For testing movie playback on this set, we used a VGA connection running at 1920x1080. For DVD software we used TheaterTek DVD, and for WMV-HD files we used Zoom Player Standard. The DVD software decoder up-scaled the 480p DVD content to 1080p, so the set was displaying in native 1080p.
We used "The Professional" movie DVD for testing. The quality was good, but we could tell it was a DVD movie and not a high-definition source. Newer and better recorded DVD movies will look more impressive on an HD set than lesser quality DVD titles. The color reproduction was good and the playback was smooth with no sign of any ghosting. Skin tones looked accurate and not oversaturated or discolored. We suggest using a properly setup HTPC to up-convert DVD movies to 1920x1080, sending the signal that is at the native resolution of the set, as this should produce the best results.
Movie studios and DVD player manufacturers are gearing up to release HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies and players shortly. These HD movies will have content in either 720p or 1080p, rather than the low resolution 480p content of DVDs. We wanted to test how these future HD movies would look on the Sceptre, so we downloaded the free 1080p WMV-HD movie samples from Microsoft. The full movies are also available for purchase on WMV-DVDs which can only be played on a computer.
The first movie we looked at was the 1080p Alexander trailer. As soon as the video started to play, you could tell a vast difference from the DVD movie viewed previously. There was no static or noise in any of the areas. Colors were brighter and more accurate, and the picture was razor sharp. We were very impressed in how the set displayed the first HD video test.
Next we tested the 1080p Coral Reef Adventure video. The shot above was a beautiful sunset and looked striking on the set. There was no detail missing in the dark water and the colors were right on.
As far as the black levels on this set, we found them to be good, but not yet on par with plasma or CRT displays. This is a problem with current LCD technology as a backlight must always be on. Some of the pictures have the black DVD bars on the top and bottom due to the DVD aspect ratio being wider than 16:9. You can barely even see the backlight in those bars, and it was not distracting when movie watching. There were also more distinguishable details in dark scenes.