After Hours

Steal the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD for $800

The Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD is a true 1080P 42-inch flat panel television that can be purchased for under $800. Mark Kaelin looks it over.

TechRepublic's 2008 Geek Gift Guide includes many great gadgets, computers, and toys — all technology geek favorites. However, the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD is not among them. Our review unit came in too late to make the guide, but after banging on it for a few days, we felt we had to share what we found.

More photos are available in the accompanying TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Well connected

That is because the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD is one of the best flat-panel 1080P values televisions currently available. At this writing, this LCD is available from CompUSA for $800. With four HDMI inputs, a VGA input for a PC, and the requisite composite connections for cable and DVR boxes, this television is designed for the modern geek multimedia living room.

Just think about it: you can connect an X-Box, a Wii, a Playstation 3, a Roku Netflix Player, a personal computer, a TiVo, and a digital cable box to just one 1080P display. If that is not geek visual nirvana, I don't know what is.

The on-board software and menus are feature-laden. I can see geek-types spending hours tweaking contrast ratios and color hues. The factory settings were typically too bright, but an adjustment to proper level was routine.

This is a great value. I can't tell you how hard it has been to not push the "Add to Cart" button.

Nothing is perfect

Now, lest you think I am gushing too much over the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD, let me acknowledge that there are some caveats to consider before you impulsively click the buy button.

First, this is a Westinghouse television. To be it simply, Westinghouse is one of the lower-end brands in this market space. The quality of this model television is more that adequate, but it is not the best. The blacks could be blacker, the whites whiter, and the colors more vibrant, but most of us are not going to notice. However, if you want the absolute best quality visual experience, you'll have to look elsewhere and spend more money.

The other caveat is the design of the televisions case. It is about as plain as plain can get. Charcoal black all over with no distinguishing features. If minimalist utilitarian is clashes with your décor, then you might want to consider another more stylish selection.

Bottom line

With the switch to digital-only television coming soon, many are going to be shopping for a new television. An LCDHD television is arguably the best value television and the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD epitomizes the category. Whether you are looking for a special geek gift (check out the 2008 Geek Gift Guide) or just a replacement for the old tube-filled Zenith, the Westinghouse TX-42F430S LCDHD fits the bill to a tea.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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