Despite the remote's shortcomings, it does provide a row of direct input keys to easily switch between video sources connected to the TV. And a Wide button for changing display (aspect ratio) modes is located near the center, where you can easily find it. There are a total of five display-mode choices, including one called Normal that will correctly display both 4:3 standard-def pictures and wider, 16:9 high-def ones. But the selections don't give you much flexibility with high-def. For example, 4:3 shows that are broadcast on HDTV channels can't be stretched out to fill the screen.
SETUP After connecting my antenna, I entered the ViewSonic's setup menu and commanded it to scan for available digital channels - something the TV did easily, grabbing the full range of offerings in my area. Although there are no onscreen guides or other amenities to help you channel-surf the broadcast spectrum, the set does have an onscreen tag with station ID and a bar showing each channel's signal tuning strength.
When tweaking picture settings, you can select between a preset called Soft and a User preset that will independently store any custom settings you make for each of the TV's inputs. The only adjustment that's exempt from this is the LCD panel backlight setting - it remains fixed for all inputs at the same level you left it at last. There are also four Color Temp settings: Warm, Cool, Normal, and Nature. Unfortunately, when I pulled out the measurement gear, none of them (Nature included) came close to delivering NTSC standard color temperature - a precondition for getting natural-looking colors on a TV.
With the ViewSonic's Warm color temperature preset delivering a decidedly cool (read: bluish) palette, most programs I watched at the outset of my review had an unnatural cast: Skin tones tended toward Oompa-Loompa orange, and the white highlights in images had a glaring, washed-out look. But a service-level calibration (see Test Bench) helped to bring things back to the realm of the real.
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