Archive for category Vizio

Collection of Vizio VO47L HDTV Reviews

Vizio VO47L Tilted SidewaysThe Vizio VO47L Remote Control

I’ve put together a large collection of owner reviews from the AVS Forums Vo47LF thread, so there’s no need to cull through 15 pages of questions, troubleshooting, etc to see the reviews. Reviews are after the break.

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2008′s Vizio 47-inch LCD VO47L to Replace 2007′s GV47LF

It’s a new year, and along with it Vizio has introduced its 2008 LCDs. How much of an update is this year’s 47-inch 1080p LCD, the VO47L, over 2007′s GV47LF? There are few nice tweaks, but not enough to call it a major update.

Vizio added two more HDMI inputs for a total of four on the VO47L, as opposed to two on 2007′s GV47LF. Also, the VO47L comes with a 6-foot HDMI cable, a nice consumer-friendly touch from Vizio.

Vizio also updated the TV’s look. The VO47L now has black speakers along its undercarriage as opposed to the awkward silver look from last year’s GV47LF. A very smart design move. Although it now appears the speakers are no longer detachable.

Compare the pictures below:

2008′s VO47L:

Vizio VO47L 1080p LCD HDTV

2007′s GV47LF:

Vizio GV52LF 2

However, a big disappointment is an apparent lack of picture improvement for the 2008 model. The technical specs from Vizio’s site has the contrast ratio staying the same at 2000:1 contrast ratio (with DCR). Contrast ratio was one of the biggest weaknesses from last year’s model, so it’s a little surprising they didn’t choose to improve it. Until CNET gets around to reviewing the unit, potential buyers should probably check out reviews of last year’s GV47LF. Also, check out the V047L thread on the AVS Forums. New owners will report their reviews and problems there.

There are reports the VO47L is selling now in some Costco stores for $1,399. Other Costsco stores are reportedly holding back until they clear current inventory (probably the GV47LF). Vizio.com has the manufacturer’s price at $1,499. That is a lot less than last year’s GV47LF’s starting price of $1799.

*Update* I’ve gathered together customer reviews for the VO47L from the AVS forums here. There’s also a CNET review of television.

Links:

Official Vizio page for the VO47LF Evolution.

VO47L thread on AVS Forums.

EngadgetHD news blurb about all the new Vizios.

Black Friday: 52″ 1080p Vizio for $1900 at Sam’s Club

Vizio GV52LF 2The Vizio GV52L is on sale at Sam’s Club for Black Friday for $1890 (link). That is only $110 less than its price at launch when it had a $200 off coupon. I think they can do better than that. The 42″ Sharp Aqous for $900 is a much, much better deal. That is a great television.

Check out Costco’s Black Friday deals. They are offering a 47″ Philips 1080p TV for $1,499.

It is a great time to buy a television. Of course, things will always get cheaper, and better televisions are always being made. But the quality of even the cheap televisions is enough to satisfy most people.


The Nintendo Wii on the Vizio GV47LF

Wii ConsoleIf you’re wondering how the graphics of the Nintendo Wii fare on a large HDTV like the 47″ Vizio, I can tell you, they look…..eh, ok. I purchased the Wii because it’s supposedly the best of the new consoles in terms of sheer entertainment. The functionality of the controllers gives games a wider range of gameplay and allows players to get more involved in the game.

The Wii is capable of pumping out widescreen 480p, the same as a DVD. You need to buy a special cable for 480p, otherwise, the Wii outputs 480i. I think the cable is worth the price for the extra clarity a progressive signal brings to the LCD. Many of the Wii’s early games are ports of early Gamecube games, and thus carry previous gen graphics. For example, the best game so far for the Wii (in my opinion) is Resident Evil IV. The game has been ported from the Gamecube edition. The game looks grainy on my screen, even at viewing distances of 8 feet. In contrast, Warioware: Smooth Moves, a game made specifically for the Wii, looks sharp and clean, mainly due to its cartoony graphics and bright palette of colors.


So far, the Wii has been an average entertainment experience, mainly because of the lack of great games. But the potential is obviously there, in terms of gameplay. Graphics for the console haven’t been pushed to the limit yet. But, the ceiling will always be 480p. If you want cutting edge graphics, of course you should go with the 360. But if you want to get the whole family involved or entertain a lot, the Wii is a good choice, even for large HDTV owners.

*Update* Check out Part II of my take on the Wii on my HDTV (I included better pictures).

Wii Picture 2

Wii Picture 3Wii Picture 1


Initial Vizio GV52L Reviews Are Coming In

52.jpgThe Vizio 52-inch 1080p LCD officially went on sale yesterday. Initial reviews are coming in from buyers who are posting on the AVS forum. I found an excellent review from forum user TheKal that seems the most genuine and well written—the review hits on all the important pros and cons I’ve noted with my GV47LF. There are lots of relevant details here for people choosing between the GV47LF and the GV52L. I’ll repost the review here, but I highly recommend checking out the latest posts on the GV52L forums. From TheKal:

“Well I am the previous owner of a GV47. I owned for almost a full 90 days however I returned it as I had a VERY uneven backlight with severe clouding and streaks during night time viewing in dark scenes. I have been looking at several HDTV’s for a while now so I feel I am pretty well qualified to describe the new Vizio. I have Time Warner digital cable and Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player.

First off, this thing is HUGE. I didn’t realize how overkill it was until I put it up on my wall. It looks monstrously bigger than the 47 I would have never thought 5″ would do so much. I am viewing this TV at about 10 feet eye ball to screen and while it is the perfect size picture for watching HD movies it is too big in my opinion for watching SD material. I will be playing with the zoom feature and will probably be watching SD material shrunk down to a more enjoyable size as SD material has tremendous artifacting and pixilation at this size and viewing distance. I don’t know how much of this can be improved on by the TV as I really think this is just a result of digital cable at 480 lines with a lot of compression. At 52″ and 10 feet you really see the quality of the source material as even HD cable looks far more noisy and artifacted than a real high definition disk where those 1080 vertical lines makes a huge difference on this big a set. IF you own this set and you do not own a HD DVD or Blu Ray player you are robbing yourself from the experience of this TV as everything else looks so overblown up and pixilated.


Anyway, the GV52 has significantly better sound quality than the GV47. We are talking night and day difference. GV52 probably has one of the best speaker setups of anything built into a flat panel on the market. The blacks on the GV52 are quite noticeably darker and blacker. I feel the picture is richer and more saturated looking giving it better depth and color intensity. I popped in the HD DVD version of Training Day, the picture was stunning in all the bright scenes, and as good as anything, you can find on the market. The black is absolutely an improvement over the GV47 however when watching the TV in the dark it is still not a true black but still a dark grey even with the backlight at 0 and the brightness/contrast turned down a few clicks. GV52 still lacks the ability to produce the deep blacks of Sharp or Samsung. On a brighter note, however the back light uniformity on my set is picture perfect from corner to corner in a pitch-dark room with a black screen. No clouding in the corners at all. I made sure to transport the set upright the entire time so this may have something to do with it. Unfortunately as mentioned earlier in the dark scenes, there does seem to be considerable shadow detail that is lost and there are plenty of these scenes in training day. The blacks appear to be a bit over saturated and I would love to hear any tuning adjustments from future guru’s to improve on this drawback as it is really the only flaw I can find with the TV PQ. So far, in playing with adjustments, the only way I can bring the shadow detail back is to turn up the brightness and contrast to where the TV looks washed out and the blacks are significantly greyer. This may make or break it for some people if you can live with the lack of shadow detail against black backgrounds this is a tremendous value for the money. I really hope some of the guys in here come up with some settings to clean up this problem as much as possible.


HDMI connectivity has been perfect and the on screen menu is far superior to that of the GV47. Overall, the set for sure has an overall newer generation look and feel about it. There are independent adjustments to move the picture left right up and down. By the way I also noticed the white bar noise at the top of the screen when I had the Cable DVR set to up convert SD to 1080i. Go into the DVR/Cable box settings and have it force SD programming to 480p and you will not have this problem and this will also unlock all the picture modes for SD 4:3 programming built in. If you are still unable to fix this problem, you can always shift the image up.

Anyway, so far this is my input if anybody has any questions I’d be happy to answer them I know there is many excited prospective buyers out there looking for some owner insight.

FYI there is no speaker hum whatsoever however; there is backlight buzz when the backlight is set less than 90. I really feel this is inherent in all Vizio’s due to the type of transformer they use to modulate the backlight. Bummer but it seems to be the way it is. On the brighter side, the PQ with a 90 backlight is much better than it was on the GV47, which would wash out with so much backlight so in most room lighting you will be more than happy with the backlight at 90 PQ.”


GV52L Will Go On Sale August 20, 2007

52.jpgMore info is coming out for the GV52L HDTV. It will go on sale August 20, 2007 at a Costco near you for $2,000+tax ($2,200 manufacturer’s price – $200 coupon). That’s $400 more than the GV47LF (since I own the GV47LF, my perspective is from a comparison point of view). This new Vizio 52 inch HDTV has a few upgrades from the 47. First is a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio compared with the 47′s 800:1 typical contrast ratio. Not really that impressive, but any gain is good in that category. The 52 also features 4 HDMI inputs compared with 2 HDMI inputs with the 47. Two more HDMI inputs is not a big deal for me, but as more and more devices go HDMI, it could save you the cost of an HDMI switcher or other similar devices.

I don’t envy the person trying to make a choice between the two televisions. At first glance, the $400 price difference is a big motivator to go with the GV47LF. And, I’ll also wager there will be a GV47LF price cut for the NFL season, or maybe Black Friday or the Holidays. But then again, 52 inches of 1080p television is pretty glorious. In the end, I don’t think you could go wrong either way, and it all depends on what the difference between $2,000 and $1,600 means to you.

Helpful links:


What Are The Best Settings for the GV47LF: Part II

Gallevia

Review site Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity just posted an excellent review of the GV47LF. The reviewer used Datacolor Colorfacts professional calibrating equipment to calibrate the television. So any owners of the GV47LF should head on over there and check out the entire the review for tips on getting the best picture from the television. I can say their suggesting settings improved my viewing experience.

Their suggested calibrated settings for the Vizio GV47LF:

  • Red: 133
  • Green: 126
  • Blue: 106

Their suggested advanced picture adjust settings for the GV47LF:

  • DNR: Off
  • Black Level Extender: On
  • White Peak Limiter: On
  • CTI: Off
  • Flesh Tone: On
  • Dynamic Backlight: AI
  • Adaptive Luma: On

I’ve been messing around with the backlighting settings on the television, and I’ve come to the conclusion that leaving the dynamic backlight setting on AI is the best way to go, whether you’re in a well-lit room or in a dark room. I’ve found that turning off dynamic backlighting in the advanced settings and adjusting the manual backlight to a low setting (less than 40) tends to make dark scenes murky, and can turn a bright sunny scene into an overcast day. If you use the above settings and dynamic backlight on AI, you’ll get the best compromise of black levels and vivid colors that this TV has to offer. You’ll also have more peace of mind by not having to fiddle with the television anymore, knowing the settings are from a professional calibration.

*Update* I’ve been using these settings for months now, and I am still totally happy with the picture in all lighting settings. I have not touched the settings nor plan on touching them any time in the future. Again, I recommend viewing your Vizio GV47LF in dimly lit rooms–avoid total darkness.

*Update II* Please note that picture settings for each input (broadcast TV, component, HDMI, etc) must be changed while in that mode–they do not replicate across all inputs. See my post on the subject.

*Update III* My GV47LF developerd a buzz sound (out of warranty, of course) that was produced from having the dynamic backlight set to AI. I have now changed it to On (this solves the buzzing problem while maintaining the bright, vivid picture the dynamic backlight provides). I have also messed around with the other picture settings and find that reducing the brightness to 47-50 and having contrast cranked up to 90-100 helps increase the black levels.

Upcoming Vizio GV52L and Sony KDS-50A3000

Vizio will be releasing a new 52-inch 1080p LCD soon, rumored to arrive sometime in August 2007. If you’re considering the GV47LF and can afford to throw a littlle more cash toward a television, it might be wise to hold off until you see some technical specs for the GV52L.

There are rumors on the AVSforum that the 52-inch will not be much of a step forward. Of particular note will be whether the 52-incher improves upon the GV47LF’s 800:1 contrast ratio (its base, or “typical,” ratio). If it does not, I would recommend going with the much cheaper 47, or even look elsewhere for a TV with deeper blacks.

Link to the AVS forum discussion: GV52L anticipation discussion.



Also arriving in late August to early September will be Sony’s 50-inch SXRD, the KDS-50A3000 for around $2499. It will have much deeper black levels than current Vizios, and all-in-all, looks like a pretty sweet television for the price. However, these kinds of televisions require a lamp replacement every 8,000 hours or so to the tune of $250. Probably not a television for the bargain hunter in you. (See picture of the SXRD below.)

SXRD


My GV47LF Review: Worth Every Penny

GV47L Front Perspective

I made the plunge into the world of high definition television and purchased the GV47LF. Here is my review:

Intro

The GV47LF is a huge bargain and a great intro for first-time HDTV owners. It comes with an HDTV tuner built in and speakers (which are detachable). I am completely satisfied with the purchase. The TV works great and the overall picture quality is excellent–way beyond the standard definition experience. I am blown away by high-def television.  There were no bright or missing pixels and no mechanical problems out of the box whatsoever. This is the perfect, stress-free HDTV for any regular Joe who wants a huge 1080p HDTV but doesn’t want to go broke buying it.

In-depth Review

Now, let’s get into some details. The box the TV comes in is huge. Make sure you have a big SUV or a truck if you are purchasing it at Costco. The box was approx 4 x 3 x 1. Once unpacked and set on top of my TV stand, the TV looked much bigger than it did in the store. At first, I thought the TV was going to be too big, but now I am happy with the size, as the picture still looks great (unpixelated) at my ~8 feet viewing distance, even with 480i broadcasts.

Box

Big Box

I like how the TV looks. The black piano gloss gives the TV a finished “expensive” appearance, and the silver speakers give it weight and don’t look cheap or gaudy (although I do think the TV would look better without the speakers, which can be detached). I especially like the text in the center of the speakers that reads, “Gallevia. 1080 Progressive Liquid Crystal HDTV.” The font used for the text gives it a nice touch of stylish detail.

GV47LF Gallevia close up 2

Vizio stylin’

The glowing “Vizio” in the center of the bottom bezel was handled well. It dims to a pale white after a few seconds of brightness when you turn the television on. When the television is off, the text glows orange. I probably would rather a more basic color, like dark blue, but that’s nitpicking. They are sticking with one of their branding colors, Vizio orange, which I completely understand. The glowing symbol is not gaudy or dominating in the least. The orange glow is barely visible in normal lighting; you wouldn’t notice without looking for it. It only stands out in a dark room.


The touch controls on the right of the bottom bezel briefly glow orange when you turn the TV on, then fade to no lighting. Some might wonder why the controls don’t have the same faint lighting of the Vizio text, but it makes sense to me because most people don’t want any distractions. The fact that the remote control that comes with TV has backlighting limits the need for the controls on the TV to glow. Just don’t lose the remote!

The touch controls are a very cool. The text and symbols are beneath the surface and do not interrupt the smoothness of the bezel, giving the TV clean lines with minimal visual distractions.

HD looks awesome on the television. I went from a 24-inch Insignia CRT to this screen, and my jaw dropped to the ground when I viewed HD in my living room for the first time. I had seen HD in stores and elsewhere before, but it’s a different thing all together when you get the TV home in your own environment. 720p signals at a vewing distance of 8 feet looks crisp and perfect, there is no pixelation, as would be expected. At the time of this review, I have only viewed 720p and 1080i signals on the television.

DVDs look crisp in 480p (with component cables) and do not appear pixelated at a viewing distance of 8 feet. The big weakness of the TV are black levels, but I want to point out that even though I will talk a lot about the black levels, I find them not to detract much form the overall viewing experience. However, it is noticeable, even to my amateur eye. Any time the screen fades to black or there is a scene that is almost entirely dark, the GV47LF shows black as ghostly black-grey, not black. There is also clouding, which is an unevenness to the blackness on the screen, displaying clouds or splotches of lighter shades. This was noticeable several times on Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The weak black levels are most noticeable if you like to watch movies in completely dark rooms. It’s recommended you keep at least a low level of ambient light (turn on a single lamp with a dimmed setting), especially during movies with dark lighting or lots of space scenes. Check out my post of the best settings for the GV47LF or view CNET’s recommended dark room picture settings for help in improving the picture in to dim to dark lighting.

GV47LF Remote

It’s not remotely bad


Before I bought the television, I heard a lot of complaints about the remote. I think it’s fine. There is a lot of space between the buttons, so that basically makes up for the small size of the channel and volume buttons (see picture above). I find the commonly used buttons (channels and volume) easy to find without looking. It is also a “universal” control with programming for VCR, cable, and DVD players. Of course, if you have the cash, I’m sure there are plenty of better controllers for your money.

GV47LF Small Text

Time to see the eye doctor?

Another complaint is the small text of the Vizio’s menu. At eight feet, I have problems reading the text and have to approach the television to be able to read the settings. A small annoyance that seems like it should be easily fixed. Come on Vizio, just increase those font sizes!

There is an “info” button which allows you to see what signal is going into the television (1080i, 720p, etc), but the text is likewise hard to read.

Input

Vizio adds another touch of class by including a microfiber cloth to keep all the accidental smudges clean from your television. Whatever you do, don’t use Windex (you can damage your screen).

Cloth1Cloth2

 

Keep your Vizio dust free

The detachable speakers deliver adequate sound. They are loud enough for everyday living rooms, even those complete with loud ambient noise (kids playing in the next room). For those who have their own sound system, the speakers are detachable via a screwdriver.

Conclusion:

There is very little to complain about with this television. High definition content is delivered beautifully with bright colors and no motion blurring. 480p DVD signals are also displayed crisp and clear. Clouding and black levels are the biggest con of the television, but are acceptable with a little tweaking. The screen is huge for those who sit 7-10 feet away from their TV. Anything above 50 inches would seem redundant and perhaps detrimental to the HD viewing experience. And you can’t beat the current $1,599 price at Costco with a 90 day return policy. This is the perfect television for 1080p hunters who are looking for a bargain.

More pictures of my TV below.

GV47LF Front

GV47LF Down Low

GV47L Side View GV47LF


Vizio GV47LF and the Vizio VP50HDTV at Costco

I just got back from my second trip to the Chicago Costco to check out the HDTVs. They had a fresh batch of the 50-inch Vizio plasmas (CNET review) sitting on the floor. I saw a guy at checkout with one on a pallet hauling it to his car, so at least one person must think it’s a better deal than the GV47LF. Not me though.

I got a second look at the GV47LF in action. This time they had a much better HDTV source running into the TV, and it looked really good. I would have bought it on the spot except I don’t have a car. I’m trying to get my buddy to help me haul it home. I asked at the help desk if Costco would deliver the TV to my apartment, and the young woman said local warehouses don’t deliver, but if I bought online and had it shipped, I’d get cheaper sales tax than Chicago’s 9%, and that would help make up the difference. So, I went home and did the math. Nope, no deal. Online is $150 in shipping and $109 in sales tax ($260 total) versus just $150 in sales tax at the store. Bad information.