After much debate and soul searching over what monitor to get, a nice deal that suddenly popped up made my decision easy. Of course, this 150 page thread - full of raving reviews and mouth watering images - on HardForum helped too. On Wednesday night, I ordered a Westinghouse LCD TV from newegg. On Friday afternoon (newegg is amazing!), it arrived at my house and the fun began.
- Model: Westinghouse LVM-37W3se monitor
- Type: LCD
- Size: 37"
- Resolution: 1920*1080 (1080p)
- Colors: 16.7 million
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1
- Response time: 8ms
- Connectivity: tons of inputs, including HDMI, DVI, VGA, component and more
So what is it like using a 37" TV as a computer monitor? I tried to take some pictures, but believe me, they hardly do it justice. You just have to see it in person to get a true feel for how huge this thing is and how incredible images, movies, games, etc look:
Entering the room:
At the desk:
Watching the 300 Trailer in HD:
I use my computer for a little bit of everything:
- Browsing the web & email
- Productivity apps (Word, Excel, etc)
- 3D games (Call of Duty 4, Medieval II: Total War, Half Life 2, Hitman: Blood Money)
- Movies (DivX, DVD, HD)
- Photo editing
In other words, I put this monitor through the gauntlet of tests and I have to admit, I'm impressed.
(+) Huge. 37" is an awesome size for a monitor: it's jaw-dropping big, but not so big you get a headache using it.
(+) Amazingly crisp image. Everything on this 1080p screen is very detailed and sharp, including text, images, movies, etc.
(+) Gaming and movies get a huge benefit from this big screen.
(+) Surprisingly, even text benefits from the screen: the high resolution allows the text to be exceptionally crisp, and the large screen size allows it to be big, so you reduce eye strain.
(+) Tons of inputs. The PC inputs - DVI and VGA - are especially nice as they let you use this screen as a computer monitor without any converters.
(+) So far (knock on wood) this thing has been problem free: no dead pixels, no noticeable backlight bleeding, no ghosting.
(+/-) Viewing angles are very solid. You can see a very slight change in brightness when you view it from a large angle, but you'll only notice it if you're really paying attention.
(+/-) Very bright backlight. It's too bright for monitor use, but it can easily be turned down to acceptable levels.
(-) No tuners. This monitor is cheap because it has absolutely no tuners, so you can't connect it directly to your cable. You'll need some device (cable box, DVD player, computer) in between to decode the signal.
(-) The black levels are only average. At this price range, they are more than acceptable, but more expensive screens are able to produce much richer darks.
(-) The colors are only average. Again, at this price range, they are more than acceptable, but more expensive screens are able to produce colors that have more depth and pop.
As a computer monitor, the Westinghouse is an incredible value. For a great price, I got a massive screen that totally changes my movie watching and gaming experience. To my great surprise, all text related activities are improved as well: it's remarkably nice to have large, crisp text in every application.
Of course, not everything is perfect. I'm upgrading to the Westinghouse from a Sony FW900, one of the best CRT's ever produced. As such, I'm used to a screen that can produce perfect black levels and amazing colors. No, the LVM-37w3se cannot produce the kind of black levels and rich colors I'm used to. And yes, there are more expensive LCD's out there that can do better. However, the differences are not that dramatic and have little impact in day-to-day usage.
Overall, I think the sheer size of the Westinghouse as well as the crispness of the images & text make up for all of its shortcomings. You just cannot place enough value on the way such a big screen changes your computer experience.