Westinghouse: Struggling to Keep Up With LCD TechS

I was really excited to check out the 2008 line from Westinghouse today, but I left the showroom very disappointed. After last year's sweet n' cheap 52", I expected bigger and better tech with the same nice let's-make-a-deal pricing, but lo, I got nothing. No 120Hz, no LED backlighting, and no new TV larger than 52". While cheapo LCD brands Olevia and Vizio have at least announced their intentions to play ball with the big brands by adopting performance-LCD technologies, Westinghouse seems content to stay at the bottom rung. That said, if you don't mind shopping on the bottom rung, there are some deals to be had.

My guess is that the cost of 120Hz—not to mention thinner panels and LED backlighting—is still too high to incorporate into a cheap LCD. Late last year, a Westinghouse rep said that the company was exploring 120Hz, and that we'd see it at CES. They didn't come through.

Vizio claims their first 120Hz offerings announced back in January, will be out in July, a full six months later. The 42" and 47" LCDs are said to list for $1500 and $1900 respectively, but so far they only exist in pictures and press releases. We'll believe in them when we see them.

Similarly, the Olevia 120Hz is nothing more than a concept shown on the CES floor, with no schedule for release. While we have no reason to doubt they are working on the tech, we don't expect to see it any time soon, at which point something better may have already passed it by.

All that said, if price is your main concern when it comes to TV shopping, Westinghouse still has some good options. The 40" VK-40F580D has solid picture quality and an embedded DVD player, and it goes for $1100. 42-, 47-, and 52-inchers from the TX series all claim 1080p resolution out of all HD connectors, component and VGA included. Those sets retail for a reasonable $1200 to $2000. Bargains aside, if Westinghouse wants to be more than the Apex Digital of LCD TVs, it had better step up its motion-blur reduction, contrast and back lighting tech . [Westinghouse]