On Screen Display
Quite a bit improved from earlier Vizio designs, this latest effort features a snazzier GUI, with a crisp design and sensible sub-menu groupings. The picture adjustment windows stay on screen and don’t scoot away after just a few settings, which is a boon during setup. Calling up the Vizio’s Internet apps presents options arrayed along the bottom of the screen, and one of the choices goes directly to the set’s picture adjustment sub-menu.
There’s also a single combo knob/pushbutton discretely positioned at the lower left rear corner of the set that Vizio calls Jag control which replaces the typical half dozen or so control buttons on the set itself, but without the actual remote control, you’ll find yourself cursing and swearing in extremely short order if the Jag control is all you have to maneuver around the myriad OSD screen menus.
You’ll either love this remote or hate it. It’s certainly a unique and novel design, and features a smartphone-like slide out QWERTY keyboard that Twitter fans will appreciate. Evaluated by itself (and ignoring the slide out keyboard) the remote doesn’t have much going for it at all. There’s no backlighting, and new owners will be reaching for their reading glasses to make out the rather small text on some of the function buttons before they become familiar with the quite cramped layout.
But there’s good news as well, considering that the remote can send commands to the set by the conventional infrared method or instead via the built-in Bluetooth RF function, which is necessary for use of the slide out keyboard. At the time of installation, the set and the remote get all Bluetooth cozy with each other automatically and in a jiffy, and from that point the remote can be used without the need to point it towards the set (helpful when you’re holding the remote under a nearby table lamp to find the button you want).
Bluetooth functionality also provides for connections to other devices such as wireless headphones, which is a nice touch, as it allows options such as wireless music listening to Pandora Internet radio, for example. The remote also features universal control capability, and can be configured to control a wide range of ancillary devices in your home entertainment system.
The Vizio features different picture setting memories for each input, which will require some extra time during setup, but that does allow for individual tweaking for each specific source. You should also note that, as with some other LED backlit local dimming sets, adjusting one of some of the parameters can have an ancillary effect on some others, which may make for a fair amount of back-and-forth, trial-and-error tweaking until things adjusted are to your satisfaction.
• Color: 40
• Tint: 0
• Sharpness: 3
• Picture Mode: Movie
• HD size (pixel-to-pixel): Normal
• Noise Reduction: Low
• Color Temperature: Normal
• Color Enhancement: Off
• Advanced Adaptive Luma: Off
• Smart Dimming: On
• Smooth Motion: Low
• Film Mode: Auto
• Real Cinema Mode: Smooth
• Ambient Light Sensor: Off
Blu-ray Evaluation: Blood Ties (4-Disc Set, 22-Episode Series)
To quench the thirst, so to speak, of the legions of vampire watchers out there, this Canadian crime drama set in Toronto features a nice Blu-ray transfer, with a crisp and pleasing picture. The opening title credits are nicely bright and quite detailed against the darkly lit nighttime scenes that dominate the show.
At the Vizio’s default middle (50) Color setting, and with the Color Enhancement turned off, the color saturation is still way too much. Trimming the Color setting back (as recommended, above) puts things to right, with more realistic flesh tones.
Unlike say HBO’s True Blood, which has oodles of daytime scenes, this series adheres more closely to a realistic vampire milieu, as the episodes are almost totally dominated by nighttime scenes, where the Vizio excels at delivering excellent deep blacks.