Westinghouse Digital TX-52F480S 52-Inch LCD HDTV
At a Glance
The Westinghouse Digital TX-52F480S attractively displays images, but it doesn't match the better TVs in its price range.
The Westinghouse Digital TX-52F480S ($2550, as of November 4, 2008) is the second-most-expensive HDTV in its size category. Though it costs only $50 more than the Samsung PN50A760, this set falls short of the Samsung on image quality and features.
In our PC World Test Center evaluations, the Digital TX-52F480S scored fairly well despite being the only 50- to 52-inch LCD HDTV we tested that didn't deliver a 120-Hz refresh rate, this model scored second in our performance tests, outscoring such 120-Hz models as the LG Electronics 52LG70 and the Sharp LC-52D85U (Samsung's PN50A760, however, finished ahead of it by a large margin.) The Westinghouse provided smooth motion in our NASCAR test clip, where the advantages of a 120-Hz HDTV were most likely to be discernible.
Our panel of judges found other issues with the image quality, though: Nearly every judge noted the reddish, sunburned tint the TV gave Caucasian skin tones; several judges observed pixelation and fuzziness. And the TX-52F480S failed our HD HQV Benchmark Jaggies test.
In my hands-on use, this model's audio was wretched. At 61 percent of full volume (full volume was too loud for my health), the built-in speakers lacked dynamic range: The movie soundtrack I used in testing sounded flat, muddy, and strained. Even at 40 percent of full volume, the audible strain was distracting. Anyone who buys this set should reserve the internal speakers for news and TV shows, and use a separate sound system when watching movies and concerts.
The Digital TX-52F480S's remote control is middling. Westinghouse put the arrow buttons near the bottom, where they're difficult to reach, and the commonly used Mute and Input buttons are tiny and inconveniently situated. In addition, the remote lacks backlighting and can't be programmed. On a positive note, the remote has a Closed Caption button.
A bigger plus is the set's Autosource feature: Turn on a DVD player or other A/V source that's connected to the television, and Autosource automatically switches to it.
Overall, the Westinghouse TX-52F480S is a pretty good TV. But other models offer more features for less money.