I made a visual assessment of the set's reproduction of the primary colors red, blue, and green, and found that, as with other LCD flat panels using cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL), the Westinghouse's reds were somewhat orange and greens were not fully saturated or at the optimal color coordinates. This meant that natural grass had a somewhat artificial look, and greens were a little too blue. I found this a tad annoying, but I believe most viewers would not notice it unless they compared the set directly to one with more accurate reds and greens.
I began my viewing tests using DirecTV HD signals and a DVD player outputting component video at 480i as well as DVI at 1080i. During these tests the Westinghouse really began to shine in key performance areas.
This display delivers 1920 x 1080 HDTV in the smallest screen size available, so it presents the most densely packed detail available in a consumer high-definition monitor. No other technology today allows a 37" screen with this level of resolution. Not direct-view CRT, not plasma— nothing else.
Now in order to deliver the picture quality expected of a 1080p set, a display must be able to do at least two other things well. First, it must deliver full-signal bandwidth, meaning that it can reproduce fine detail in the source signal down to the single pixel level; second, it must properly deinterlace 1080i sources to 1080p. If deinterlacing is not handled properly, the set will display only half the lines in the 1080i HDTV program in every frame (a problem known as "bobbing").
I am pleased to report that the Westinghouse properly deinterlaced 1080i test signals, both on static images and those with a motion component, meaning that the set gives you all the resolution you paid for. You may want to look at my "HDTV Insider" column from The Perfect Vision issue 64 for more information on the importance of proper deinterlacing (a surprising number of big name sets fail the deinterlacing test). The LVM-37w1 achieves its fine deinterlacing performance by using, says Westinghouse's product manager, the latest, top-ofthe- line Genesis scaler chip. What's more, when I fed the set's RGB input a multiburst test pattern with vertical onoff lines, it reproduced those vertical lines flawlessly, confirming full-signal bandwidth. These test results are excellent. Now to the question of how the set looks on real HD programs.
After I switched from my signal generator to high-quality HDTV content, which included a Jets preseason football game on CBS and a variety of HD Net's superb HD productions, my test findings were confirmed; this Westinghouse is one sharp puppy. Blades of grass, facial pores, individual hair strands, and other fine details were all there. However, to see them, one must be quite close to the display, since the optimum viewing distance for a screen this size is just 58 inches.
All was not perfect, of course. One thing about 1080p displays—they don't know the difference between good and bad detail, specifically an MPEG 2 artifact called "mosquito noise," which appears as a wispy area around objects (the effect is like heat waves shimmering above blacktop on a hot summer day). The Genesis chip apparently does little to reduce this type of video noise, and a number of HD programs I watched were loaded with it. The same problem cropped up on DVD content. The only things that helped noisy content were turning down the sharpness control (which slightly minimized the noise) and sitting farther back than the optimum viewing distance. It appears that the Genesis chip does not employ (or uses inadequate) noise reduction. I will be touching on this subject again in future 1080p display reviews.
The other performance problem is related to uneven screen brightness. This was particularly noticeable on a 30 IRE (30% brightness) full-screen white pattern, but it was also quite apparent on shots of a football field. The symptom is a vertically delineated area on the right side of the screen that differs in illumination from adjacent areas. I tried a second sample of the set, and it, too, exhibited the anom - aly, though the unevenness was visible only on test patterns and not on normal content. At our request, Westinghouse looked into the problem, but, after pulling and testing several production samples, they could not duplicate our findings. Thus, the problems we encountered could have been caused by rough handling in shipment (Westinghouse's suspicion), or could indicate a quality-control issue. In any event, it's something customers can easily check.
Further tests of the LVM-37w1's scaler revealed mixed results. On one hand, it did a fairly good job upconverting 480i content to1080p, never exhibiting false contouring. A good real-world test for false contouring occurs in an early scene in the film Sideways [Fox], where Paul Giamati is driving his Saab under a bright blue sky. You should see continuous subtle shades of blue spread across the sky—and through the Westinghouse you do (whereas false contouring would present blocky, monochromatic, "color-by-number" patches of blue). Yet there was considerable, as in annoying, video noise in the same sky. On the other hand, the Genesis scaler did an excellent job of locking into film cadence (known as "3:2 pulldown"), though it was only fair at minimizing jaggeze. Finally, the scaler handled continuously-shaded skin tones well, so that the waxen faces that sometimes appeared on earlier HD displays were never a problem.