16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2004
I had been shopping for a new TV to replace our 10-year-old 27", and wanted to go with flat-screen, direct view, 16:9 switchable capability. HDTV is available by broadcast in our medium-market area on two stations so far; digital on 4 others. Of several 32-36" sets we looked at, the Zenith C32V37 was the only one found under $1000 with the HD receiver built in. No $400 add-on receiver needed!
After 2 weeks with it, we are very happy with the choice. We receive the HD signal with a small, amplified disc antenna (the stations are either already in the UHF band, or were translated to UHF), and the HD picture (broadcast at 720p by CBS and 1080i, I believe, by ABC) is all it's promoted to be. The TV is now integrated with an inexpensive, progressive-scan DVD player, and with a regular 2-channel sound system. They play together very well. DVDs have a great look in all aspect ratios, and the details are amazing - very crisp. Zenith touts the feature that the black borders above and below a 16:9 picture don't have any scan lines wasted on them, and that is not an insignificant thing: the full vertical resolution is packed into the viewing area.
The picture quality from DirecTV (not digital) is excellent - 'way better than any analog picture I've ever seen. The NFL playoff games on CBS last weekend convinced me that HD will be the real deal, as soon as the broadcasters can concentrate on the wide ratio without the need to compromise on picture composition for analog sets. And your camcorder and digital camera's pictures have never looked better.
The TV was easy to set up, its weight notwithstanding. Lots of wires (we're using S-video cable for all those peripherals); but the access points, including full AV ports under the front panel cover, are well labeled. The user has complete control of all set functions, including automatic and manual screen aspect ratio control, full audio options, inputs, channel scanning, surfing -- on and on. The remote is above the capacity of my wife, but she's catching on. So many features are available by remote, that it's a bit overwhelming.
Any downgrades I would give are only small observations: (1) the need to rather slowly scroll through all the input options when switching between over-the-air digital and HD channels and the DirecTV input; (2) the complexity of the remote -- some learning curve is necessary, though; and (3) small variation in picture settings among the various inputs.
Overall, a very good choice for value, picture quality, and functionality. A satisfying upgrade, and that's exactly what I set out for in the first place.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2004
First let me say that I really wanted to like this TV, and there are a lot of things that I do like about it very much, but today I'm returning it to the local store where I bought it.
Mine has some serious problems- I believe it's the power supply- that cause it to overheat after it has been on for 4-5 hours. At that point I begin to hear a sparking sound inside and the picture blinks briefly. At first this happens only once every few minutes, but the longer you watch the more frequent this becomes until finally it is occuring every 2-3 seconds and becoming extremely annoying. By this time the remote control no longer functions, in fact none of the buttons on the front of the set work either, including the power button. I have to unplug it to turn it off- that is if it doesn't shut itself off first.
So I have a defective one, I can accept that and would be willing to simply repair it (under warranty) or exchange it for another. Instead I am going to exchange it for another brand because of a far worse problem. I have a very good Panasonic DVD player (actually a DVD recorder) with progressive scan and component video output. What I have found is that when I connect this DVD player to the Zenith using component video cables the picture quality is FAR worse than it is with either S-Video or even composite (RCA) cables. The picture is very grainy looking, particularly in dark scenes. This isn't the nitpicking of a videophile either- there is absolutely no doubt in the picture quality: component video is much worse than S-Video or RCA. I have tried setting the DVD output for both 480i and 480p, it doesn't matter. In fact, it isn't even just with a DVD movie that I see the difference; any signal coming through component video cables looks worse, even just watching a cable TV channel using the DVD's tuner. There is nothing to adjust or configure on the set either (confirmed by Zenith customer support), so that isn't the problem.
I have taken my DVD player to a friends Hitachi HD-ready set, and on his the component video signal is clearly better, so it's not my player or cables. I have also tried a different DVD player with my TV. Finally I went back to the store and asked the salesman to connect one of their own DVD players to their own floor demo Zenith using the various cables and they were as surprised as I was to see the obvious difference in picture quality. So this problem doesn't seem to be with my set alone, or have anything to do with the power supply issue (on mine) mentioned earlier.
I called Zenith customer support, and while they answered the phone promptly and were very friendly, they could offer no insight whatsoever as to the problem(s), and only gave me the number of a warranty service center. Given my luck so far however, and especially considering the similar behavior with a second set in the store, I don't have a lot of confidence in a repair (at least for the component video issue), and I really don't want to carry a replacement set home only to find it has the same problem. This is a big, heavy TV.
So sadly I am giving up on this and switching brands. As I said, I really wanted to like this set. The features it offers for the price are unmatched by anything else I could find, and I like the menus and general "feel" of this TV very much. It just seems like in order to squeeze everything in they may have skimped on the quality.
I would recommend that anyone else with this model try comparing the various video inputs, and I would be very interested in reading their comments.
One final comment: while it's nice that this model has both cable and HD tuners built in, virtually all cable and satellite providers use their own digital and HD tuner boxes with scrambled signals, thus the built-in tuners won't receive anything. So unless you are going to receive HD off the air (i.e. using an antenna, which unfortunately I can't where I live), I would not let this feature be the deciding reason for buying the TV (assuming you don't mind the component video problem).
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2004
Review of Zenith C32V37 HDTV - Just bought one last Sunday
Just bought a Zenith C32V37 last Sunday night.
I used to search the web for reviews of the HDTV, but could not find very many, so here is my review after setting it up over the past 3 days:
Watching a DVD
-I have only played 3 DVDs (Lion King, Star Wars and The Mask) on the system and all 3 looked great (after setting up the color correctly). I set my DVD player to think it is playing to a 16:9 TV, becuase the C32V37 can be set as 16:9 system so you can take advantage of the "Enhanced for Widescreen" DVDs. The Mask is a 4:3 DVD, so it did not look as good and I did not reset my DVD player to 4:3 output because I did not want to take the time (I have very few DVD that are not "Enhanced for Widescreen").
Watching Broadcast (Over the Air) HDTV
-Jay Leno and his guest on the Tonight Show looked better than fantastic. This is the 1st time I have watched HDTV being broadcast over the airwaves. Let's just say that I was shocked how good the picture is on HDTV. I cannot wait for all signals (and sources materail) to be HD. Then I will not need to pay for Comcast Cable any more. The SuperBowl is going to look "Super" this year.
-The Reception of the HD Signal over my RCA Powered (25 DB Gain) Anntena that now sits on top of HDTV is very strong. When I walk around the room the signal does not get cut off and the signal monitor that is built into the TV shows Normal/Good strength throughout the night. This is much better than the Samsung 151 (I think this was the model, it was 6 months ago), which would cause the signal to cut out when someone walked around my living room. The only time the Zenith HD Signal cuts out is when a train comes by my house, the signals dies for only 2 or 3 seconds. So I give the Zenith a much higher rating than the Samsungs HD receiver.
Watching Comcast Analog
-Does not upconvert the signal as well as a Sony HDTV (glass tube), but it is still way better than my old 9 1/2 year old TV. TV shows look good and can be watched with no problem. But, animated shows look GREAT when upconverted by the Zenith.
-A little pause between channels, I think it is because it has to digitize (put the picture in some kind of RAM) the picture first.
-There is some kind of Surf feature in the HDTV, but I have not set it up yet. I hope this will help scanning the channels a little faster.
-Going between Annalog and Digital channels takes a little while to understand and make it a habit. If you want NBC-HD (which is channels 11 on Analog Comcast), I have to punch in 48-2 (there is a dash button on the remote or type just type in 482). To go back to NBC on annalog cable, I need to punch in 11-0.
-The sound from the TV is very powerful, sound volumn can go very high.
-Have not hooked it into my Surround Sound system yet, I will use the fiber optic connection tonight so I test out the 5.1 sound coming from HDTV. Will update tomorrow.
1. Size 32 inches (Perfect for our living room)
Length: 22.4 inches
Width: 36 inches
Height: 27 inches
158 pounds (easy for 2 men to pull it out of the box and put it into the TV Stand)
3. Setup (this took me a few tries to get right)
Coaxial #1 connection = Anntena (For HDTV)
Coaxial #2 connection = Cable (Comcast Analog)
-Must tell the system how you have the connectors setup (you have 4 options, I used option three)
-Auto Channel Select took about 3 minutes
4. Color adjust
-All glass HDTV systems colors are set way to high, had to back the color adjust way (and I mean way down) down and set the Tint a little away from the red side.
-$999 (got it at Best Buy for $940 with Tax and 4 year warrenty)
-Very good deal considering that it has a built in HDTV receiver that really grabs onto the signal with a little powered anntena!
-Easy to access and select all menu functions. I am a techy kind of guy, so I do not know how a "Non-Techy" person will succed in cruising through menus.
7. Remote Control
-Has easy one button access for most of the controls you will once you get the system setup.
-I can only turn my JVC DVD/Sound Sytem off and on, cannot start/stop DVD player.
-Have not setup the remote to control the VHS machine yet, but it looks like it has more controls/buttons for a VHS player than a DVD player.
-No real problems with the remote and the HDTV, most remote will not control my JVC all-in-one DVD/Surrond Sound system.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2004
I just bought this TV 3 days ago and I have been very impressed with it. When I first saw this TV in Best Buy 5 weeks ago, I was real excited. Then I saw some of the reviews on this website and my excitement was dampered. But my desire for a TV like this pushed me to due my own research about the negatives mentioned.
The February 18th review mentions a zapping and flickering in the TV picture after leaving the set on for an hour. I think this guy just got a bad TV---especially when you consider that TV stores leave their TV's on all day long. Kinda hard to sell a TV if it's flickering and zapping huh? I haven't seen it in the three C32V37's I've seen at Best Buy.
The January 31st review mentioned a problem with the component video. Well, I brought a DVD to Best Buy and asked them to hook one of their DVD players up to the C32V37 as well as a Sony KV-32HS510. I couldn't tell a difference in the picture. On top of that, the TV I brought home has played DVD's beautifully. The purity of the picture for DVD's reminds of what I see at a movie theater. I also haven't noticed the overscanning mentioned in the Feb 24th review.
I also looked in several Consumer Reports guides. While I could never find the C32V37's (not surprising since the TV just came out at the beginning of January 2004), I did find some interesting info on Zenith. The Consumer Reports 2004 Home Digitial Entertainment Buying Guide recommended three Zenith TV's (not their top recommendations but still on the top 3 in each category). They also mentioned that Zenith had the second highest number of customer compliants (RCA is number #1). So this told me that Zenith makes a high quality product that is more prone to having problems than other brands. Which isn't surprising giving the mix of mostly positive and a few negative reviews on this website. So I decided I would go ahead and get it expecting that there could be a very small chance I might have a problem. But that's what the manufacter's limited warranty is for!
I really like this TV and definitely recommend it---especially because it has an HDTV tuner built in. The remote control is nice and regular TV (over cable) looks really good. My only real complaint would be about the instruction guide. It only covers all the features on the main menu. Granted that is 90% of the TV but I still had some more questions (like how do I decipher the symbols displayed when I hit the info button). Overall, though, it's a great deal to get an integrated HDTV with great picture quality for only $1000!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
I've been a video Tech for 4 years now, and i am very particular about tv's. It was a great shock to me when I walked into Best Buy looking at a Pannasonic HDTV and saw the Zenith TV sitting right next to it, with a Sony close by too.
After comparing the HD picture quality i could not believe to see that the Zenith look much better than the sony and the Panasonic.
Great features of the Zenith TV.
1. HDTV Tuner built in
3. Picture Quality
4. Menu controls
5. Lots of Inputs including DVI connector
6. Nice Remote
8. Wieght and size
1. Cannot label Inputs
2. Slow changing from input to input
3. Slow cable channel changing
4. Have to go threw all channels to go from OA tuner to cable Tuner
5. Sound quality from tv spkrs not so good
All in all this is a great TV
I have an outside anteena, picking up about 5 HD channels and 15 digital. HD looks awesome. For people that have XBOX the Zenith C32V37 looks awesome, just make sure you turn on all the video modes in the XBOX. Also DVDs look great and regular cable looks just fine.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2004
I recently replaced my Sony 40xbr800 with this set. The Sony is considered one of the best CRT based HD capable sets. After viewing this set for the last week all I can say is WOW. This set is the real deal ! I purchased it refurb for $600 off of ebay. Worth every penny. Quite frankly it is better than the Sony - hard to believe. The built in HD tuner is a big plus. For OTA HD I picked up a dozen stations - I was never able to do this with my RCA DTC100. The tuner also picks uo Cable HD stations (got ESPN, couple pay per views and other channels - only downside is you can't use OTA HD and Cable HD at the same time - no big deal).
Picture quality is great on HD and DVD. Not bad for DirecTV - better than my Sony.
Othe pluses are the ability to zoom a 16x9 HD signal while maintaining picture quality. Tons of inputs.
A steal at $600 ! A real diamand in the rough.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2004
Bought this over the holidays because of all the features, picture quality, and price. We do not subscribe to cable or satellite so the built-in HDTV tuner was a real plus. Nearly every local channel in Dayton has SD and HD channels broadcast over the air. The PBS station has 5 digital channels. All I needed was an amplified HDTV antenna. The quality is incredible. Also used the optical audio link as an input to our Koss DVD Home Theatre system so we can listen to the HDTV broadcasts in dolby digital. The progressive scan DVD input required a composite cable but the playback quality was worth the price. For the price, this is an incredible buy.
Only dislikes are the slight delays when switching channels and the built-in speakers are just OK. Of course, we just turn on the home theater system to correct this. Manual was a bit complicated and hooking up to the DVD took a while (due more to the KOSS DVD player and me not reading the manual closely). All in all, this is an awesome system. Out of the box quality was great. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2004
I really wanted to jump into High Definition arena but was not willing to pay super premium for some of the better known brands like Sony. In fact, I was very skeptical about Zenith but after looking at the demo unit at Best Buy several times (on various days), I was quite convinced to give it a shot. Agreed, the demo unit was playing the canned version of BBs in-house video that probably was souped-up for HD anyway.
The key attraction to me was the price and the fact that the audio/visual was no worse than Sony/JVC. I should add at least for this unit (C32V37), given Zenith's not-so-good reputation for quality.
I paid around $800.00 for this set at BB (incl free delivery). Into my third week now, I should say I am quite impressed with it. I haven't seen any "zapping" many other reviewers complained about but may be I got a 'good piece'. I had cable for a week, so I cannot say how most other HDTV programs look but the ones broadcast over NBC, PBS and a few others looked really good. I would imagine all others would similarly. Once I hook up for satellite in the coming days may be I'll be able to offer additional inputs. I had purchased Zenith's indoor antenna from Amazon but I haven't received a single over-the-air HD broadcast. I don't blame the antenna, it's the area I live I guess. Dublin, CA is in the East Bay and is situated in a valley. That probably is the reason. I guess I'll need to still shell out for the satellite or cable hook-up.
More importantly, DVDs look stunning. That is reason in itself to keep this set. Hope the unit's good showing keeps up over its life. This is Zenith's finest hour to rise but may be it does not have enough marketing dollars to make a rapid comeback.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2004
First, I really like this set for features, price, and wow! what a picture. It's everything I was looking for in terms of a great-for-now, great-for-the-future set. But I too got the ZAPPING-problem, just like the other reiviewer wrote about.
Basically, the problem is limited to an audio "popping" noise that seems like a static-electric spike or something. This happens with both the TV speakers and when it's hooked into a home theater with the TV speakers turned off. The TV is plugged into the two hundred dollar Monster power "conditioner" which itself is grounded, so I am at a loss...
The guys I spoke with at Best Buy have never heard of this problem so maybe it's rare. But the service person at Zenith didn't seem surprised when I decribed the problem (although, to be fair the guy I spoke with at Zenith mentioned he'd heard of this problem with a different set).
I decided to return this set and exchange it for a Sony model. I made this decision with some regret. While the price and picture are fantastic, I wasn't sold on the quality of the manufacturing. Considering the cost, all I want is to plug it in and forget about it. But the electronics people who wanted to sell me an "extended warranty" succeeded in scaring me over how "fragile" HDTV components are.
I figure that if the componentry is as fragile as they say, and the set shows signs of not working right, and other people seem to have reported the same problem - then I am better off paying a few extra bucks for the Sony model. Too bad! I was happy with the set otherwise.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
That's not fair. You have several negative reviews from people that:
1.) don't know what they are doing or
2.) got unlucky and got a defective unit. It happens.
The remote control is just fine. Only a halfwit would not know how to use it. I find Zenith's menus and interfaces to be way more user friendly than Sony, first off.
As it stands, I defy anyone to find me a better value for the dollar than this amazing FULLY INTEGRATED HDTV. You can go with Sony and spend more money for an HD monitor or you can get this. I choose this because I saw the picture was just as good if not better AND it had more features. It just can't be beat.
Everything is as advertised, and all you have to do is fine tune some of the settings, and the picture will simply floor you. I can't believe I own a full HD set for around $1000 or so. It's a dream come true that will serve me for years to come. At this size, no less. Simply amazing and the best value on the market bar none.
This TV's widescreen brother, the c34v37 is equally amazing, but I needed to save some money and letterbox bars don't bother me.
Zenith has come back in full power. Both 37 TV's are the best value and performance for the dollar. I can't wait for Zenith's DVB318 DVD player to come out, so I can hook it up with the DVI connection and upconvert to 1080i.