Vizio VO42LF 42-Inch LCD HDTV
Competing HDTVs rarely beat Vizio models on price. A case in point is the Vizio VO42LF, a model we first reviewed back in July that remains a well-rounded package at a low price. At $1100 (as of November 4, 2008), this model has the same price as the newer Vizio SV420XVT. But it lags behind its cousin slightly in performance and specs.
Our judges thought that the VO42LF offered a natural-looking picture, though some images looked fuzzy to our panelists. In one instance, artifacts and pixelation appeared around a test clip of moving cars. And in a David Letterman clip, flesh tones looked a bit too saturated.
Good video deserves good audio, and the VO42LF provides it, within the limitations of any HDTV's built-in speakers. The sound was quite muddy at full volume, but even the most devoted heavy-metal fan won't be tempted to use that setting. At a more reasonable 50 percent volume, audio was still a bit muddy, but better than the sound of most TVs.
The VO42LF disappoints in ease of use and extra features, though Vizio shows some improvement in both respects over past models. For instance, the company has added some easy-access inputs to the side of the TV. But those connectors are recessed, making them harder to reach than other TVs' easy-access inputs. And the rest of the inputs face down, unnecessarily hampering access.
The remote control looks like a candidate for an Apple Computer Minimalist Design Award. It's smallish, with few buttons and a strange, pits-in-a-grid surface. But its attempted coolness doesn't make it convenient or intuitive to use. For instance, it has no Menu button; so you have to press the Enter button (which is labeled neither 'Enter' nor 'Menu') to access the menu. And since the remote doesn't have an Aspect Ratio button or a Picture Size button, you must go deep into the menus to zoom in on a 4:3 program.
You can't expect perfection in an HDTV at this price (hundreds of dollars less than the Toshiba 42XV545U and the LG 42LG60 Scarlet), however. What you see is what you get, and the Vizio VO42LF shows you plenty without forcing you to max out your credit card.
This story, "Vizio VO42LF 42-Inch LCD HDTV" was originally published by PCWorld.
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The VO42LF 42-inch HDTV delivers very good picture and sound quality at a reasonable price.
- Reasonable price
- Very good picture and sound
- Inputs difficult to access
- Unintuitive onscreen menus
Vizio 42" 1080p LCD Full 120Hz HDTV (SV420XVT1A)
Product Features 42" Screen HDTV Television with LCD Technology Displays Resolutions up to 1080p Includes Remote Control High Definition with Built-In HDTV/ATSC Tuner ATSC/NTSC/QAM Built-In Video Features: Dynamic Contrast Audio Features: SRS TruSurround XT Great Value For a Great Picture, 120 Hz Refresh Rate Inputs: 4 HDMI Outputs: VGA On-Screen On-Screen Menu Display 16:9 Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1920x1080 Resolution Contrast Ratio: 6500:1 5ms Response Time 3 Speakers Bottom Fixed Speakers Operational Features: V-Chip Parental Control Operational Modes: 500 CD/M2 Brightness Additional Functions: PIP Viewing Angles: 178x178 TV Mount Features: Can Be Wall Mounted Accessories Included: Quick Use Guide 1 Year Warranty Weight: 49.7 lbs. Product Description VIZIO "XVT" was designed from the ground up to set a new standard of Full High Definition technology. The VIZIO SV420XVT FHDTV starts with the remarkable refresh rate of 120Hz and adds Full High Definition 1080p, 4x HDMI inputs, SRS TruSurround XT sound and Smooth Motion picture technology to deliver impeccable results. With more than 2-Million pixels and dynamic 6,500:1 contrast ratio, your VIZIO SV420XVT is the newest caliber of technology in the Full High Definition Television space. With available 5.1 Surround sound kit, the VIZIO SV420XVT becomes an obvious choice.
Vizio L42 42-inch LCD Flat Panel HDTV Review
By Chris Boylan
A Lot of LCD for a Little Bit of LootWhen large screen LCD TVs first came out, I admit, I didn't see the appeal. Prices were much higher than plasma even though screen sizes were generally smaller. Not to mention the picture deficiencies: uniformity problems, motion artifacts and black levels that can only be described as medium to dark grey. But as with everything, technology marches onward. Prices fall, picture quality improves, and feature sets get richer and richer. And here's where Vizio's L4242-inch LCD TV comes in.
I've seen Vizio at my local Costco but I never paid their TVs much attention assuming they were another one of those unknown brands that sacrifice performance to reach a low price point. But at the Digital Lifepress preview this year, I saw a couple of Vizio plasmas and one LCD model up close and personal, and in better lighting conditions, and I thought they looked pretty good, particularly given their low prices. The L42 is one generation beyond what I saw at that show, and it's got a lot going for it.
Pricing Update:Wal*Mart is now selling Vizio and has the Vizio VW42LHDTV10A 42" LCD HDTVfor $898 (purchase online, ship to your home or to your local store)
Features and Ergonomics
As far as features go, the Vizio has pretty much everything one could possibly want in an HDTV, including a built in NTSC and ATSC (High Def) tuner which works both with over-the-air and QAM digital cable signals. It sports two HDMI and two component video inputs, one S-video and 2 composite video inputs, plus a VGA-style analog computer input. Putting that VGA input to good use, the L42 makes for one hell of a computer monitor in its native resolution (1366X768 widescreen or 1024X768 with a 4:3 input). Text is crystal clear and sharp even from 12 feet away. But I'm afraid it's a little too large to sit comfortably on my computer desk. (We're going to need a bigger desk...).
For an "entry-level" HDTV, the Vizio is packed with inputs, including 2 HDMI and 2 component inputs, plus VGA, S-Video and Composite video inputs.
We tested all of the inputs and each worked as expected. The HDMI inputs saw action from a Sony High Definition DVR as well as a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD playerand the set had no trouble locking to the HDMI signal of either device. Occasionally, with the TV speakers on, a slightly audible crackle could be heard when powering up a source connected to the HDMI input, but this did not occur when we used an external receiver and speakers for the audio.
The VUR-4 remote is easy to get used to, but lacks backlighting and direct input buttons for each individual input.
For audio features, the TV includes built-in speakers (with a 10 Watt stereo amp), Virtual Surround to create a more spacious soundstage, and both digital and analog audio outputs. The analog outputs are variable in level (not fixed), so, even if you are using the TV with an external receiver or processor, you'll need to make sure to have the volume on the TV turned up around halfway. The speakers can be turned on or off in the menu. Oddly, the "surround" processing (when enabled in the menu) also effects the line level audio outputs. This led to some funky sound when we fed this virtual surround-processed signal to our surround processor for decoding in Dolby Pro Logic. If you are using the TV with an outboard home theater system, then make sure "surround" is set to OFF.
The digital audio output (Toslink fiber optic) is active only when you are using the set's internal ATSC TV tuner. It allows you to pass 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround sound to your home theater receiver or processor when the programming includes it.
The remote is fairly basic, but functional, and easy to get used to. It is a "universal" model, in that it is also capable of controlling a DVD player, VCR and/or cable box. It does not include backlighting, and many buttons are similarly sized, so it's not exceptionally easy to use in the dark. But once your fingers know where the right buttons are, you'll be able to get around pretty easily.
The set-up menus are simple and straightforward. I was able to get in, get some basic picture controls tweaked, and get my local SD and HD channels added within a few minutes of opening the box, without referring to the manual. We also have a Syntax-Brillian LCD TV in for review, and I must say the Vizio's GUI, while less fancy than that of the Syntax, is far more intuitive.
The Vizio also offers a rudimentary built-in HDTV program guide - hit the "guide" button on the remote, when viewing an ATSC channel on the TV's built-in tuner and it will show you a list of the current and upcoming shows on the channel for the next several hours.
The L42's integrated program guide shows you what's coming up on the channel you're watching.
The only complaint I could raise in terms of the menus is that the TV does not offer independent red/green/blue "gains" and "cuts" (which are nice for calibration). It does offer red, green and blue level adjustment so I was able to get the color temperature pretty close to 6500°K, and get good color accuracy and decent contrast using the new SpyderTV Pro colorimeter and software.
The L42's "normal" color temperature setting is remarkably close to NTSC standard 6500�.
When I took this set home for review, plugged it in and set it down in front of our Loewe 38-inch Aconda 9383 CRT HDTV, my wife was not pleased. She's become spoiled by arguably one of the best HDTV pictures in the business, and the Vizio just couldn't match its picture quality. Of course the Vizio is also four inches larger, includes a flat screen, weighs less than half as much as the Loewe, and sells for roughly 1/4 the price of the Loewe, but that didn't pacify her (her opinion softened over time, I might add, particularly after proper calibration).
As with all of the TVs we test, the Vizio definitely needs adjustment out of the box. The backlighting setting is high so it will "pop" on the showroom floor, but this only accentuates LCD's inherent flaws (motion trails, graininess and poor black levels). Cut that down to somewhere between 15 and 30 (depending on your room's ambient lighting conditions) and most of these digital nasties will disappear or become less apparent. Take the time (and spend a little money) to calibrate the set using a good calibration DVD like Avia Guide to Home Theater or a tool like SpyderTV, or SpyderTV Pro. It will turn an image that is marginally viewable to something that is actually quite acceptable.
Some content definitely looks better than other content on the Vizio. HD-DVD Movies on our Toshiba HD-XA1 looked excellent, with phenomenal detail and excellent color rendition. But live broadcast HDTV signals, particularly sports, seemed to look even better. Game 7 of the National League baseball championships ended badly for us Mets fans, but it was almost bearable to watch on the Vizio, with detail up the wazoo, and bright crisp colors.
Standard definition content on the Vizio is soft (as expected) but, with the TV properly calibrated, even SDTV was eminently watchable on the set. Not as sharp or detailed as on the Loewe CRT, but certainly as good as or better than other comparably priced LCD TV models.
DVD Movies coming in via a standard component video input at 480p resolution did display visible scan lines, even from 10-12 feet away. The scaler inside this set is decent, but not as good as the one in our Toshiba HD-DVD player. The set definitely benefits from an external video processor or high-quality up-converting DVD player. But hey, with the money you save on the set, you'll be able to afford those.
The more time I spent with the Vizio L42, the more I liked it. It was a solid performer, with a straightforward, intuitive ergonomic design, pleasing aesthetics and solid picture performance. Its most likely competition actually comes from Vizio itself with their comparably priced 42-inch plasma HDTV model (P42HDTV). And each has its advantages. If you're viewing in a light-controlled darkened environment, the plasma gets the nod in picture quality, including perceived contrast and color saturation. But if you want a strong all-around performer, with plenty of features and inputs, for use in a fairly bright environment, then the L42 is definitely worth checking out.
Where to But Vizio HDTVs online:Specifications from the Manufacturer:
• Panel: 42" diagonal, 16:9 Widescreen, Active Matrix TFT Liquid Crystal Display
• Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
• 30-bit color depth supports 16.7 million colors
• Viewing angle: 178°
• PIP (Picture in Picture) and POP (side-by-side)
• Rated Lamp Life: 50,000 Hours
• Stand: Included
• Signal Compatibility: 480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV)
• Response Time: 8ms
• Brightness: 500 cd/m2 typical
• Contrast: 800:1 typical
• Viewing Angle: 178° (horizontal/vertical)
• Tuners: NTSC Analog TV, ATSC HDTV off-air Digital TV and clear QAM
• digital cable
• Inputs: 1x RF (F Connector for internal ATSC/QAM/NTSC Tuner)
• 2x HDMI with HDCP plus Stereo Analog Audio
• 2x Component YPbPr plus Stereo Audio
• 2x Composite Video / 1x S-Video plus Stereo Audio
• 1x Analog RGB plus Stereo Audio
• Outputs: 1x SPDIF Digital Audio
• 1x Stereo Analog Audio
• Speakers: 2 x 10 W
• Dimensions (without stand): 28.81in (H) x 41.26in (W) x 4.29in (D)
• Dimensions (with stand): 29.84in (H) x 41.26in (W) x 11.42in (D)
• Net Weight: 73.33 lbs (33.2 kg) with stand
• MSRP: $1399.99
What's In the Box:
• L42 - 42" LCD HDTV
• Remote Control (VUR4)
• A/V Cable
• Power Cord
• Screen Cleaning Cloth
• Registration Card
• VIP Services Brochure
• Manual PDF
• Quick Start Guide
Manufacturer's Contact Information:
320A Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Toll Free: 888 VIZIO CE (888.849.4623)
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