"Not many bells and whistles, just a great picture"4.5 starson by PhillyBoy919
Pros: - Picture is bright and sharp
- Accurate colors
- Solid black-levels for a non-LED LCD
- 4 HDMI inputs
- 120Hz refresh keeps sports and action scenes clear
- TV itself has an attractive, minimalist design
- Very affordable
Cons: - No extras such as Internet, apps, LED back-lighting, or 3D
- Picture adjustment options are fairly basic
- Can only play JPEG images through USB port...no movies.
- Black levels will still be lighter than LED or Plasma
Summary: It recently came time for me to upgrade my living room TV. I had a 55" HD (1080i) rear-projection Mitsubishi. The screen was exhibiting some burn-in of vertical side bars (from viewing non-HD content) and it was driving me nuts. I was looking for a 46-47" flat panel in the $800 - $1000 range. Advanced options such as 3D, apps, and Internet connectivity weren't a concern; I have a PS3 to hook up to it and an Apple TV on-order, and have no interest in 3D (glasses...really?).
After evaluating a few options that fit my criteria from Samsung, Phillips, Sony, LG, and Vizio I ended up choosing this one because it offered the best overall value/price proposition. I'd say that the Vizio had comparable overall brightness, color accuracy, and clarity to the Samsung and Sony options at this price-point, but the VIzio had 120Hz while the others were only 60Hz.
Setup was simple. It was out of the box and hooked up to my Yamaha 5.1 system, HD Cable DVR, PS3, and XBox 360 within 15 minutes. The picture settings out of the box were pretty good. Using the THX calibration found on most DVDs, I made some minor adjustments to brightness, contrast, and color. Once it was officially calibrated, I ended up bumping up the color, brightness, and back-light just a couple notches, and disabling the ambient light sensor, which seems to constantly darken the picture.
In daily use, this TV is impressive. I've watched Football, Baseball, Ice Hockey, Basketball, and even Soccer over the past 2+ weeks and everything looks great. No motion blur, colors pop, great depth-of field. HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire and Entourage look so clear and deep that it almost looks like you're viewing a direct feed from a steady-cam, observing the action live. Blu-Ray yielded the most stunning picture of all, however. Watching the Star Trek Blu-Ray via the PS3 was breathtaking. Viewing angles are better than I expected. I watched most of a football game at about a 140 degree angle and colors and brightness remained uniform. Not bad for a sub-$1000 set.
I haven't really had many frustrations with this TV. The ambient light sensor seems a little gimmicky to me. While it does technically work as advertised, it makes the picture consistently seems too dark...same with the dynamic contrast ratio setting, which I also turned off.
Overall, this TV gets a 4.5/5 for me based on the picture quality and features for the price. If you compare this side-by-side with a $1500 LED back-lit Samsung, it will naturally look inferior, albeit incrementally so. However, for around $800 it simply outclasses anything else in the price range due to it's excellent picture quality and 120Hz refresh rate.