Vizio VF551XVT LCD HDTV First Impressions Review
Vizio has a reputation for producing good value televisions, and the VF551XVT might continue the trend.
Display Size & Technology
The VF551XVT is built around a 55 inch LCD panel that has about 2 milllion pixels and a claimed response time of 5 milliseconds. That's pretty standard, but the innovation is behind this, where Vizio has replaced the standard CCFL backlights with an array of about 2000 LED lights.
The VF5551XVT is built around a 55-inch panel
Format & Resolution
This 55-inch panel has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, for a total of just over 2 million pixels. This means that it can display every pixel of a 1080p signal without having to downscale or reprocess the image.
Brightness, Blacks & Contrast Ratio
Vizio's decision to go with an array of LED backlights on this model means that they can do some fancy stuff, such as local dimming, where the backlight can be dimmed in portions of the screen that are showing a dark image. There are about 2000 individual LED backlights, and these are grouped into zones of 20, which means there are about 100 individual zones that the display can dim as required. This increases the theoretical contrast ratio of the display, and Vizio gives a ratio of 1,000,000:1 in their specifications. We'll have to wait to get the display into our test lab before we can test the veracity of their claims, but the demos that they were running at the show certainly seemed to indicate that the technique improved the depth of the black in some movies; the blacks in a scene from Batman: The Dark Knight that they were showing were significantly darker than a similar model that used conventional CCFL backlights. Vizio quotes the peak brightness at 500 cd/m2, which is pretty bright.
Refresh Rate & Motion
Vizio went with the 240Hz motion processing that seems to be de rigeur on high-end models this year, and claim to have upgraded their motion processing for smoother motion (they refer to this as Smooth Motion II), Again, the demos of this model looked impressive, but we'll reserve judgement until we get a unit in for a closer look in our labs.
Vizio claims a viewing angle of 178 degrees, which means that you can be up to 89 degrees away from straight on, and still get a good picture. This is an ambitious claim, but we saw a decent viewing angle from the VF551XVT; colors started to fade a little at about 40 degrees away from straight on,but the contrast ratio was still good at this angle. Vizio has also upgraded the anti-glare coating on the screen, and this seems to have made a distinct improvement; we noticed that refelctions were much less noticeable than on previous models.
Colors in the demo unit that we looked at at the CES show looked good; we saw bright,sharp color with decent levels of detail in the highlights and shadow details. Vizio has typically eschewed using the extended color gamuts that other manufacturers have been adding, and the VF551XVT is no exception to this; it does not support any wider color gamuts.
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