Vizio has carved out a substantial chunk of market share in just a few short years, and exposure to a number of their HDTV models has me impressed with the firm’s overall attention to detail and the impressive price-performance ratios their TVs typically offer. This latest 47-inch 1080p HDTV is at the top of the company’s LCD range and comes with the 120Hz double-rate screen refresh feature that seeks to improve picture detail with moving images, a traditional weakness of LCD flat panel technology.
Consider this HDTV if:
you’re looking for a full featured 120Hz 1080p 47-inch LCD HDTV that is very affordable. The Vizio can be configured to put out a very good-looking picture (see our Recommended Settings), and the 120Hz Cinema Motion feature does appreciably smooth out film judder (but not without occasional artifacts).
Look elsewhere if:
you can scrounge up an extra $100 and choose instead VIZIO’s excellent 50-inch 1080p VP505XVT plasma HDTV (Playback Recommended)—a superior performer in almost every way, with a great-looking high-def picture that you can only get from plasma.
Overall picture quality (SD): 7
Overall picture quality (HD): 7
User interface: 7
• 120Hz double-rate screen refresh and full 1080p resolution is what sets this model apart from other VIZIO offerings in the size range—47 inches is at present the largest size that VIZIO offers in the LCD category.
• The VIZIO’s Smooth Motion feature seeks to eliminate film judder, and does so fairly well, as long as there are not a lot of quick edits in the program. With numerous quick edits, the feature introduces some noticeable artifacts that may be bothersome to some. VIZIO does provide three levels of processing, however, and you may find the minimum setting provides the best balance of smoothing with the least amount of artifacts.
• There are other features that the VIZIO offers to help improve image quality, such as the Advanced Adaptive Luma feature, which tweaks the average picture level (overall image brightness, according to the scene) to help ameliorate black crush and poor dark gray detail, the most common failing of LCD flat panels. But here the feature doesn’t do much to improve darker scene legibility and serves more to punch up the brightness of brightly lit scenes, which at a middling backlight setting wasn’t really necessary.
• Well equipped considering its relatively modest price, the Vizio has 4 HDMI inputs as well as two component inputs for a total of six HD inputs. Two of the HDMI inputs are on the side connector panel, which features one of the component inputs in addition to a standard composite/stereo audio trio.
• The RGB PC input will accept a range of input resolutions, all the way up to full 1920x1080 at 60Hz, which will certainly appeal to PC gamers as well as those who want the sharpest big-screen web-surfing experience.
• The Vizio also features stereo analog audio outputs as well as an optical digital audio output, so you can connect the set to an external audio system (which we always recommend).
• Overall, the Vizio scores very well in the connectivity department for a set in its price range.
On Screen Display
• Occupying a spot on the left side of the screen, the VIZIO’s on screen display has a logical layout and organization of sub-groups. The fine print at the bottom of each adjustment that describes what the adjustment affects is a tad smaller than it should be for legibility when one sits farther back from the set. Of course, the highlight color is VIZIO orange—no surprise there.
• I do like that the menu doesn’t run and hide after just a few seconds between button presses, and that applies to the adjustment controls as well.
• While the VIZIO’s slim and slender remote has backlighting, it only serves to illuminate the cursor ring and ENTER button in the middle when any button is pressed (the backlight color is orange, of course). Other important buttons around the cursor ring as well as buttons above the number keypad feature tiny, barely legible fonts on the gloss black plastic keypad surface, which will have you scrambling for reading glasses and a flashlight if adjustments in a darkened room may be needed until you’ve fully memorized which button is where after prolonged usage.
• One plus that the VIZIO’s remote has going for it is semi-direct input selection, with a quartet of input buttons at the top, including HDMI, Component, A/V and TV. While the TV button is obviously a direct function, the other three toggle between each of their respective input types—a big plus over remotes that only provide a single toggling Source button.
Picture Mode: Custom
HD size (1:1 pixel-to-pixel): Wide
Color Temperature: Normal
Color Enhancement: Off
Advanced Adaptive Luma: Off
Smooth Motion: Low (if artifacts are bothersome, turn it off)