the latest video games, you're getting the best picture quality for a great price. And what's more convenient than an integrated DVD player? For more information, including a detailed feature list, visit www.westinghousedigital.com.


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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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