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Westinghouse LD-55F970Z LED LCD HDTV First Look

Westinghouse LD-55F970Z

Westinghouse LD-55F970Z


  • Product Name: LD-55F970Z
  • Manufacturer: Westinghouse Digital
  • Review Date: January 28, 2010 02:25
  • MSRP: $TBA
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting

Edge-lit LED HDTVs between 55" and 24" 

High-gloss black frame with red accents

Acrylic neck of each model's included stand is illuminated with a defeatable red glow light

Flagship 55” LD-55F970Z and 46" LD-46F970Z:

  • Full 1080p resolution
  • 6ms response time
  • 120 Hz refresh rate
  • Judder removal
  • Selectable color temperatures
  • 3D noise reduction
  • 3:2 pulldown
  • 3 HDMI ports
  • Meet Energy Star 4.0 requirements for power efficiency

42” LD-4255VX, 32” 720p LD-3255VX, 32" 1080p LD-3285VX, 26” 720p LD-2655VX, and 26" 1080p LD-2685VX, 24” LD-2455VX

  • Less than 1.5” thick
  • Consumes 80 watts of power at full output -- 30% lower than today’s most stringent Energy Star requirement

In the ongoing struggle to make LCDs more and more like plasmas, LED is the next big thing. One of the traditional failings of LCD panels is their black levels. Normally, they are more gray than black. Plasmas (and CRTs for that matter) have always held the upper hand here. LED backlighting is supposed to level the black level playing field. It does this by actually shutting off. With normal LCDs, the pixels try to block out all the light to create black. Unfortunately, there is light leakage around each of the pixels. The quality of the panel determines the amount of light leakage.

LED has, theoretically, the advantage of being localized and dimable. This means that each area can be dimmed (or turned off) separately to create blacker blacks. But don't be fooled by the rhetoric. Not all LED LCD panels are built the same. There are, currently, two different types of LED panels - edge-lit and back-lit (or local dimming). Back-lit is generally considered to be superior as edge-lit tends to be more uneven. Let's put it this way, if a manufacturer doesn't talk about local dimming with their LED LCDs, they don't have it. Local dimming sets generally provide the best, most "plasma-like" picture and no manufacturer would fail to talk about it. The advantage of the edge-lit solution is that it allows for extremely slim cabinet designs.

Westinghouse is taking advantage of the edge-lit technology with their new line of LED LCDs. The new LD series of displays is headed up by the 55” LD-55F970Z. The LD-55970Z is about an inch thick and has all the usual accouterments. It has, of course, full 1080p resolution, 6ms response time, 120 Hz refresh rate, selectable color temperatures, 3D noise reduction, 3:2 pulldown, and 3 HDMI inputs. Unfortunately, other than the slim design and LED buzzword, a lot of the newer technologies are missing. There is no mention of the sets being 3D ready, 240 Hz processing (or better - not that we think it'll really matter), or local dimming. In fact, bragging about 3:2 pulldown is sort of like talking about the steering wheel on a car - and not a custom one either. 

In the LD line there is a 46" LD-46F970Z which has all the same specs as the 55" sans the size. The smaller displays (42” LD-4255VX, 32” 720p LD-3255VX, 32" 1080p LD-3285VX, 26” 720p LD-2655VX, 26" 1080p LD-2685VX, and 24” LD-2455VX) are around 1.5" thick and presumably have fewer features though we're not sure where they can cut more corners. With only 3 HDMI inputs, the "flagship" display seems a little lacking. The styling seem nice with a high-gloss black frame with red accents and an illuminated acrylic neck of each model's included stand. Luckily, and true to form with other Westinghouse offerings, the red illumination on the neck is defeatable.

One thing that Westinghouse is really proud of is their energy efficiency. So much so, that they compare most of their new displays to light bulbs. From the press release:

The 24” LD-2455VX and the 26” LD-2655VX and LD-2685VX models use less energy than a 40-watt light bulb (15% less energy for the 24” LD-2455VX), while the 32” LED models use 10% less energy than a 60-watt light bulb.  The 42” LD-4255VX LED set uses 20% less energy than a 100-watt bulb.  Most consumers will be surprised to find that using a lamp will consume more electricity than one of these new eco-friendly Westinghouse Digital LED HDTVs! 

While we admit we aren't normal consumers, we find energy usage to be more of a nice bonus rather than a selling point. But then again, we probably (certainly) aren't the target market for the new Westinghouse LED displays. For those that are concerned (or at least more concerned than us), all of the new LED displays from Westinghouse are Energy Star 4.0 compliant (a standard that is scheduled to go into effect in the 2nd quarter of 2010) and six out of the eight new models actually exceed Energy Star 5.0 ratings (not due out until 2012).


We really do have a soft spot for Westinghouse Digital. They were one of the first manufacturers to bring a 1080p display to the market (at least an affordable one). But since then, they seem to be falling behind the curve. The question that you should be asking yourself is what will be the street price of the new LD series. Currently, pricing hasn't been set but with the right (low) price point, you could expect these displays to fly off the shelf. If Westinghouse markets (and prices) these displays as a premium brand, they may just collect dust. With the LED in the name some are sure to sell. Heck, for the right price we might pick one up... for the kid's room.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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