www.ShopNBC.com and ShopNBC on TV
Price: Around $999.99 - $2399.99 depending on size and current deal/special
*Note, if you are looking for the review of the 37" Protron LCD TV with ATSC Tuner and HDMI Input, Please Click Here*
Today I am happy to be able to check out one of the top LCD TVs that I have seen. The LCD that I am trying today is the Protron LCD that is sold on ShopNBC (a channel on most major cable and satellite networks). These TVs have become very popular for their great picture, quality, and price. Today I am lucky enough to get my hands on the 37" version of this TV for review.
The 37" version comes in a large box that has the specifications and an image of the TV on the outside (note that for shipping there is another box outside this box to protect the TV further).
Inside the box, the TV is very well packed by two large foam pieces. There also is a third foam piece that protects the screen. All the cables and other accessories are packed in a small card board box that sits in one of the foam pieces. Overall I do not think the TV will be damaged at all during shipping as it is expertly packed.
Here are the specifications from ShopNBC's website:
Features and Specs:
This TV also has some nice includes. It comes with the HDTV Cable and VGA Cables required to hook up your DVD Player, VCR, or other electronics to your new TV. You also are ready to go right out of the box with everything included, even down to the batteries for the remote.
Once everything is all unpacked, we are ready to start setting up the TV. First off we need to plug the TV into the power outlet. On the backside toward the bottom is a port to plug in the power cord. The other end of the power cable is a 3 prong power plug (one nice thing with this LCD over other LCDs is that there is no power brick on the cord, it is just the cord). Now we can start plugging in your audio/video equipment. As everyone's setup is different, this TV gives you a wide range of input options so you can use it with just about any kind and number of equipment items you want to plug into your TV. Most of the inputs are on the back side of the TV in a indentation where you will find:
Also on the right side (looking at the TV from the front) there is one set of RCA inputs for items that you will want to plug in and unplug often (like video cameras, game systems, etc.) without having to go behind the TV. These inputs are not visible from the front though, so you will not have to worry about them looking bad on the front of the TV.
Finally, on the bottom of the back near the Power Input, there are DVI and PC VGA inputs. There also is a PC Audio Input and the Antenna Input. For the Antenna, you will need to use the included adapter to go between the TV and your standard Cable/Antenna cable. This adapter is small, and simply slides into the jack on the back of the TV.
I found that there was a wealth of inputs and really no one should have any problems connecting any of their equipment to this TV. There also are inputs for all the major HD (High Definition) TV Standards so you can enjoy HD TV on this TV without buying any extras (besides the hardware needed to get the HD TV (example a HD DVD Player).
Now that we have the TV setup, we can start enjoying it. Using the included remote we can switch between inputs, type in channel numbers, change the volume, and do all the other standard functions. The remote has a good layout and fits nicely in your hand. The only thing I could see improved would be to make the remote universal so you can program it with other devices (such as a dvd player) and control your other devices with it.
From the remote you can also access the TV menu. Once in the TV menu, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc. to fine tune your picture. You also can adjust settings such as parental controls, closed captioning, channel list, and all the other items that most TVs have. One thing that makes this menu different is its layout. It is much easier to navigate than other TV menus I have seen, plus it legibly, displays information that is easy to understand and edit if necessary.
Now on to the part that most people have been waiting for, how good is this TVs picture! I have seen many TVs in my day, and I must say that this TVs picture is unbelievable. It is right up there with the Sony and Panasonic LCDs that are on the market, and blows away most of the other cheaper LCDs that you see in stores. Even though other LCD TVs may claim to be HD quality, they still can provide a not so desirable picture, but that is completely not true with the Protron LCD TVs. They provide an unbelievable picture that really has to be seen to be believed. For testing I had the Protron right next to a 32" Conventional True Flat Tube TV. Both TVs were feed by the same source (a Satellite Receiver) and the LCD blew the conventional tube TV out of the water (you can see the two in the picture below, the tube TV is on top, Note that it is hard to see the true difference in a picture, but I try to give you at least an idea of the difference). In using a HD source, the picture quality goes up dramatically and it is almost like looking out the window of your house, it is truly perfect. Using a HD DVD Player, DVD movies come alive and you notice details that were never visible before. From the remote you can also select whether you want a widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3) picture. If you select standard, there will be black bars on either side of the screen, but the picture will not be stretched (if it is not a widescreen image). If it is a widescreen image, or you want to fill the whole screen, you can use the widescreen mode. In widescreen mode the picture will be stretched if the image is in standard format.
Another amazing feature on this TV is the Picture In Picture. So you are thinking, yes, its neat, I have seen it in action before, BUT have you ever seen it on a widescreen TV? On this TV you can have two video sources displayed that are just about the same dimensions as two conventional TVs sitting next to each other. It is a neat feature to see two full screens right next to each other instead of just having the small box in the corner. Of course you can still put the small box in the corner, but also available on this TV is the option to relocate the PIP box anywhere you want on the screen and 3 different sizes. This is easily done, plus makes it so you are more in control of your TV experience.
So, we have gone over the great features, picture quality, and HD compatibility, but you may be wondering what is so great about these LCD TVs that I keep hearing about. Well, LCD TVs have the best picture in the TV world, plus have a long lifetime combined with a picture quality that will not fade over time. The biggest feature that LCD TVs bring in my opinion though is their small size. Unlike conventional TVs that have a large depth and weight a lot (many times hundreds of pounds), this LCD TV is less than 6" wide (including the stand it is 10" as the stand sticks out a bit on the front and back) plus weighs in at around 60 pounds. That makes it more portable, easier to place, and much less bulky to have around. Another neat feature about this small form factor is that this TV can be mounted with a wall mount. This TV features the standard VESA mount on the back that you can attach universal wall mounts to. You can find the wall mounts at ShopNBC also.
The design of the TV is very sleek and good looking. Most of the TV is silver with a black frame around the screen. Also in the front on the bottom there are the two speakers which blend in perfectly as they are also silver and molded into the frame of the TV. In the middle on the bottom there is a small black rectangle that contains the IR sensor for the remote and a green LED light to show when the TV is on. On the top of the TV you will find a button bar with the power button, volume up/down, channel up/down, menu, and source buttons.
Overall I felt this was one amazing TV for the price. Even though it is not a name brand like Sony or Panasonic, it performs just as well, if not better than the name brands. It is definitely not one of those cheap no name electronics that will provide sub par quality. You also receive everything you need to get started, plus all the inputs you could ever need on a TV, all packed into one sleek, beautiful looking product.
Our owner and founder, Gray, started Tech Islands in 2005 to help pursue his interest of Pocket PC News and Reviews.