Like most TV makers Vizio has disabled the local dimming function in 3D mode. We were disappointed, however, to find backlight, contrast, and brightness also not adjustable, along with pretty much every function from the Advanced menu (including dejudder, which is thankfully stuck in Off). You can tweak color, tint, sharpness, and color temperature in 3D, but that's about it.
|Power-saver mode||No||Ambient light sensor||Yes|
|Picture-in-picture||Yes||Onscreen user manual||No|
|Other: Help section includes Guided Setup|
Vizio lacks that trendy "Eco" subsection in its menu, although power consumption is quite efficient without it (see below) and the company did add an ambient light sensor. Picture-in-picture is becoming rarer these days, so that's nice to see. Onscreen help consists of step-by-step setup guides for the remote, network, and more, and while the paper manual and accompanying Quick Start Guide are, as usual for Vizio, clear and well-written, we'd love to see better onscreen help options within individual apps too.
|HDMI inputs||5||Component video inputs||1|
|Composite video input(s)||1||S-video input(s)||0|
|VGA-style PC input(s)||1||RF input(s)||1|
|AV output(s)||1 audio||Digital audio output||1 optical|
|USB port||3||Ethernet (LAN) port||Yes|
Much like Samsung's edge-lit LED-based LCDs (see the UNC6500 models, for example), the Vizio XVT3D650SV has an L-shaped jack pack with HDMI and USB ports facing to the side, the other ports facing down, and all arranged so the cables run parallel to the panel, instead of plugging in perpendicularly. The fifth HDMI is a nice touch in a world where other high-end TVs make do with four. On the other hand analog sources get short shrift; there's just one composite and one component port, which share a single audio input.
The 65-inch Vizio XVT3D650SV turned in significantly worse picture quality than the company's 55-inch XVT553SV, our Editors' Choice LCD, and only part of the difference can be blamed on the former's edge-lit LED display. We suspect the edge-lit scheme contributed to the 65-incher's inferior black levels and uniformity, but it can't explain the smearing effect we saw (see the video processing section). Compared with other high-end LCD and plasma TVs, the Vizio's highly accurate color in bright areas can't save its 2D picture quality from mediocrity.
Calibration of the XVT3D650SV was relatively simple due to its already-accurate Movie preset, which delivered a linear albeit somewhat reddish grayscale, and excellent overall gamma (2.2 average, matching the target exactly). Our tweaks evened out the grayscale further and brought it to within a breath of perfect everywhere but the darkest areas, and despite a slightly worse average gamma (2.17) we were able to smooth the gamma curve overall. Vizio lacks a color management system so we couldn't tweak the slightly inaccurate primaries of red and blue.
For our image quality tests in 2D we checked out "The Town" on Blu-ray.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Panasonic TC-P65VT25||65-inch plasma|
|Samsung UN55C8000||55-inch edge-lit local dimming LED|
|Vizio XVT553SV||55-inch full-array local dimming LED|
|LG 47LX9500||47-inch full-array local dimming LED|
|LG 50PX50||50 inch plasma|
|Samsung PN50C8000||50-inch plasma|
|Pioneer PRO-111FD (reference)||50-inch plasma|
Black level: Compared with the other sets in our lineup the Vizio delivered the lightest shade of black. Letterbox bars, deep shadows, and black areas appeared visibly lighter than on the Samsung UNC8000, PNC8000, and LG PX950--the three next-lightest in our lineup--and significantly lighter than the rest. In Chapter 3 as Claire and Doug walk the town after their date, for example, the night sky and their black jackets, as well as the waters of the bay, all appeared a good deal brighter than on the rest of the TVs. The differences were less obvious in bright scenes, of course, aside from the letterbox bars.
Details in the shadows, Claire's black hair and Doug's peacoat, were relatively accurate, and appeared less obscured than on the Samsung UNC8000, for example.
On another positive note, we didn't notice much overt blooming as a result of the edge-lit local dimming scheme; the bright areas in dark backgrounds remained relatively contained. Sure, when we looked closely at letterbox bars we saw them shift in brightness at times, but the effect wasn't distracting for normal viewing.
Color accuracy: This area proved the XVT3D650SV's strongest. The big TV rendered skin tones, such as Claire's face during the date, as well as most of the TVs in our lineup, and better than the Samsung UNC8000. Primary and secondary colors also looked accurate enough, despite the slightly off measurement of red and blue.
As usual for an LED-based TV, the big Vizio's main color weakness was a blue tinge in black and near-black areas, which looked worse than on any of the other TVs. For example, as the couple sits in the car (36:40), the entire right and left sides of the big image seemed dipped in a blue wash, which even spilled over onto the back of Doug's neck. Part of the problem was the Vizio's poor uniformity; the bright edges and corners were bluer than the darker middle.
Video processing: The XVT3D650SV suffered from an artifact we haven't seen on any TV we've tested recently. We'll call it smearing, and while it occurred with many instances of relatively quick motion across the screen, it was particularly visible in faces. When Agent Frawley walks toward the map in Chapter 2, for example (13:00), the details in his face softened and smeared the edges as his head quickly jostled from side to side. The same thing happened in Chapter 3 with Doug's face in the Laundromat and later when he walks Claire along the bridge. The smearing wasn't confined to faces either; we saw it in numerous other moving areas, like the swaying black tracksuit of James in Chapter 4. We saw similar issues even in 3D; in the face of the dropship sergeant from Chapter 1 of "Avatar," for example.
The problem persisted regardless of whether we engaged Smooth Motion processing. None of the other LCDs (including Vizio's own XVT3SV) exhibited this problem.
Judging from the solid motion-resolution scores the smearing problem is independent of refresh rate. In our motion resolution test the Vizio was good for a 120Hz LCD, hitting between 900 and 1,000 lines when we engaged any of the Smooth Motion Effect settings. Turning off said effect lowered the result, as expected, to between 300 and 400 lines. As usual we had a tough time discerning between these two with normal program material.
The dejudder processing on the XVT3D650SV performed much like that of the XVT3SV we tested last year. Vizio equips the TV with a pair of controls related to dejudder, which it calls Smooth Motion Effect--with Low, Medium, and High settings--and Real Cinema Mode--with settings called Precision and Smooth. As with most such processing, we prefer to leave it off for film-based movies, where smoothing can make it look too much like video. The Low setting, when we did engage the control, produced the fewest artifacts and least objectionable effect and even preserved some judder, whereas higher settings piled on the processing.
Again like the XVT3SV, the XVT3D650SV couldn't handle 1080p/24 sources properly. Disabling dejudder processing on a 120Hz TV should cause it to implement proper film cadence, but that didn't work in this case. Instead, during the helicopter flyover from "I Am Legend," the Vizio introduced the characteristic hitching pan of 2:3 pull-down. None of the other settings we tried could handle 1080p/24 correctly, either; they all introduced smoothing.
Uniformity: The XVT3D650SV showed some of the worst uniformity across the screen of any TV we've tested. In dark scenes the brighter corners and sides showed up quite obviously, and in any bright scenes with flat fields and camera movement, vertical banding showed up as uneven strips of lighter and darker areas.
Seen from off-angle the screen lost black-level fidelity faster than any of the other LCDs in our lineup, and showed some color shift toward red.
Bright lighting: Vizio chose to front its big 65-incher with a glossy screen finish, which doesn't do the TV any favors under the lights. Reflections were as strong those on the LG LX9500 and worse than any of the others, including the Samsung UNC8000. The Vizio preserved black levels relatively well, albeit not as well as the Samsung LCD.
Standard-definition: The set did relatively well on our standard-def tests, delivering the full resolution of DVD but looking a tad soft on the detail shot of the grass and stone bridge. Jaggies on moving diagonal lines and a waving American flag were kept to a happy minimum, and noise reduction functioned well to clean up the low-quality shots of skies and sunsets. The set engaged film mode, detecting 2:3 pull-down, properly.
PC: Via HDMI, the Vizio performed as well as any 1080p display should, resolving every line of a 1,920x1,080-pixel source with crisp details and no overscan. On the other hand we couldn't get the TV to accept the signal of our test laptop (a Lenovo T61) via its VGA-style PC input. We tried sending the signal normally, as well as setting up another TV first at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, then switching cables to the Vizio, and in both cases the display read "Invalid Format." Since the manual states the TV can accept 1,920x1,080-pixel signals via VGA, we assume some PCs will work.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6234/6378||Good|
|After color temp||6527/6567||Good|
|Before grayscale variation||143||Good|
|After grayscale variation||49||Good|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.627/0.326||Average|
|Color of green||0.298/0.611||Good|
|Color of blue||0.16/0.065||Average|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Pass||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
Power consumption: As we expect from any LED-based TV, the XVT3D650SV is extremely efficient. It used a few bucks per year of energy more than smaller LCDs we tested, significantly fewer than smaller plasmas, and less than a third of the energy draw of an equivalent-size plasma. Unfortunately we weren't able to test its power use with 3D by press time, but when we do we'll update this section.
|Vizio XVT3D650SV||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||214.84||125.48||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.12||0.07||N/A|
|Cost per year||$47.72||$28.13||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|
3D picture quality
We've already compared the Vizio's passive 3D with that of the excellent Panasonic TC-P65VT25 in an extensive side-by-side look, so the following section will concentrate on how it stacks up against other active 3D sets. For this comparison we used the same lineup mentioned above, although we substituted the Sony KDL-46NX810 for the non-3D Vizio XVT553SV.
The LCD TVs in our comparison all showed more crosstalk than the Vizio in scenes like the nighttime worms in Chapter 2 of "Imax: Under the Sea" (17:35), although the Sony was the closest to the Vizio of the lot. The LG and Samsung plasma were about the same as the Vizio in these scenes, but the difference was relatively subtle. The Vizio's crosstalk showed up as blue once again.
The image on the Vizio was subjectively brighter in 3D than on any of the other TVs, including the LCDs--no mean feat considering the Vizio's significantly larger size (big TVs are usually dimmer than small ones). On the other hand, all of the TVs in our comparison delivered darker black levels in 3D than the Vizio, leading to images with more pop and contrast. Given the choice between brightness and contrast, we'll take the latter nine times out of ten since dimming the lights--something we recommend doing anyway whenever possible to improve picture quality--can make just about any image seem "bright enough."
Colors were quite accurate in 3D on the Vizio, which outdid all but the LG plasma in this regard. Of course color saturation wasn't as rich as on some of the models with superior black levels, but it was still very good.
In other areas, particularly resolution, artifacts, and off-angle performance, the passive Vizio performed worse than any of the active models (see the writeup linked above for more details). As usual with 3D our tests were entirely subjective; we're still working on implementing objective measurements.
Read more about how we test TVs.