There was a time when you could only get a quality HDTV from a brand name. Add to that was size — those manufacturers striving to equal the quality of the “brand” didn’t try and get too big for their britches…make that for the display. But that was then and now a name doesn’t equate quality just because it’s been around from a long time. Take Sceptre’s E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV for example. The company won’t come to a person’s lips the way those “brand” names do, that’s true. But for those looking for a big display for starting their own home theater — or making their bedroom viewing more enjoyable — this 46-inch 3D capable display has a lot going for it. And that includes price as well.
To start, the Sceptre E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV looks similar to most flat panels of its size: it’s a piano black with a thin bezel and a base that stands it up on a cabinet so that it can swivel freely. Or you can mount it to the wall, although no parts for doing this are included.
The base does require being screwed in: Sceptre thoughtfully provides a screwdriver for use here, and the low weight of the Sceptre E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV makes it possible for this to be done by a single person without fear of damaging the screen.
Once assembled, the controls are found on the front right side, although using the standard size remote makes more sense. The remote provides the usual buttons for getting to the menu, increasing volume and changing screen aspect size (useful when inputting a PC signal), among other buttons such as “shortcuts” to functionality. On the back you’ll find the panel for the input/output ports, and this is mirrored to a lesser extent on the back left side as well. You’ve the choice of 5 HDMI inputs, Component and Composite and analog and digital inputs and outputs. The internal speakers are adequate for listening in a fairly low noise environment — turned way up they will display a bit of distortion which requires their being adjusted in the audio menu settings first to your personal preference. There’s no subwoofer so the bass is far from expansive — however you could use an external sound bar with the set to take care of these issues. And as is the case with most “small” flat panels, the SRS-branded pseudo surround sound acoustic effect setting is fair-to-middling, as regards its being effective. Stay with regular stereo or go with external audio when you’re looking for big rocking sound for movies featuring huge explosions and thunderous sound effects.
But getting back to the ports on the back, there’s also a USB socket. This will accept a flash drive, with some storage size/file size restrictions, that can be displayed through the remote and played. Not just music, but also video can be viewed in this manner. The position of the USB socket makes it a bit difficult to reach — but had it been on the back rather than the side panel, I doubt it would ever be used at all.
There’s a “Wizard” for initially setting up the SceptreE465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV and then it’s time to view some TV — in this case using a satellite receiver for 1080i high-definition.
The “out of the box” view looked quite good and sharp — even the contrast was pretty much dead-on while viewing news “talking heads.” But going into the menus let me do some minor adjustments which made it look better — to me. Where adjustments can be most effective is when you’re viewing low-resolution imaging (commercials come to mind), as the chance of some colors “bleeding” can occur; to the eye this will seem more like a smearing of the image in spots.
That’s a key point: there’s enough control over the video to suit the person’s point of view as to what constitutes a “good” image. But as in GIGO (garbage in, garbage out), if the visual display didn’t start out with an acceptable image, no amount of tweaking would make a difference.
Now let’s address the fact that there’s no Internet accessibility in this HDTV — that’s right, the 3D aspect is what drives this set as “special,” because there’s no Netflix or apps or web browsing, etc. When you consider it, all of the online capabilities can be addressed easily through a Blu-ray player, media player or the like — unlike just a few years ago, videos source devices now include all the Internet capabilities that once were specialized in TVs. The advantage of the Sceptre E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV not having this is being able to have a lower price as I see it. Additionally, rather than being locked into whatever online access that Sceptre has decided is viable (or is willing to license) you’re open to getting whatever you want through the video device. By doing this you can consider the Sceptre E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV to be a “basic” model if you want, but through the addition of 3D and all the necessary and needed functionality that a 1080p Full HD flat-panel should have, I say it’s OK. And no surprise that a Blu-ray disc-based movie provides a deeper and more vibrant color palette than that from the satellite TV — a non-compressed image being better than a compressed image after all.
Speaking of 3D, it’s passive, which is to say polarized. The set comes with 4 pairs of polarized glasses — 3 are full sized to wear (and have an interesting dual gray/black appearance), while one comes as a clip-on pair. Considering that most households have at least one person who wears glasses, I see this as a nice bit of extra so “Well done,” Sceptre customer service focus-group considerations report! But getting back to 3D, the view is as expected since the 46-inches does rely on you being a bit closer than you would be otherwise in order to see the 3D effect well. The angle of view is broad enough for more than one person to share the screen’s real-estate, but 3 or more might start to angle one person out of the sight of 3D. That’s where the 3D “depth” control can come in; broadening the 3D effect to make it more noticeable as needed. But unlike what you’d expect, there’s no 2D to 3D converter technology in the set — instead there’s a 3D to 2D converter for watching a 3D view as a 2D view. It’s an interesting addition but frankly I have no idea why it’s there — there’s more than enough 3D glasses provided and if you’ve a larger crowd, you’d want a bigger screen anyway. Chalk this up to a question mark on my brain. But I never said I was the final judge of all things (though maybe I should be).
Bottom line: The Sceptre E465BV-FHDD 46-inch 3D LED HDTV is a well constructed 3D capable Full HD flat panel display. The feature set is broad enough to encompass all the expected needs of the average viewer, and the price tag and 46-inch size makes it a viable and useful addition to the beginner’s home theater setup.
- Video freeze frame control
- Audio equalization settings
- No Internet accessibility
- No 2D to 3D capabilities
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.