I bought a new television Tuesday night, a Westinghouse 32″ HDTV (32w6 if you keep up with that kind of thing) and I love it. It’s a great TV and at a great price. It’s the dirty secret of the LCD-TV world because a good portion of it appears to be made by Sony or with some Sony parts. I’m told the LCD is similar or identical to the one in 32″ Sony displays and the video circuitry is just step below, too.
I set up the TV and read the brief instruction manual. A couple of quick menu choices and it was happily sniffing away at my cable connection. I chose the automatic detection settings and I was not disappointed. I found hundreds of digital channels but most were block or contained no content. It did find all of the standard channels without problems and it was at this point that I got my first glimpse of what analog TV really looks like: yuk!
I was wondering if my money had been spent in vain when I hit channel 16.1 — my local NBC station broadcasting in 1080i, the highest resolution/quality my new baby could understand. It was near midnight and Conan O’Brian was on.
It was stunning!
I sat slack-jawed, stupefied at HDTV. It was so clear, much clearer than anything I’d seen before, even in the demo rooms and back wall of Best Buy. I found myself not listening to the words and instead staring at the textures of the clothing, the curtain behind Conan (you could almost see the fabric texture) and the color blotches on Robin Williams’ face.
When done right, HDTV is marvelous. I know now that I will have to replace all of my standard stuff for HD. A Series 3 HD TiVo is $799 plus $199 to transfer the lifetime subscription. That’s a little rich for my blood right now, but I’ll keep an eye on it in case I can find a way to pick one up on the cheap.
One of the best parts was connecting my original Xbox up to the component video connectors. I reconfigured the Xbox to display 480p (a higher resolution than standard) and made it aware that I now had a “16:9” TV. Combine that with the DVD kit and now I’m watching DVDs at probably twice the clarity that I had before.
It’s three days later and I’m still marveling at the quality. If you’re on the fence, buy a HDTV and you won’t be disappointed.