A few months ago, a relative who was in the market for a mid-sized LCD TV asked me for a recommendation. As he was on a strict budget, he couldn’t pop for a premium-branded set and was on the lookout for a better performing lower-priced model. Turns out that a big box retailer had a 42-inch Westinghouse 1080p LCD on sale for $899 that week, and he went with that. Once I adjusted the set’s picture controls for him, we were both impressed with the picture quality—and the great price. He also ended up buying a PlayStation 3 for DVD and Blu-ray playback with the money he saved by choosing the Westinghouse over a more expensive model.
The smaller SK-32H540S 32-inch model under review here isn’t a 1080p set, but it includes a number of features found on its more expensive siblings, including a well designed remote control that features direct source selection buttons, among other niceties. However, the remote sports additional input buttons that don’t work with this model. Around back, the set features connectors arrayed vertically on both sides of the rear panel’s spine, a much better layout for ease of connection than the undersideoriented jack panels found on some other sets.
• ATSC/NTSC/Cable Clear-QAM tuners
• Two HDMI inputs
• Analog and optical digital audio outputs
• VGA input
• Component video, composite video inputs
As mentioned, the supplied remote is identical to the one provided with some more expensive and fully-featured Westinghouse models and has superfluous buttons for a second component video input, an S-video input as well as a button for a DVI input, which aren’t present on this model. Three red, green, and blue “Favorite” buttons are similarly useless with this particular set. The remote layout is clean and logical, with legible lettering for most button functions. One quirk that I found odd is that the component input button is labeled with the YPrPb designation; while that is technically correct, it is downright confusing for many. I don’t know why Westinghouse didn’t simply go with “Component 1” labeling, which is how component inputs are typically labeled by other brands. No direct picture adjustment buttons are provided, however, which means you’ll need to call up the main menu to do any fine tuning (with the exception of a backlighting adjustment button, which is helpful nonetheless).
Text-based with suitably large and easy to read fonts and reasonably laid out, the menu features a quintet of sub-groups for Picture, Audio, Channels, Settings, and Locks. Some of the advanced pictureadjustment controls are located in the Settings area and not the Picture area where they really should be, but the good news is that Westinghouse provides full control over picture enhancement features as well as selectable color temperature. Another quirk is that there appears to be no Exit button on the remote to quickly back out of the menu system. A counterclockwise arrow button on the upper right quadrant of the cursor keypad suggests an exit function, but instead activates previous channel selected instead. There aren’t any picture memories other than a single Custom setting. However, each input has individual picture memories.
Note: The following recommended settings were obtained using a Samsung Blu-ray player set to 720p output and connected to the set via HDMI, using the recently released Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray test and set-up disc. Having a test DVD and/ or HD disc on hand is really the only way to ensure that your source components and the display are properly adjusted, especially with respect to the brightness and contrast controls.
Color Temperature Warm
Dynamic Contrast Off
Film Mode On
Color Stretch Off
Noise Reduction Off