Last year, Vizio’s earliest 3DTV models dabbled a bit with active-shutter 3D glasses technology, but the firm has quickly dropped that format in favor of passive polarized 3D and now offer passive 3D HDTVs in screen sizes from 32” up to the top-line 65” reviewed here.
Part of their Razor LED edgelit 3D line, the XVT3D650SV comes with built-in high speed Wi-Fi and a remote control that includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a fairly broad range of built-in apps with more that can be downloaded from the cloud.
Consider this HDTV if: you’re after a big-screen 3D HDTV, but don’t want to pay the higher prices that other brands charge for a similar screen size
Look elsewhere if: You’re looking for the best 3D performance, as this Vizio uses passive polarized glasses technology, and not the better-performing active shutter 3D glasses format
Ratings (relative to comparably-equipped LED HDTVs):
• Overall picture quality (HD+3D): 7
• Features: 9
• Connectivity: 9
• User interface: 8
• Value: 10
The Vizio features LED edgelighting with local dimming (32 zones), which allows the internal video processor to bump up brighter portions of the image and darken dimmer scene elements. The main benefit here is blacker blacks, and while the deep blacks are really still dark grays and not 100% black, the improvement in contrast compared to conventional LCD screens with now nearly obsolete CCFL backlighting is quite dramatic.
Like other passive 3D TVs, the Vizio’s screen features a special type of polarizing film layer called Frame Pattern Retarder, which slices up horizontal progressively scanned lines into alternating fields, each with polarization (or optical orientation) to match the polarization characteristics of the passive 3D glasses (four pairs are packed with the set).
The benefits of passive polarized 3D are two-fold: The glasses themselves are relatively inexpensive compared to active shutter 3D glasses, and they never need recharging or battery replacement as do active types.
The downside to passive FPR-based 3D is that vertical resolution is essentially cut in half, while scan lines become clearly visible. There’s also a fairly tightly defined vertical viewing angle “window”, and Vizio deserves credit for describing the proper placement and orientation of the set relative to the viewers on their website and in the manual, with clear graphics and text that gets the message across.
The set comes with smart TV functionality, which provides for movie and TV show streaming via a number of popular subscription services, including Netflix, Amazon On Demand, Blockbuster On Demand, Vudu and Hulu Plus, as well as subscription music streaming via Rhapsody, and Internet radio via Pandora (which requires a free subscription). Other apps are included and there are more that can be acquired via the cloud.
There’s a wired LAN connection as well as built-in dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi, and the XVT3D650SV ships with a nifty remote that includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Perhaps one of these days I’ll be able to award an HDTV with a perfect “10” for connectivity, but not for this Vizio. Instead, they’ll have to settle for a “9”, which is still an excellent score. The set has five HDMI inputs (one or two more than the usual), and supports analog video via an HD component input that can alternatively be used as a composite video input if necessary. There’s an RGB PC input that supports up to full 1920x1080 HD resolution (with a companion 3.5mm stereo audio input) and there are three USB ports at the top of the side input jack panel.
The set has built-in dual band 802.11n high speed Wi-Fi, which is a big plus, and there’s also an RJ-45 LAN connector for a direct Ethernet hookup. An optical digital output is supplemented by a stereo audio L/R output, but there’s no 3.5mm stereo headphone output—if there was, the set would have received that coveted “10” connectivity score.
On Screen Display
This Vizio sports a newly re-designed on screen display that occupies roughly one third of the screen from top to bottom, on the left hand side of the screen image. Whenever it is activated, the main screen image is squeezed to fit in the remaining two thirds of the screen area, which means that the user can make adjustments and yet still see the full screen image. That’s a cool feature, as most other OSD designs obscure at least some of the screen image when they’re called up.