The was the first "big screen" modern tv I purchased. I was a little concerned with buying the Element brand, because I own several of their smaller screened products around the house, and, while OK, are not great. Walmart made the decision much easier by offering this 46" unit for $310 off its regular price, with a net of $489 (sans tax) about a week or so before Xmas. I took the plunge and bought it online with local delivery to a nearby store. They claimed it would not arrive before Xmas, but, low and behold, it came in 3 days before. Good show, Walmart!
Now, the reason I decided to take a chance was that it was, literaly, the only 46" unit I could find that has 1080P, 120Hz, LED backlit for that price. NOBODY came close in that size range. Being an electical engineer, I am one that has a tendency to ferret out the best bang for the buck, and, even though it was an "off" brand, decided to take the chance.
Since it was a "family" present, I got it set up and running a few days after Xmas (coal in my stocking next year). Be aware that I have Verizon FIOS, so my review only includes the HD output from the FIOS box, and I did not test the "off-the-air" mode. I did use a HDMI cable from both the FIOS box and the DVD player.
Initial review....I was blown away by the picture! The HD video content was at least as good as the major brands out there. Now the SD content looked the same as it does on most other HD tv's - a bit smeary, but this is normal for these tv's.
That being said....
* HD content at least as good as name brand sets
* Bright picture (that's because of the LED backlight)
* Easy setup
* Lightweight for its size
* Easy assembly
* Decent remote control
* Excellent price/value quotient
* Good number of input abilities from various sources
* Lousy sound (no highs or lows)
* Only two sound outputs (a) SPDIF Coaxial [NOT TOSlink); (b) headphone jack
* Headphone jack doesn't cut off speakers
* No ability to turn off speakers from main menu
* No standard A/V jack outputs
Let me say more about the sound....
First, it has been found that most of the big sets (over 40") are now equipped with some of the lousiest speakers on average. If you don't believe me, just go to the store and turn down all the other tv's except the one you're interested in. The salefolks won't like it, but what do I care - it's my money they want.
Second, having experienced this problem at many friends' homes, I picked up a highly rated sound bar by Vizio. It was under $100, and was 10 times better than even my old tv setup. There are others, but you don't have to spend a lot.
Third - in order to use the sound bar, you really need a grand set of audio cables OR use the Coaxial ouput of the Element tv. I don't know why they didn't make it an optical one (TOSlink), but I had to buy a relatively inexpensive Coax to Toslink converter in order to take full advantage of the digtal sound capabilities of the FIOS box and DVD.
I don't want you to think that this is unique to this brand tv. They pretty much all have the same setup(s), and you will find yourself juggling about 4 remotes to get what you want.
And finally, my sister, after hearing that I bought an "Element," insisted that she would transfer another $500 to my checking account and get a Samsung of the same ilk. I told her to save her money. I was quite satisfied with the new tv. That should tell you something!
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