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Vizio VF550M 55" 1080p HD LCD Television
6 Reviews from Epinions.com
Jan 26, 2010
Whoever said, "Bigger isn't always better" hasn't seen this Vizio 55" LCD TV!
Pros: Large screen, crystal clear picture, PIP, simple remote and easy setup at an affordable price!
Cons: Audio could be a little bit better is the only issue I've experienced.
The Bottom Line:
I could not be any happier with this TV. I've had it for 2 months now and I continue to be amazed with the picture quality!
Whoever said, "Bigger isn't always better" hasn't seen this Vizio 55" LCD TV! After experiencing some issues with our old 32" tube TV, it was time to look for a new one. We weren't really in the market for a huge TV, but Black Friday was quickly approaching so I decided to keep my options open. I stopped in at my local store and saw all the TV's lined up on the rack. I looked in awe as I compared the pictures, but I was careful not to look at the manufacturer because I didn't want to sway my opinion. After finally having it narrowed down between two TV's, I looked at the tags and was shocked to see I was comparing a Sony with a Vizio (who is Vizio anyway?)! I've seen Vizio at Sam's Club and Walmart but never really heard of them otherwise. However, once I saw the Black Friday advertisement for Costco, they were offering $300 OFF this model, I decided it was time to do my homework!
After doing a little research, I found that while they were unheard of a couple years ago, they have quickly taken the market by storm and are a major threat to Sony and Samsung. For a TV that is so much lower in cost, how could it really compare to the Sony's and Samsung's??? I decided to give it a try and waited outside the Friday after Thanksgiving. So, after owning the TV for two months, what do I think of it now? Read on...
In The Box
You pretty much get everything you'll need to get your TV up and running except for one major thing, the cables. However you plan to connect your TV (HDMI, YPb/CbPr/Cr, S-Video, etc.), you're going to have to get the cables first.
* Vizio VF550M LCD TV
* Vizio remote control with 2 AA batteries included
* Power cord
* Safety strap
* Screen cleaning cloth
* User manual
* Quick Setup Guide
* Registration Card
Setting up the Vizio VF550M LCD TV couldn't have been easier! The hardest step during the setup was taking this TV out of the box. After trying to lift the TV out of the box with my brother-in-law, we realized there were small clasps at the bottom of the box. After pinching these together, it separated the top of the box from the bottom and we were able to easily lift it up. It's definitely a two person job to move this TV around (it weighs 86 lbs and the dimensions with the stand are 51.496" W x 35.913" H x 13.465" D), but after getting it out of the box, it was a piece of cake to setup...
If you plan to place your TV on a stand, you're in luck, it already comes assembled with the base connected. Simply place the TV on a large, flat surface and determine the type of cable you plan to use to connect your TV. Originally, I had the TV connected with YPb/CbPr/Cr cables and the picture was great! I then upgraded my cable box to one with an HDMI output and the picture became phenomenal!!! HDMI provides the best high definition, digital picture quality, but the YPb/CbPr/Cr cables also provided a great picture. I'm sure any of the other connections will be "good" at best, but after spending all this money on the TV, why not go for the HDMI? Note: Don't waste your money on those expensive HDMI cables at the store. The cheap ones on Ebay will do the exact same thing for about 90% less money. Other connections include: Rear Inputs: 4 HDMI inputs, 1 RF Connector for Internal Tuner, 1 YPb/CbPr/Cr, 1 RGB PC Input (to connect to your computer), 1 S-Video, and 1 Composite Video input. Side inputs include an additional: 1 HDMI, 1 YPb/CbPr/Cr, and 1 Composite Video input.
Personally, I found this to be more than enough. I have my son's Wii, our Cable TV and a Blue-ray DVD player all connected.
Next, connect the power cord to the TV and plug it into the wall. Finally, install the batteries into the remote control and turn it on.
All that's left now is to follow the simple Vizio wizard to set the language and and scan for channels!
Complete setup (including the time to get it out of the box) took about 30 minutes.
The picture on this TV, when using the HDMI cable with a high definition cable provider, provides an unbelievable picture!!! This 55" (54.64" diagonal) TV has a 16:9 (cinema-style) aspect ratio with a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz. It supports 480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV), 1080p Video Signals with 1.06 Billion colors! If you want to connect your computer/laptop to it (which works great for watching some of those TV programs online that you may have missed), then it supports the following resolutions: 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1920 x 1080 via VGA and HDMI.
So, what does all that mean? It means I could not be happier with the crisp colors and sharp details! From watching football to regular TV, and movies to video games, this TV continues to deliver a great, clean, smooth, picture!
Out of the box, I never changed any of the default settings for the picture, but some of the options include:
From the settings menu, you can adjust the height/width of the picture, Picture Mode, Contrast, Brightness, Color Temperature, Noise Reduction, etc. On most TV's I've had, the Picture Mode only consists of Movie, Sports, Vivid, etc. However, this bad boy goes beyond the generic settings and includes Standard, Movie, Game, Vivid, Football, Golf, Basketball and Baseball. No matter what sport you're getting ready to watch, Vizio does a great job at getting the colors just right for you!
Furthermore, Vizio offers various Viewing Modes depending on what you're watching. You can change the mode to Normal Mode (4:3 aspect ratio – adds black bars to the left and right of the picture), Wide Mode (stretches the picture proportionately to fill the TV screen), Zoom Mode (when watching a widescreen program, the picture is zoomed proportionately to fill the width of the screen), Stretch Mode (when watching a widescreen program with black bars on the sides, the picture will stretch to fill the TV screen), and Panoramic Mode (when watching a regular movie in this mode, picture becomes stretched horizontally on the left and right sides to fill the TV screen).
Best of all, this LCD does not have a glare on the screen, so every seat is a perfect seat!
The audio on this TV could actually be a little better. I don't have a receiver connected to this TV (yet), so the quality of the audio is "good" at best. While Vizio provides a bunch of options in the Settings menu to enhance the audio, I found the best sound came when I turned all those advanced features off.
Like the video, you're also provided with some default sound schemes to choose from (Flat, Rock, Pop, Classic or Jazz) as well as Surround Sound. Vizio also gives you the choice to turn on or off the SRS TruSurround HD sound and the SRS TruVolume. One cool feature was the Lip Sync setting. This is designed to adjust the audio of the program being viewed so that it matches the movement of the lips of someone talking on the screen (doesn't it just drive you crazy when they don't match up?).
If you're trying to build an awesome home theater, you're definitely going to have to add a surround sound, audio system to this television. The built in speakers just won't cut it
While the remote control is often the most important part of a TV, Vizio did a great job at making as simple as possible, while still loaded with features. I'm not going to bore you with the power, volume and channel buttons, since those are pretty much common sense. Instead, I'll mention some of the more important ones...
* Picture Freeze - While this doesn't actually pause the live TV, it does freeze the picture if you want to show somebody something or take a closer look. A nice to have, I just don't know how practical it really is.
* PIP - The PIP (or Picture-In-Picture) mode allows you to watch two pictures at the same time. One picture is displayed as the full screen (main screen) and the other picture is displayed in a small window (sub screen). Pressing the PIP button again brings it to POP mode (Picture-outside picture), where the main screen and sub-screen are of equal size and are positioned side-by-side. Let me tell you, two football games at the same time, side-by-side, on a 55" TV…. WOW!!!!!
* Video Source - Instead of having just one button that you have to keep pressing to find your external devices (DVD player, game system, etc.), this remote has one button for each type (TV, AV, HDMI, Comp) and you can just press that button to circle through them. If you know how your device is connected, this is REALLY handy, but if you're a little technically challenged and have no clue what an HDMI cable is, then you can just press the INPUT button and circle through ALL the different inputs until you find the one you're looking for.
On screen display
Setting up your personal settings using the on screen display is very easy to see thanks to the color choices Vizio decided to use. However, the navigation for the settings took a little getting used to. While trying to work your way through the settings, you constantly have to look at the bottom of the screen for directions to move around. For example, press the LAST button to go back or press the MENU button for OK. Not a big deal, but a little awkward at first.
Video/input naming capability
This feature allows you to name your components so they match your connected devices. For example, if you connect a Blue-ray DVD player to HDMI 2, you can name it DVD. You can use up to 8 characters per component. I do this for my wife, where she doesn't really know that the DVD player is connected to HDMI 2, so she just presses the INPUT button until it says, "DVD".
According to the owner's manual, the CC feature is available when watching regular analog (NTSC) TV. Select from CC1, CC2, CC3 or CC4. Closed Caption for regular TV is usually CC1 or CC2. If you're someone who needs Closed Captioning, then you might like the fact that Vizio gives you the option to customize the font size, color, opacity, background color, window color, etc. For the sake of this review I looked at these settings and played around with them a little, but I don't use closed captioning on a regular basis.
Parental control/V-Chip 2.0
If you want to restrict certain channels and program viewing, then this is a helpful feature for you! This TV allows you to block programs based on channel, US TV Rating, US Movie Rating, Canadian English Rating, Canadian French Rating, and DTV Rating. All you have to do is enter a 4 digit password to make these channels available again.
If this was a TV for my bedroom, I would love this feature. But, for being in my family room, I don't see too much use for the Sleep Timer. Either way, the timer allows you to set the TV to turn off automatically after 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes.
Warranty (From the Owners Manual)
Vizio provides a “ONE-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY” against manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship to the original purchaser of a new Vizio display purchased from an authorized Vizio U.S. reseller and used in the fifty (50) United States or Puerto Rico.
* Vizio's Responsibility - Vizio displays purchased new from an authorized Vizio U.S. reseller and that are used in the fifty (50) United States or Puerto Rico are warranted to be free from manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for one (1) year from the date of the original retail purchase. If the display fails to conform to this limited warranty, Vizio will, at its option and sole discretion, repair or replace the display.
* Labor - During the one-year limited warranty period, Vizio will provide, when needed, service labor to repair a manufacturing defect. Repairs required on displays which are thirty (30) inches and larger generally will be made “on-site” where the display is installed. The determination for performing the on-site repair is dependent upon the manufacturing defect and is at Vizio's option and sole discretion. Repairs required on displays which are less than thirty (30) inches generally will be performed at a Vizio service center.
* Parts - Repairs may be made with new or recertified parts, or the entire unit may be replaced with a new or recertified unit, at Vizio's option and sole discretion. Replacement parts or replacement units provided under this limited warranty are warranted for the remaining portion of the original warranty period, or for ninety (90) days from warranty service or replacement, whichever is later.
Like most people, being in the tough economy we're in, I wanted the biggest TV, with the best picture for the least amount of money! Vizio not only met my demands, they earned a customer for life! I can't speak about any of their other products, but their TV's are hands down, one of the best out there and I see why they're giving Sony fight. I would definitely recommend this TV to anyone who is looking for a large, wide screen TV and a great price.
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