Pros: Quality video/audio, good price, lots of features, Picture-in-Picture. Energy star 3. one year parts/labor warranty
Cons: none at present
A new television was the last thing on my mind when I found myself in need of one about two weeks ago. Yeah it happened, I turned on the Protron PLTV32CM, the sound was angelically outstanding as usual but unfortunately there was no picture, no backlight. The technology heaven’s had call it home for eternal resting. Like a well loved family member the Protron will be deeply mourned. Unfortunately though -- Four years have passed which means product is out of warranty. Isn’t this always the case but we cannot complain much because the television ran approximately 12 hours a day minimum. In any event it is less expensive to replace an LCD HDTV than to have one repaired. Repairing one depends on whether or not parts can be obtained or if anyone is willing to perform the repair. By replacing you acquire newer electronics, technology and more energy efficient HDTV’s .
I spent most the Saturday in search for a new LCD HDTV. I called around locally and queried but much to my dismay but which is usually the case in a rural area nothing of interest was in stock or available. I reviewed a number of LCD HDTV in a wide spectrum of price ranges and brands. However, other than it being 1080p, at least 120MHZ, having sufficient modern ports as well as a few legacy ports the LCD HDTV had to have Picture-In-Picture. Picture-In-Picture was a deal breaker and I was not conceeding or compromising on this particular feature. I enjoy using my Wii and watching television concurrently.
The room I would be placing the television in dictates how large I could go as well as the stand it would be sitting on. Size was geared toward 42” to 47” though I settled in on the 42” to insure clearance and air ventilation.
Balancing the wants, the needs, and the pricing against the features and picture quality Vizio was hand downs the best value. Reviews for this model were reasonable solid and the majority of purchasers were pleased with the VT420M model.
I elected to purchase the Vizio VT420M but finding a retailer with the LCD HDTV in stock and ready to ship was not a simple task but luckily after googling I discovered an online retailer I had formerly ordered from rather heavily in the nineties--JR Music in NY. Not only did they have the television in stock and ready to ship they were offering free UPS Ground shipping. The down side was their warehouses were closed on weekends but I ordered anyway that Saturday and on Monday I called them to hear the television had shipped with expected delivery on Wednesday. During my short wait I had a 22” LCD HDTV to tie me over taken from the bedroom—do note that there is no downsizing once you go large.
UNPACKING MII VIZIO
UPS man at the door, I greeted him “You have something good for me?” He replied “it sure looks like it!” And we packed it inside.
I did not pay any attention to the quick unpacking plugs on the box so I proceeded with a utility knife to open the box’s top removing carefully the majority of packaging materials.
IN THE BOX
1 User Manual
1 Quick Setup Sheet
1 Cloth for screen cleaning
1 Vizio VT420M 42” 120MHZ
1 Remote Control
1 AC Power Cord
1 Year Parts and Labor In-Home Warranty
PROS and CONS
CONS is the shortest on my list but unfortunately no matter how much thought and consideration goes into a well designed unit there is that ever present con to be discovered.
This may be a cable related issue but I don’t believe it is. When using the HDMI cable your receive crisp clear vivid audio that randomly becomes grumbles and does not go away until you change input via the remote and return back to the HDMI input. It only occurs when on the HDMI port. I am going to recheck the HDMI cable this weekend in case it has loosen since I moved some things around. I’ll update when I have identified the issue and resolved the problem.
[UPDATE] Turns out that the grumbling was not a cable connection issue on a higher volume level I could hear a delay in the audio. If someone was saying "This is it!" less than a second later I would here "This is it!" again. I played disc in the Toshiba using the HDMI cable and no issue with audio acting this way. As I mentioned above regular television audio is fine playing through the HDMI cable for a while before this echoing like effect occurs. I am not 100% positive this is the full cause of the problem but I have narrowed it down to the Dish Network's satellite receiver box, I would lay money down on it as the corrupt. A newer receiver should remedy the issue at hand because the receiver does not have a component or HDMI in or out put.
PROS the Vizio VT420M are numerous for a HDTV of this caliber and price range.
Comparable 42” screen sizes were doubled in price and lacked the important PIP (Picture-In-Picture) feature I wanted. The one drawback to the PIP it is not available in 1080 i/p resolution. But it is available in 4:3 and 16:9 in non high definition resolutions. Note though that it will function in 720 i/p resolution which is technically low end spectrum for high definition.
There are a number of user setting adjustments permitting you to tailor picture and audio to your discriminating taste. However, I am using at present basically factor settings. I am also taking advantage of the HOME setting to reduce power consummation in my participation to be earth friendly.
The four built-in speakers totaling 40 watts are clear reproducing sounds well. In addition the Vizio VT420M has TRUSOUND which is like or similar to competing brand models when set to on to level the sound. In theory this feature setting should prevent your standard view from being bombarded by the high volumes during commercials. I originally set TRUSOUND to ON and it works reasonably well but I noticed it also lowers the volume during a program too. Sometimes this could be a good thing when the volume level shifts but viewing most movies I want the full effect in audio drama. Overall the technology works very well but has some hit and miss moments.
Styling for Vizio VT420M is uniquely different compared to competing brands. This Vizio has a high gloss dark Java wood grain frame trimmed inside and out in silver with a matching silver bar housing the four speakers bottom side. I am not a fan of wood grain nor the color brown however color is dark enough that I cannot distinguish the wood finish and color appears more black then brown. I am definitely please and happy to say this contemporary design will compliment most interior designs with ease.
The remote control is rather basic and the button layout straightforward. Channel, resolution, time and date information and power buttons are at top, next a series of buttons for instant access to your inputs. Following the large round menu and arrow buttons. Then volume and channel up and down, next number keys, PIP and special key buttons for HDTV play back. The battery compartment holds two double AA batteries and the remote is wider at this end permitting the remote to stand vertical. Color wise I think the remote is black but it could be a deep brown. I am not color blind but I find it very difficult to distinguish the actual hue.
The PIP can be a touch trying, give yourself a few minutes to play around with it. You have the option of turning off or on audio to the sub-picture. My setup has the signal coming into the satellite receiver, into DVD recorder, then the Vizio VT420M. The Toshiba DVD Recorder up converts all signals leaving the unit and the four front LEDs lights for each selected resolution from 1080P to 480P. The reason I am mentioning this here is because when I was working with PIP the onscreen information would state PIP does not function in HD mode or PIP must be turned on First. When in fact the problem was due to the up converting from the DVD recorder (down grading the up convert from 1080P to 720P resolved the issue). The Toshiba DVD Recorder has been a great purchase and working splendidly. See my review on it.
You can use this Vizio model as a super large digital photo frame should you wish. Just insert a USB thumbdrive or flashdrive with your photos and let it play. You can play your music too but no video.
The USB port with a thumbdrive with at least 1GB formatted in 32FAT can be used to record 29 minutes of a program. It may record more than 29 minutes provided you have a larger thumbdrive. I have not tested this feature period because I did not know at time of purchase this feature existed. Just happen to stumble across it in the user manual. Cool feature if it works.
I have mentioned the highlights and the main features that attracted me to this particular HDTV. I am still discovering things regarding the Vizio so I will have to update after I have experience the television for a lengthier time frame.
The picture quality is sharp vivid and crisp, audio is extremely accurate for built-in speakers. Styling is beautiful and sports a wealth of valuable features for a 42” LCD HDTV in this price range. The Vizio has a good weight of 44 pounds – one person can set this television up alone if need be but due to size should have at least two for moving. Warranty includes parts and labor for one year with in-house service and should the television need shipment for repair Vizio handles the cost. I used my Chase Visa for the purchase and under their agreement extend the warranty for an additional year. The HDTV should last for several years without issue. Its 120MHZ provides true motion and I have yet to see any lag of jaggies. A nice unit to use as your main television (as I), bedroom entertainment, for gaming or as a computer monitor. Good price, good quality thus far -- Ownership One Week.
I like to close my reviews with a THANK YOU because I do appreciate you investing your precious time in reading my material. We live in a complex complicated world where time is at a premium. I do pray you found this review like my others informative and helpful in aiding your next purchasing decision. Your comments are always welcome and I make every attempt to reply to comments as time permits. Again THANK YOU for the opportunity to aid you in spending your hard earned money wisely.
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2010 Copyrighted by Gary Drury