How bad are the less expensive LCD TVs? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : How bad are the less expensive LCD TVs?

11-21-2006, 09:28 AM
With LCD TV prices coming down, I am tempted to buy a less expensive TV such as a Westinghouse, LG, or Polaroid. The Westinghouse has a 47" LCD for $1999 at BB.

Now, I realize that the picture on one of these may not be a match for a Sony or Sharp, but would it be "good enough" for casual viewing at a normal distance. Or would the picture be bad enough to be annoying; e.g. red skin tones, lime green grass, etc.? Would the black level be poor enough to make viewing dark scenes a pain?

You guys that have installed and calibrated these things, what do you say?

11-21-2006, 10:53 AM
Well it truly depend on wether or not you want it more for movies or for TV. With TV you will need an HD cable box which is about 500 bucks, but as of now there are very few channels that do their programming in HD. But for movies i personally just bought a sharp and i love it, but before i seriously did consider the LG. Its a great TV for the price, as for westington, i never had a chance to actually watch the TV.

11-21-2006, 12:47 PM
I don't know. . . . My Comcast cable box gets enough HD that I rarely find myself having to watch any SD. Maybe I'm not a representative viewer, since I mainly watch films, some sports, and some nature shows (you ain't seen the best that HDTV has to offer until you've seen DiscoveryHD). I rent my STB for about $7/month. Cable may cost too much, but not because of the 15 HD channels that I watch (some of which are "free"), out of a total of . . . 25 or so offered. It's because of the packages.

The question about how bad the no name LCDs are raises a lot of questions, not the least of which is how sensitive you are to drops in performance along a range of variables. For instance, some people can't live with garish color palettes that overemphasize a particular color. Others have problems with shots of deep space that look more misty grey than black. Still others start complaining if the picture deteriorates as they move away from the center of the screen. And there's a host of other possible maladies that the cost cutters can have, but if you don't know how good it can get, you often don't see the flaws. The best thing to do, which isn't always possible, is to get acquainted with the obvious good one--like the Sonys and Sharps--and try to make comparisons with the others.

That said, I wouldn't place the Westinghouse in the category of a compromised LCD. It has garnered some very good reviews, from some very reputable sources. Where it tends to skimp is in the feature dept., not in its ability to show a good picture. Apparently its black levels are as good as many of the more well-known LCDs, if not better--a point that will matter to many people who watch a lot of dark movies. I don't know the LGs, but I suspect that many people would be satisfied with them. I haven't seen enough of the Poloroids of the world to make a judgment. You might do well to check out Vizio's LCDs, which can be found in some of the warehouse clubs at reasonable prices; they tend to be giant killers.

Almost every LCD known to mankind looks at least pretty good with bright programming and sporting events in HD--even if the grass tends to look a little greener than the grass on your own lawn--as well as regular DVDs that don't place much emphasis on shading and darkness--particularly if the DVD player is good in progressive mode. It's the nuances that eventually creep up on you. If you do your homework, finding out what tends to distinguish the better LCDs from the pack and figuring out which of the flaws in the less gifted models don't bother you so much, you won't be as likely to have buyer's remorse sneak up on you after you save a few bucks.


11-21-2006, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the responses.

Guess I had better get out and do some comparisons. Not sure if I'm ready to make the plunge; I'm betting prices will drop more after the first of the year.

11-21-2006, 09:10 PM
One thing that I would always consider is not just the image quality but the reliablility if the product as a whole. Often the picture on the cheaper sets does look quite good... it looks even better when its $500 cheaper that the Samsungs, Sonys, etc, but will the descision to save a couple extra bucks now be worth it in say, two years? To bring costs down, they have to find somewhere to skimp - most of the entry level sets use older hardware from some of the industry giants that they can get for cheap. These pannels are starting to look quite good because because the "older" pannels really aren't that old - they're the hardware of the TVs that everyone raved about 2 years ago. You'll find that most cheap TVs will lack any kind of user friendliness or flashy menus, they often are loud and poorly built. I guarantee that if your cheap TV breaks on you outside of the warranty period, it will cost you a lot more money that if you were to buy the top of the line set from the beginning. I have seen many cheap sets (accompanied by angry customers) come back into the store because "it doesn't work". Also getting parts for lesser known manufacturers product can be very difficult and a long process.

While the picture may be fairly good on a cheaper set, I really recommend spending a little extra even to buy an "entry level" model from a major company. It will more than likely be worth it in the long run. I know that I hate that feeling when I'm sitting on my couch 18 months after making a purchase and thinking "man, if only I would have spent $XXX.XX more to get the better 'whatever', it was totaly worth it." Hind-sight is 20-20, eh?

Rock&Roll Ninja
12-19-2006, 08:50 PM
I personally think the $1700 42" westinghouse looks better than the $2600 Toshiba LCD.

Thats just me tho'.

12-23-2006, 03:59 PM
thanks Evil-Betty for bringing that point to view; too many people focus on price rather than the long run and are willing to forego quality to save some money. I like a good deal as much as the next person but I'm not willing to gamble my hard earn money on a chinese/ unknown/ start-up product that has no history.The person that started this thread made a statement that I find to be a distrubing trend in this industry, He asked if the "no-names" would be "good enough". In my book its' the best or the best you can but never "good enough"!