A year or two ago, I would have been hesitant to write about an LCD television unless it was made by a well known manufacturer for the fear that its picture quality would be less than satisfactory. But times, they are a-changing. With LCD manufacturers supplying some of their latest panels to a rapidly growing number of LCD TV manufacturers, the smaller guys are now coming out with televisions that produce a picture quality comparable to that of the major players. The Luxor brand is a good example which shows that a smaller company can produce a television worthwhile looking at. Of course, the great advantage that smaller brands offer is the lower price tag. Plus, because of the strong competition in the LCD television market these televisions have become affordable to everyone.
The Luxor LT32D1P1 is a 32-inch LCD widescreen television. The actual viewing area measures 31.5 inches. The use of black and silver creates an aesthetically pleasing look for the LT32D1P1, not reminiscent of other smaller brands that often look cheap. Its overall appearance is sleek, with no buttons or inputs present on the front of the television. A flap-door below the screen hides one composite video input, a headphone jack and some basic television control buttons. Two detachable vertical speakers accompany the screen on either side. If you choose to use a receiver and higher quality speakers with this television, you can simply dismount these television speakers for a cleaner look. The larger-than-typical remote control is surprisingly light, fits comfortably in the hand but is not the best looking remote that I’ve laid my hands on. The buttons are well laid out and are appropriately responsive. I enjoyed the direct input button for the cable television input – more manufacturers should be doing this! Unfortunately it is not backlit.
Specification wise, the LT32D1P1 offers a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. It will accept 720p and 1080i signals, although 1080i signals will be down-converted to its native resolution. It has a built-in NTSC tuner so in order to watch high definition signals, an external receiver with an ATSC tuner will have to provide the HD signal. The LT32D1P1 boasts a brightness of 500 cd/m2, a contrast ratio of 800:1 and a response time of 12 ms. Its horizontal and vertical viewing angles are rated at 170 degrees.
Most of the audio and video connection jacks are located in the rear and point to the left side or down to allow for wall mounting. Video inputs include: 3 composite, 1 S-video, 2 component, DVI (without DHCP) and a VGA (15-pin). Since the DVI connector does not support DHCP, you won’t be able to connect a source (via a DVI cable) that sends its DVI signal with DHCP. HDCP stands for High Definition Content Protocol and is a copy protection scheme to eliminate the possibility of capturing content sent digitally from the source to the display. I had to connect my satellite using a component cable. Both the VGA and DVI connectors can be used to connect a computer to the Luxor. If you plan to use the speakers that come with this television and wish to get more bass, there is also an output for a subwoofer.
During the time in which I had the television in my living room, I used three different sources to test it: a satellite receiver (for standard and high definition signals), a Pioneer DV-563A DVD player and an Xbox. When connecting all of this equipment for the first time, I noticed that even though this television has two component inputs, only one of them accepts a high resolution signal (above 480i). The other is capable of displaying only the 480i signals. This will definitely pose an issue if you plan to connect all of your sources directly to the television. Of course if you will be using a receiver to perform your video switching, the single progressive input will do just fine.
I must say, I did enjoy the way the Luxor switches between sources. Each time you press the ‘source’ button, the television gives you a chance to cycle through the available inputs before it actually switches the input. What’s the advantage of this? My plasma, like most televisions, will switch the input as soon as you press the ‘source’ button. It takes between one and two seconds before the television switches to this input. This can be pretty frustrating, considering that you might have to hit the ‘source’ button a few times. With the Luxor, you can cycle through the inputs instantaneously and then it takes a second for it to switch to that input.
Channel switching is also nice and quick on the Luxor – quicker than many LCD TVs its size. The channel numbers that appear on the screen are large and easily visible although appeared delayed when quickly switching channels. The source labels (displayed when switching sources) on the other hand, could be larger as sometimes than can be difficult to read, depending on the picture behind them.
I started off by watching some standard definition programming and was surprised at how well this Luxor handled them. Many LCD televisions still have a hard time with low quality signals. Their picture looks pixilated with very noticeable blotchy artifacts – the larger the LCD television is, the worse this seems to get. Not to say that there was no pixilation or artifacts on the LT32D1P1, but it did a fantastic job with low quality signals compared to other LCD televisions that I have watched over the last several months.
Next, I moved on to watching passages from a few DVDs including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Behind Enemy Lines and Shark Tale. Out of the box, the Luxor’s colours, contrast and brightness were pretty impressive. However after watching a few scenes, I decided to tweak them slightly to produce an even better picture. I turned the brightness down a little, increased the contrast and played around with the custom colour temperature. The LT32D1P1 offers three preset colour temperatures besides the custom one: 6500K, 7500K and 9300K. A ‘picture’ button on the remote also allows you to choose from four preset display colour settings: soft, standard, cool and custom. I found that the standard setting worked best for me. The Luxor managed to produce skin tones and colours very well. The contrast and shadow details were also impressive for an LCD television. Watching television in daylight conditions was no sweat as the LT32D1P1 was more than bright enough. As with many LCD televisions, the black level was not the greatest point in the performance of this unit but it was completely satisfactory.
For the final test, I switched the input to my satellite receiver and watched some high definition programming. The LT32D1P1 did a fantastic job of scaling 720p and 1080i signals to its native resolution. All high resolution content that I watched looked clean and rich. It had natural colour and great detail.
There is a picture-in-picture (PIP) function with a good variety of size and placement options including a vertical split-screen. Depending on the signal that you’re watching, not all other inputs may be available to be viewed in the sub picture – the manual lists which inputs can be displayed in the sub picture. Since there is only one NTSC tuner on board, the sub picture cannot contain another television signal.
In all, Luxor offers a good looking LCD television that’s a great performer. At a price of $1699 it also offers a very good value. You could spend close to twice as much money on the same-sized LCD television from another brand but its performance would be only slightly better. This television would be a great addition to anyone’s living room or a small home theatre room.
Distributed in Canada by: Cotec Advanced Systems Inc.
Luxor LT32D1P1 32” LCD TV
• Screen size: 32”
• Contrast ratio: 800:1
• Brightness: 500 cd/m2
• Response time: 12 ms
• Resolution: 1366 x 768
• Viewing angle: 170 degrees (horizontally and vertically)
• Tuner type: NTSC
• Video inputs: 4 composite, 1 S-video, 2 component, 1 DVI, 1 VGA
• Speakers: 2 x 10 watts (detachable)
• Dimensions (WxHxD): 1067 mm x 567 mm x 136 mm
• Weight: 38 lbs