Westinghouse TX-52F480S LCD HDTV

Westinghouse is one of the most venerable consumer-appliance brands in American history, so it's no wonder the company has gotten into the LCD TV game in a big way. I've reviewed several Westinghouse sets, and I've seen steady improvement with each generation.

The TX-52F480S is the latest and largest LCD TV offered by the company, and it's got a lot going for it. Even better, it's priced at only $2500, far less than premium 52-inchers. Can it compete with those big-dog brands? Let's see...

The TX-52F480S has all its connections, including four HDMI 1.2 inputs, on the sides of a central "spine" on the back. This makes it easy to route cables if the TV is mounted on the wall, but it also increases the depth of the cabinet to 6.2 inches. I assume HDMI 1.2 was implemented to cut costs, which doesn't bother me at all, since there is no current commercial content that incorporates Deep Color or xvYCC, features exclusive to HDMI 1.3.

These days, many LCD TVs refresh the image at twice the normal rate—120Hz instead of 60Hz—in order to reduce motion blur. The Westinghouse uses a refresh rate of 60Hz, no doubt to keep the cost down. With 1920x1080 native resolution, it can accept all signals including 1080p/60 and 1080p/24, though it applies 3:2 pulldown to 1080p/24.

The Standard aspect-ratio mode is supposed to map each pixel in a 1080i or 1080p signal to the corresponding pixel in the display, which eliminates any chance of degrading the picture by overscan scaling. With a 1080i signal, however, I found that a few pixels were cropped from the top and bottom, and there were signs of vertical overscan scaling in some test patterns. This was not evident with a 1080p signal.

One of the touted features is a function called Autosource, which automatically switches to the input that's receiving a signal. This might seem like a good idea, but it's not. What happens if more than one input is receiving a signal? I found out the hard way—it switches unpredictably. It's far better to leave this function off and switch inputs manually.