The picture did have a few problems, however. As Arash put his arm around his companion, for example, we noticed some false contouring, which appeared as distinct lines instead of a smooth fade in the shadow on the white wall behind him. This artifact wasn't as prevalent on the other LCDs. Contouring also appeared in lighter areas, like the blue paint of the pillar in the warehouse where Barnes goes to inspect the bomb. We also noticed that the Vizio became more washed-out than any of the others when seen from off-angle.
Perhaps the Vizio's greatest strength is its color accuracy, something that's pretty rare among HDTVs in general and low-buck LCDs in particular. In the User preset via HDMI, the set came quite close to the standard up and down the grayscale, aside from its bluer dark areas (see the Geek Box). After calibration, we were able to get the grayscale nearly perfect. Of course we don't expect many users to spring for a calibration of a TV in this price category, but its linear grayscale tracking--its ability to maintain a consistent color temperature--pays dividends either way. In the scene where Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon) and his family eat breakfast, for example, their skin tones appeared more natural than on any of the other three LCDs, and there was no hint of red push in the fair faces of his wife and kids. We were also impressed by the accuracy of the primary colors, especially green, which is often problematic with LCDs.
In terms of resolution, the L37HDTV produced a crisp, sharp picture via HDMI and 720p component-video, although 1080i component-video looked softer. As with most 1,366x768 displays, it handled 720p sources better than 1080i. The Vizio's sharpness control has four steps, and at its second-lowest (25) setting, it maintained a sharp mage without undue edge enhancement.
With standard-def sources, on the other hand, the L32HDTV turned in a below-average performance. Its composite and S-Video inputs looked softer than component-video, and none of its analog jacks did a very good job of smoothing the difficult jagged edges from the HQV test disc. Its worst characteristic, however, was its inability to deal with noisy, low-quality sources. Yes, it lacks any kind of noise-reduction circuit, but so does the Dell, which smoothed out the noisy, snowy shots of sky and other fields much better than the Vizio. In its favor, the L37HDTV did engage 2:3 pull-down detection quickly.
Once again, Vizio manages to deliver that elusive combination--competent video quality, enough features, and styling that passes muster--for a price that's really difficult to beat. The L37HDTV maintains its company's tradition, offering one of the best values we've seen yet among flat-panel LCDs.
|Before color temp (20/80)||7,435/6,629K||Average|
|After color temp||6,489/6,515K||Good|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 228K||Good|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 39K||Good|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.639/0.338||Good|
|Color of green||0.285/0.600||Good|
|Color of blue||0.146/0.049||Average|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Yes||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
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