When tuned for a dim viewing environment, most LCDs lose some picture contrast - especially in dark scenes - and this was also true of the Westinghouse. For instance, watching a later scene where Tom confronts the sinister mobster Richie (William Hurt) in his dark home office, the picture tended to flatten out and lose some shadow depth. With less demanding content, however, the LVM-42w2 delivered mostly satisfying black levels.
As I mentioned, 1080i format HDTV looked marginally better on this TV when I used the analog component input rather than its digital jacks. When I watched a Dallas Stars - Detroit Red Wings hockey game in high-def on the OLN network, the ultra-crisp picture revealed details like the mesh netting protecting the crowd from flying pucks. I could even make out its texture in the wide shots! And the cutaway close-ups of the crowd looked detailed enough to give me a sense of what it's like to sit in the stands.
The Westinghouse LVM-42w2 also showed itself capable of displaying a range of fine colors in high-def programs. As the hockey game continued, I could distinguish a wide variety of reds - the medium hue of empty seats in the stands, the brighter one of the Detroit players' uniforms, and the vivid, near-neon glow of Coca-Cola signs lining the rink. And the picture also looked consistently solid during fast-action play. Some LCDs tend to blur or smear when displaying quick motion, but viewed on the Westinghouse, the puck, players, and sticks all retained their form throughout rapid-fire movement.
BOTTOM LINE Big-screen LCD HDTVs may cost more on average than same-size plasma models, but the Westinghouse LVM-42w2 42-inch LCD HDTV monitor is priced in line with its flat-panel competition. And the deal here is sweetened by full 1080p screen resolution and an ability to accept programs in that format through most of its video connections. Like many other LCDs, the Westinghouse looks a bit two-dimensional in dark movie scenes. And I was a bit disappointed by the modest softness in its 1080i high-def picture when using HDMI or DVI connections. But beyond that, this LCD's overall video performance is very good, making it a formidable alternative to plasma.
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