Warehouse Wonders: Three LCDs Compared Westinghouse Digital TX-42F430S LCD HDTV
If you need a lot of HDMI inputs, the Westinghouse, with four of them, might just be your ticket. All of the inputs and other connections are positioned well back from the edge of the cabinet but face toward either side. Thus, they’re easier to access when the set is mounted on its stand than the (mostly) bottom-facing jacks on the VIZIO and Sceptre.
In addition to the standard video controls, a second Calibration menu adds a number of additional adjustments. These include separate overall red, green, and blue tweaks for each of the three preset color temperatures, Dynamic Contrast, and Deinterlace.
The remote control is well laid out, easy to use, and operates only the set. It offers direct selection of all inputs except for HDMI. The single HDMI button cycles through the available HDMI inputs, changing to the next one with each push, which I found to be a little clunky. And the owner’s manual, while adequate, is utilitarian but not much better, with a 20/10 typeface for many of the diagrams that depict the onscreen menus.
The Warm setting of the color-temperature selections was the most accurate, but it was still uneven. It was reddish in the darkest range, relatively accurate (close to 6500K) up to mid brightness, but cool on top (7400K at peak white). The color gamut sacrifices a block of significant area of the color range along the red-yellow-green axis.
Despite the unimpressive color measurements, however, the subjective color on the Westinghouse was fully convincing and a very near visual match to the VIZIO. The entrance into Babylon in Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut was vivid but natural looking, with good fleshtones. The picture was sharp and clear, with no obvious enhancement. This was true of other brightly colored, detail-rich, high-definition material as well. Greens were slightly too saturated, but this is a common characteristic of digital sets. Black-and-white material was uniformly black and white, with no uneven color tinting.
Several scenes in Alexander are killers at displaying reddish shadows on some HDTVs, but not all. The Westinghouse was largely free of this, particularly on the cave scene. In fact, the many shadows in this scene showed no false contours of any kind. While all of the sets occasionally flashed a few false contours, the Westinghouse was the least prone to them.
In dark scenes, this display fell midway between the VIZIO on the bottom and the Sceptre on the top in the quality of its blacks and shadow detail. In other words, it’s about average for an LCD set. It’s acceptable but not impressive. The peak contrast ratio measured 1,217:1 (37.7 ft-L peak white, 0.031 ft-L video black).
High-definition material verified the good overall HDMI resolution I measured from the HDMI inputs. In component, however, the HDMI resolution dropped to merely fair. Familiar standard-definition material was a bit soft compared with the best I’ve seen, but not objectionably so.
The set’s video processing earned good scores in 480i-to-1080i upconversion. It also performed exceptionally well in my 1080i-to-1080p tests, including full recognition of 3:2 pulldown.
The Westinghouse TX-42F430S isn’t perfect; none of the sets here is. But on all but the darkest scenes, it’s a pleasure to watch. You can do better—but only for a lot more.
Strengths outweigh its few shortcomings
The most generous input complement
Color-temperature uniformity could be better