Monday, January 16, 2006

Recreating a Room

A move (local only) is in the near future, so getting the house de-cluttered (Lord, where DID all the stuff come from?), painted and repaired is absolutely necessary. This weekend the living room got painted and a lot of unnecessary shit was either tossed or boxed up. New paint (from a pale blue to Glidden's "Water Chestnut") went on the walls, and all the furniture was totally rearranged so that the room was "opened up". The new TV was installed on a coffee table and placed into a corner, with the components on the shelf below. Looks cool.

So, what about the TV? I'm happy. The only problems I had were:

1. It appeared that the component inputs weren't working.

2. I tried to get ahold of Syntax support to no avail. Their technical support call queue kicks you out after a very few minutes, forcing you to select an option from the IVR. If you go to the operator, you're often as not on hold and then have to back to the IVR for another ineffectual selection.

Of course, it didn't occur to me that I was calling during CES, the holy grail of trade shows for a company in this market. Once I realized this, I sort of understood what was going on, BUT the operator (once I got ahold of her) could have explained.

Email didn't work very well either, and I resorted to multiple email submissions and then emailing the PR contact at the parent company, which I found via a company press release.

Bottom line, I got the problem resolved, but it took far too long. Minus for customer service.

As far as performance goes, however, I am very happy. Image quality is very good, with the factory defaults being quite good. Yes, I've tweaked it a bit, but all the settings are easy to get to via the menu system. I do not have any high def content yet (another story), but SD images are not bad for an LCD/fixed pitch display which has to convert.

The most surprising discovery is the audio performance. I don't expect very good sound on a TV. No, it's not true HiFi, but it's actually quite good for a TV monitor. There are quite a few effect settings, most of which (all but one) are hokey, but with no EQ setting or on "pop", sound quality is better than average by far ... at least in my experience. The audio out is fixed, meaning you need to control volume via whatever amp/receiver it is feeding. It makes sense, but since I can't program my satellite receiver remote to control our current receiver, it's a PITA having to have 3 remotes.

I hope to have HD content by Saturday evening for HNIC. That's when I'll be able to better judge video performance, especially how it handles motion. The set has "Super in Plane Switching" (Super IPS) to minimize smear of fast-moving images such as a puck on the ice.

All-in-all, so far I can recommend this set. Time will tell regarding reliability, but the build quality seems very high, on a par with major brand names.

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