The world of televisions is really changing rapidly. Two years ago, you could walk into a major electronics retailer, and there were lots and lots of CRT televisions. Today, most of the rear projection TVs are LCD and DLP, plasmas are everywhere, and now the CRT tube television in the traditional 36-inch and smaller sizes are being encroached upon by LCD flat panel televisions.
Prices for larger LCD panels have been dropping precipitously since Syntax introduced the first low-cost, 30-inch LCD television last year, one that I favorably reviewed. Now Syntax has introduced an entire line of new televisions in larger sizes with a new look and new features.
The LT32HV is a 32-inch LCD panel with a new black casing, a blue-lit Olevia in the front and even a new remote. It is a television monitor with built-in dual NTSC tuners, but not a high def ATSC tuner. Its spec sheet reads very nicely, thank you. The panel has an 8ms response time, which is class-leading and significantly better than the 12ms time generally agreed on that allows for a panel that has pixels quick enough so motion ghosting is not a problem. It is a 16:9 panel that has a 1200:1 contrast ratio, and is HDTV-ready with a 1366 x 768 pixel array. It has two built-in 15 watt speakers on each side, and, unlike the LT30, these speakers are not removable.
Connectivity of this panel is a high point. There are two component inputs: one Y/Pb/Cb and one Y/Pr/Cr. Other video inputs include three S-Video inputs, two composite inputs, one RF input, one VGA, and one DVI-I input. There is even a very small - but very nice - innovation above the connectivity panel: a built-in light to illuminate it. Absolutely brilliant (pun intended), but why has it taken so long for someone to add this one small feature so a flashlight isn't necessary?
The remote control is all-new also, and much nicer looking than the previous models. The keys are large and easy to use (rare among remotes these days), and are also clearly labeled. Unfortunately, it is not backlit. I have never been a fan of extra keys hidden under a slide panel; it just makes it to hard to reach them, even though it makes the remote look cleaner. There was one curious ergonomic quirk - when using the Select Source key, you must select the source by using the Enter button, not the button in the middle of the navigation keys. Although the center button is clearly marked Menu, in the age of DVD navigation menus I constantly hit the Menu button as an Enter button. Perhaps Syntax could take a look at that, and switch the Enter and Menu buttons.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The setup menus are very straightforward, with picture controls that allow not only for the normal color controls, but also individual red/green/blue color controls (which actually came in handy). There is also a sleep feature, an alarm feature and normal parental controls.
I set the LT32HV up with the Scientific Atlanta HD8300 high definition cable/DVR box, via component and HDMI/DVI crossover cable, and with a Denon 755 DVD player via DVI. Cables used were Tributaries component and Wireworld DVI/HDMI.Read more on Page 2.
The LT32 displayed a bright, clean picture with both sources, but out of the box it had a significant amount of red and green push. Although the previous LT30 I reviewed had a fair bit of red push that had to be dialed out, with the LT32 everyone looked sunburned and seasick at the same time. After some tweaking with Video Essentials, I was able to get a satisfactorily accurate picture. This is a bright, punchy display panel with a fairly crisp picture. Much of the scaling was done by the sources, but on 480i material the de-interlacer did a good job of eliminating motion artifacts, and in making the people look real rather than like wax mannequins. Where the LT32 falls short, like many LCD panels, is in black level. I found the LT30 to have a fairly good black level for an LCD; but I thought the LT32 was a bit weaker in this area. Although not even close to the weakest black level I have seen with LCD panels, it still was a little weaker than I had hoped. Combined with that is the lack of detail in black areas, but that in itself is a bugaboo found in all LCD panels.