Blu-ray Evaluation: Status Quo – Pictures
This live concert at the Montreux Jazz Fesitval features numerous close-ups of the two lead guitarists/singers’ beaten and battered Telecaster guitars. The Vizio’s excellent 1080i deinterlacing presents the guitar strings jaggies-free, which can be a problem with standard-grade video processors. 1080i test patterns confirm the Vizio’s very good HD deinterlacing.
At the default setting, the color saturation is a bit rich, even in the preferred Movie mode. Turning it down somewhat makes for more natural looking flesh tones.
Excellent deep blacks, thanks to the LED backlighting and local dimming system. Here the Vizio delivers sumptuous deep blacks that rival the better plasma HDTV sets.
Close-up shots of the performers on stage combine brightly lit images along with darker areas at the back and sides of the stage. The Vizio has no problem providing a clear picture that includes very good delineation of scene elements that are very dark.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Trauma (NBC)
With the Vizio’s picture size set to Full (that’s their native 1:1 pixel mode), this crisply shot medical drama comes across with excellent detail.
While the Vizo’s Movie mode is the best of the available picture mode choices (and that’s usually the case with other HDTV brands), the default color saturation level is still a little on the hot side, which can produce overly exaggerated flesh tones. When dialed back a few notches, the actors’ skin tones are very realistic, while other colors have just the right amount of “pop,” with no need for extra color “push” via the Vizio’s Color Enhancement feature. That feature may help with older programs that appear faded, however.
The Advanced Adaptive Luma function seeks to tone down the overall brightness with brightly lit scenes. I found it unnecessary, as with the feature turned off, the Vizio delivers excellent deep blacks and with the Movie mode and the backlighting set roughly midway, bright images were vivid, but not excessively so.
A nighttime scene involving a pleasure boat crashing into a party boat in the San Francisco bay has lots of darkly lit shots of the skyline and waterfront, which the Vizio does a great job with, exhibiting no black crush.
At 55” and a suggested list of $2,200, the Vizio is the champion value leader in the premium HDTV LCD flat panel tier. While it technically isn’t a true 240 Hz set (due to the 120 Hz black frame insertion as opposed to true 240 Hz interpolation), the motion sharpening and film smoothing functions work quite well. It also does a very good job of SD and HD deinterlacing, on par with the better performing sets out there.
It also isn’t an LED TV either (but then, other set makers that provide LED edgelighting or LED backlighting with their LCD flat panels claim that their sets are LED TVs), but as the Vizio combines LED backlighting with local dimming, it qualifies as a top end set and produces an eminently watchable picture.