"Nice Picture with some Kinks to be Worked Out"3.0 starson by RadiantRoad
Pros: Very Good Picture
Cons: Only one RF Input; Poor User Interface (old style looking); Poor channel list feature
Summary: Some of the following categories may not be of interest to you, but, these are my observations after a few days of having this set and comparing it to a good friend who has the Vizio GV46L set that he bought from Sam's Club.
Picture - the VIZIO GV47LF provides excellent picture quality. Comparing it to the GV46L, the 47" unit provides a slightly less grainy picture since it is a 1080p set (high resolution). A 1080i broadcast (such as CBS HD) is close to the same on both units and the 720p broadcasts (like Fox HD) appear a little nicer on the 47" than the 46" unit. Like most digital TVs, the analog broadcasts are not as clear as displayed on an old-style analog TV. But, hopefully analog broadcasts will become history soon.
Sound - the sound quality on the VIZIO GV47LF is very good as well. Again comparing it to the 46" Vizio GV46L unit, I think the 47" set has a slight edge, but, both are very good.
Volume Control - This may seem petty, but, the volume control on the 47" 1080p unit is much better than that on the 46" 1080i unit. My friend complains that the lowest level on the 46" can be too high and the only setting lower than the lowest level is of course muted. The 47" GV47LF has an acceptable volume control that you would expect on any TV.
Sleep Timer - The Vizio GV46L unit wins in this category. This feature may not be important to you unless your unit is located in the bedroom as is the case for us. The Vizio 46" unit includes a "15 minute" sleep timer setting. The Vizio 47" unit starts at "30 minutes". This is a disappointing feature to us and hopefully this will be corrected in a future firmware update.
Screen Interface - Once again, the Vizio GV46L unit wins in this category. The 46" unit has a very modern screen interface for channel info and list features. In comparison, the 47" newer model uses a somewhat archaic, old-style interface which of course has no impact on the programming being watched, but, does give the 47" unit a dated look.
Inputs (generally) - the two units have the same number of inputs with one exception. The older 46" unit segregates digital channels from analog channels. Thus, it has one additional input. The newer 47" model integrates the two. Which is better? For mom and dad, I think the newer setup is better since it is easier to simply scroll up and down the channels on a single input than to understand that some the channels are split on two different inputs (called "TV"-analog and "DTV"-digital on the 46 in. unit). For me, I simply no longer watch anything that is broadcast on analog TV. So, having the analog channels mixed in with the digital channels just means there are that many more channels to surf past. But, in the long run, the analog stations should cease to exist anyway, so I give the nod to the 47" channel input configuration.
RF / Coax Inputs - Vizio fell short in this area. Although both the 46" and 47" sets can accept both cable and over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts, the problem is that it can only do one or the other. This was an oversight on the part of Vizio. Cable operators do not always carry all local OTA broadcasts on their feed to households. Therefore, it would have been nice if Vizio offered two RF inputs; one for cable and the other for OTA. I circumvented this problem by buying a separate OTA tuner and connecting it to the one of the TV's HDMI input. But, this came at unnecessary expense and complexity. Hopefully Vizio will correct this deficiency in future sets.
HDMI Inputs - Vizio provides two. With the ease of connecting components using and HDMI cable and the cost of HDMI cables now well under $10, it only stands to reason that this will become the future standard. Two HDMI inputs is simply not enough and within the next few years, this will likely become a limiting factor for many owners of this set.
Channel List Feature - Vizio's Channel List feature displays a menu of channels that your unit has scanned (if you are new to digital TV, note that you must perform a channel scan before you can view digital channels). This feature allows you to change channels without having to channel up or down to get to the intended channel (which can be a lengthy ordeal in the digital world). This feature appears to work well on the older 46" unit. However, it has a glitch on the newer 47" unit where it does not display all of the programmed digital channels. If you scroll backward through the Channel List, the missing channels will eventually appear (scrolling forward does not produce the same results). Hopefully, Vizio will correct this glitch in a future firmware update. Also, give the number of channels that are programmed, it would be nice if the Channel List feature supported a multiple column format that could be traversed using the remote's four directional arrow keys. Again, maybe a firmware update could add this needed feature.
Final Thoughts - For the money, the VIZIO GV47LF 47" LCD is a good unit. It has some deficiencies, but, they are not deal breakers for most. The fact that it supports the 1080p format will not make much of a difference for most unless you use the TV as an LCD monitor as well (by the way, it's pretty awesome - I have mine set up as a dual monitor using the VIZIO GV47LF as the 2nd monitor). Of course once broadcasters begin transmitting in the 1080p format, you'll be glad you have this set (or until the next format comes out like the 2160p). I'm sure some will feel that my "6" rating is low, but, I think there are a few hurdles that Vizio needs to cross (like the need for multiple RF/coax inputs) before I can rate their units in the Very Good to Excellent range. The picture quality, which should be your primary consideration, is as good as any on the market right now. If you buy this unit at Costco, look for a $250 off coupon. On the East Coast, this coupon is good for the week beginning Jan 15th making the price $1,649 before tax; not bad in today's market. But, in fairness to many hard-working individuals, this is simply still a lot of money. Kudos to Vizio for leading the effort to drive the price down. I have watched Vizio's product line over the last few years and am impressed with the progress made. I expect Vizio to become a major competitor (if they haven't already) in the very near future. Keep up the good work.Updated
As I mentioned, I have this set set up as a computer monitor (works awesome). I'm using an older, inexpensive GeForce4 Ti4200 video card that includes both RGB and DVI out. Using a DVI to HDMI cable, this is connected to one of my TV's HDMI inputs.
Well, while surfing the net on your big screen TV, you might as well take advantage of the fact that it is a TV by using the Picture-in-Picture (PIP) mode. Works great except for one major glitch. The PIP window will NOT display a digital channel; only analog. So, if you wanted to watch ESPN-HD in the smaller PIP window; you're out of luck.
I have a suspicion that this bug is related to the Channel List glitch that I mentioned in my main post. Once again, hopefully, Vizio will correct this with a firmware update.