The 65-inch Vizio XVT3D650SV is the first TV in the U.S. to ship with "passive" 3D capability. Unlike the other mainstream 3D TVs of 2010, which use "active" glasses that cost around $100 each, this big Vizio comes with four pairs of cheap polarized glasses, the same kind used by most 3D theaters. We've already taken an in-depth look at how the XVT3D650SV's 3D compares with an active 3D model, so we'll keep it brief here: while the Vizio has its advantages, we still liked the picture quality of active better.
Our main problem with this big Vizio, however, lies in its reproduction of 2D content, especially its propensity for smearing in fast motion--something we didn't expect from a 120Hz TV. Add to that a few other issues that separate it from Vizio's excellent, albeit 2D-only, XVT553SV, as well as a hefty price tag, and you have a package that loses some of its luster. Unless you must have the first, and biggest, passive 3D TV on the block, it's worth waiting for other 2011 examples, like LG's passive 65-inch 65LW6500.
Series information: This review will apply only to the 65-inch XVT3D650SV since it basically stands alone in Vizio's lineup, with no other screen sizes that have identical features. Its closest relatives we reviewed in 2010 hail from the XVT3SV series, which lacks 3D. Its closest 2011 relative is the XVT3D5 series, but those sets employ full-array LEDs, as opposed to edge-lit, and max out at 55 inches.
|Panel depth||2.3 inches||Bezel width||2.2 inches|
|Single-plane face||No||Swivel stand||No|
The XVT3D650SV's exterior looks just like that of a smaller, 55-inch XVT3SV we tested last year, and while it's an improvement over some past Vizios, it's still pretty pedestrian by today's standards. The look is all-black, and the only real accent is a little rounded mound between the speakers along the bottom. Unlike most TV makers, Vizio has yet to hide its speakers, so as a result the frame is relatively chunky.
Edge-lit LED backlighting allows a thin 2.2-inch depth, which also contributes to the relatively light weight (105 pounds) of this 65-inch TV. For that reason we'd expect a swivel stand, but the Vizio doesn't have one.
|Remote control and menus|
|Remote size (LxW)||6.3x2.2 inches||Remote screen||N/A|
|Total keys||91||Backlit keys||0|
|Other IR devices controlled||Yes||RF control of TV||Yes (Bluetooth)|
|Shortcut menu||No||Onscreen explanations||Yes|
|Other: Remote has slide-out QWERTY keyboard and integrated control for other IR devices|
The 65-incher gets the same remote as all of Vizio's higher-end apps-equipped TVs, and of the clickers you can buy it's one of the best-stocked with features. Its main appeal is a full slide-out keyboard with dedicated keys for letters, numbers, and symbols, just like on a smartphone. Best of all, it's included with the TV for free, not as an expensive option like some other Internet-friendly remotes.
We found the thicker, heavier clicker reassuring in the hand. Its standard keys are easy to navigate and thoughtfully laid out, although we'd appreciate more differentiation by feel. The lack of any kind of illumination didn't help, and we missed having a dedicated key for aspect ratio.
The keyboard worked on all of the apps we tried, and although we found it more cramped and less responsive than, say, the keyboard on a typical smartphone, it's perfectly usable. It makes tweets, Facebook status updates, and username/password sign-ins so much easier than the standard remote/onscreen keyboard combo.
Bluetooth means the remote works without needing line-of-sight. Although we didn't test it, Vizio says the TV can pair with other Bluetooth devices like a full-size keyboard or stereo headphones. Vizio sells the XVTBH100 headphones for $99.
The universal aspect of the remote was also well thought out. Onscreen prompts, as opposed to long lists in the instruction manual, guide you through programming control codes for your devices; the volume and mute keys can "punch through" to operate external gear like an AV receiver. It lacks the full task-based functionality of a Harmony, but this TV remote still goes further than any we've tested toward emulating a good universal remote in the first place.
Vizio's menu system resembles another app in appearance and we liked that the picture settings section is actually integrated into the main app taskbar (see below). Responses were fast, explanations complete, and we had no problems finding our way around. In sum, the remote and menus were among the best we've used, and they surpass in many ways the efforts of more well-known brands.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||Edge-lit with local dimming|
|3D-compatible||Yes||3D glasses included||Four pairs|
|Screen finish||Glossy||Refresh rate||120Hz|
|Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes||1080p/24 compatible||No|
|Internet connection||Yes (built-in Wi-Fi)||Wireless HDMI/AV connection||No|
|Other Extra glasses currently $30 each|
Here's where the XVT3D650SV differs significantly from the Editors' Choice-winning, albeit 2D-only, XVT3SV series. The 3D650SV's main draw is passive 3D, allowing its 3D effect to be viewed through inexpensive, unpowered circular polarized lenses. How inexpensive? Vizio is currently charging $30 per pair on its Web site (although that should fall fast), and we found compatible eyewear online for $5 per pair and less. We had a pair of RealD glasses from a theater and they worked fine on the Vizio.
Unlike most other high-end Vizios the 3D650SV has an edge-lit LED backlight, not the full-array variety we liked so much on the XVT3SV. It does allow local dimming, however, and Vizio claims the TV has 32 "zones" that can be independently dimmed (more info). Another difference between the two comes in the form of the 3D650SV's glossy screen finish; we generally prefer matte LCD screens.
The XVT3D650SV's built-in Wi-Fi performed better than that of its predecessor, but significantly worse than the wired connection. The main issue we found was that during Netflix streaming, the TV took way too long (up to 2 to 3 minutes) to begin playing a program via Wi-Fi, while a Sony KDL-52NX800 with built-in Wi-Fi, for example, took around 20 seconds or so. Video quality and stability when using the Vizio's Wi-Fi was fine once the program began, however. We performed the testing below via the wired Ethernet connection, and while your Wi-Fi experience may differ from ours, we recommend going with Ethernet if you can.
|Amazon Video on Demand||Yes||Rhapsody||Yes|
|Other: Synch TV Kids, Web Video, Craze TV Movies on Demand, RadioTime|
Although it still lacks YouTube, the selection of streaming audio and video on Vizio's VIA platform is otherwise stellar.
The XVT3D650SV provided our first look at Vudu's 3D streaming service, and when we rented "Bolt" it worked as well as we expected. The Vizio's lower-resolution 3D combined with Vudu's half-res "side-by-side" format meant the image was much softer than the equivalent Vudu HDX 2D stream, but we were just happy to get another source of 3D content.
Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon VOD in 2D all exhibited the picture quality we expected, and we appreciated that many picture controls were available--including picture modes, backlight level and advanced controls like dejudder, but excluding contrast, brightness, color, and so on. Vizio treats these streaming services as a separate input, and unlike other such TVs can run other apps simultaneously, allowing you to use Twitter or check Facebook while watching Netflix, for example. Think of it as TV multitasking, or just think of streaming services as another TV channel.
We reviewed the Rhapsody app in our XVT3SV write-up and were pretty impressed, so this time we decided to check out TuneIn Radio by RadioTime, the same company that provides broadcast radio stations to Sonos. Despite relatively long (30- to 40-second) load times on occasion, for example, while it listed our numerous NYC radio stations, the app was excellent (similar to the iPhone version), delivering live streams of our local stations complete with upcoming schedules and even icons for shows where available. It can access thousands of stations nationwide, local and nonlocal, incorporates a Twitter feed for some stations, and even allows you to view the upcoming schedule. Streaming performance was mostly solid, although we did encounter occasional skipping on some stations.
None of the streaming audio services allow multitasking, however, so we were foiled in our attempt to tweet from the Vizio about RadioTime.
We detailed two of the "other" video streamers in the previous review as well. One app added since then, called Craze TV, promises streaming movies courtesy of Online Movies Box. If you care, you can check out its selection, but suffice it to say it's lighter than basic cable and with worse picture quality.
Blockbuster and CinemaNow are still "coming soon," for what it's worth, as is the long-promised ability to stream music, photos, and video via a home network (DLNA) or a USB stick.
|Other: At press time there were 30 total nonstreaming widgets, including 13 Yahoo widgets with three games, eBay, and more; MediaBox allows access to Picasa accounts|
Our favorite apps platform of 2010 was Vizio's VIA interface, mainly because it delivered the most integrated experience. All of the applications, from Amazon VOD to Netflix to Yahoo Weather, can be found in the Widget Gallery, which conjures up a notification graphic when new apps are available. When downloaded they appear after a few seconds in the taskbar along the bottom of the screen. Load times were entirely tolerable, and navigation was snappy both within apps and between them on the bar itself, even when we filled it with apps.
Since our last review the selection has improved even further, adding new nonstreaming apps like QVC home shopping, a CNBC stock ticker, and Fandango. Fandango showed upcoming showtimes for numerous theaters nearby and allowed us to buy tickets directly from many of them.
There are also a bunch of new games, although nothing along the lines of the OnLive functionality that will be included with Vizio's next-generation VIA Plus platform. Like all other Vizio TVs with the standard VIA platform, the XVT3D650SV will not be upgradable to VIA Plus.
|Adjustable picture modes||9||Independent memories per input||Yes|
|Dejudder presets||3||Fine dejudder control||No|
|Aspect ratio modes--HD||4||Aspect ratio modes--SD||4|
|Color temperature presets||4||Fine color temperature control||2 point|
|Gamma presets||0||Color management system||No|
The selection here is fairly standard in 2D, aside from the ridiculous number of picture modes Vizio offers. All are adjustable per input, so viewers who like to create different settings for all kinds of material and sources will have a lot to like. We'd like to see gamma presets and especially the ability to adjust dejudder processing beyond the three presets, but neither is in the offing. Tweakers take note that the Ambient Light Sensor, which ships turned on by default, must be disabled before you can manually adjust the backlight setting.