Pros: Spectacular picture; stunning 2D, awesome 3D' a myriad of internet apps
Cons: too complex; no S-video; no automatic setting for 3D content; 3D glasses not included
Looking for a new TV? Why should you buy the Vizio XVT3D554SV model?
This Vizio model has a couple of selling features. The first one that jumped out at me was the 480Hz SPS (screens per second) technology. After the experience I had with the Sharp model that had 120Hz, I knew that I would need something more advanced. The second and more obvious feature would be the 3D capabilities. With the aid of compatible 3D active shutter glasses, I can have the luxury option of viewing my Blu-rays and DVDs in 3D. Last but not least, I wanted a Smart TV, with internet capabilities and interactive applications that the whole family can enjoy.
What can you expect taking it Out of the Box?
Inside the box are all of the usual suspects; a TV monitor with optional display stand, the remote control, power cord, two AA batteries, the thick manual (written only in English), a quick start setup sheet and the miscellaneous warranty card. They also thoughtfully included a cleaning cloth to wipe away any fingerprints or dust the screen may incur.
Assembly of the stand was simple enough to assemble. The stand comes in one piece and easily slides into place. Connections to the blu-ray player, my FIOS, my Wii console and my home theater receiver were simple enough as I used HDMI cables for three of these devices, easily and digitally connecting the audio and video with a single wire for each receiver, and the component wires for the Wii. The TV comes with five different HDMI connections, one component, one RGB (for computer), one Ethernet, one composite AV connection and three USB inputs. There is also two different Audio Out connections which come in handy when using the internet applications on the television itself. Also, if you plan on using each of the monitor’s HDMI inputs for each of your devices, you would need an Audio out for your home theater receiver if you have one of these. I myself chose to use the different HDMI ports on my home theater receiver and then only one of the HDMI ports on this TV. I still needed the (fiber optical) audio out for the internet apps.
There’s a lot of setting up to do once you power up the remote with the two available AA batteries. First and foremost, get connected to the internet connection you have in your house. Since there is an Ethernet input on the back of the set, it can be as easy as a wire from your router to your TV. If you’re like me, and you want the least amount of wires possible, you’ll choose to connect wirelessly. Once connected, you’ll have to choose your favorite seventeen applications from the hundreds of applications available. Plus, VIA (Vizio Internet Applications) are being added throughout the year, so you’ll want to keep checking intermittently for possible new favorites. Plus you can have more than one profile. There is my profile with my favorite 17 apps, and then there is my wife’s profile with a whole set of different apps.
How good is the Video Quality?
For me, this is the best picture quality I have personally owned. It’s better than the Sharp LED, and light-years ahead of the Samsung DLPs that I owned. I think it has to do with the very black screen. When I first looked at the screen with the power off, I was worried because it is very black and very reflective. I was sure that this screen was going to reflect every little light, lamp or sunlight that may be in the room. Somehow, when the TV is powered on, there is no issue. How is this almost mirror surface not showing any light reflections? I don’t truly know and I don’t care. It may not make sense, but it is highly appreciated. My FIOS looked much better with a huge difference as far as the constant blurring during fast motion scenes were virtually eliminated. The blu-ray movies also received an upgrade with this image quality. After I calibrated the picture quality with my Disney World of Wonder Home theater optimizing Blu-ray, the video quality is nothing short of spectacular.
The viewing angle is for some reason a huge marketing draw for some televisions. They’ll boast that even if you’re sitting behind the TV, the picture will look the same as directly in front. While Vizio does not claim such extremes, there is hardly any depreciation from when I am sitting on my couch to 45° off to the side when I’m sitting at my desk writing epinions. Some of the major features:
☺ 480hz Motion Enhancement
Like I said above, this greatly improves the fast motion. Outside of plasma sets which usually have 600Hz, this is the highest I’ve seen in an LED monitor. For FIOS TV, this is an absolute necessity. For your Blu-ray viewing, which naturally owns a superior picture, you may notice that you need a bit of tweaking. Just about all of your movies and even your cable/satellite provided content can seem artificially sped up which is not only annoying, but also disorienting. In the Advanced Picture Settings you can adjust the levels of this feature. I have mine set on Middle (out of Off, Low, Middle and High), and it works perfect. There is also another setting for this with Real Cinema Mode, which gives you the options of Off, Precision or Smooth.
☺ Automatic Settings
I like that the TV has automatic settings that will intelligently deliver the best viewing experience:
~ Ambient Light Sensor: Detecting the light levels in your room, this will optimize the brightness of the TV’s backlight
~ Smart Dimming: This setting improves the contrast ratio intelligently depending on viewing material, giving better detail to every scene.
~ Adaptive Luma: Adjust the average brightness of the picture to compensate for large areas of brightness.
~ Noise Reduction: This diminishes artifacts in the video image caused by the digitizing of image motion content.
The quality of the 3D video, I have learned, greatly depends on the source. I have watched some amazing 3D video on FIOS from a film like Avatar, yet the same channel (HBO) also gave us the less impressive Gulliver’s Travels. Even via blu-ray, it depends on the source. The 3D Disney movies I have like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Christmas Carol and Tangled have to be seen to be believed, yet Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy was quite underwhelming. So, it’s hit or miss to say the least as far as quality, yet it’s at the very least an option of watching a film with a different aspect.
This is still a new toy for me, and believe me I have been watching as much as I can in the 3D mode. I have yet to feel any disorientation or discomfort such as headaches. This also goes for the rest of my family. The only complaint I’ve gotten was from my brother who complained after only three minutes of 3D viewing. His input remains highly suspect to me. The compatible glasses are the VSG-1 models, which weigh approximately two and a half ounces, compared to my prescription glasses at half an ounce could seem heavy, but they are actually quite comfortable. They sit in a way to give my four eyes the room and comfort they need, and when charged they give you reportedly 24 hours of continued use from a full charge.
Compared to the 3D we see in the theaters, this Vizio model kicks the theater’s butt in 3D quality. The theater technology is passive 3D, a slight step up from the old blue and red glasses from decades ago. This Vizio has the real3D with active shutter glasses that greatly improves the quality of your 3D viewing experience.
What’s the remote like?
The remote is a bulky six inch rectangle. There isn’t too many buttons on the remote, until you slide out the QWERTY keyboard hiding underneath. This comes in handy when searching for music, videos and other things within the internet applications. It is much more accommodating than clicking around the telephone like keys finding the characters that way. The fact that it is Bluetooth technology is another big plus. No matter who may be standing in front of the television, they cannot stop the power of Bluetooth.
What other features does this thing have?
The main features other than the stuff I mentioned in detail have to do with the internet applications. Some of my favorites include:
☺ Netflix: Granted that this is a service that costs an additional monthly fee, but in my opinion, well worth it. They have a nice selection of movies and television available for streaming that is being added to every week. My family and me have been enjoying Netflix for a long time now, and even though we have dropped the physical disc delivery service a while ago, we hardly miss it. The streaming content keeps us entertained all year long.
This is a Real Player subsidiary that allows you to listen to albums or select tracks of your favorite artists. You can listen without a paid subscription, yet there will be a limit without it.
☺ Other movies and TV available
With options such as Amazon Instant Video and Blockbuster, this gives you alternative (albeit more expensive) methods of watching your favorite downloaded TV and movies. I have tried Amazon since I had a credit for one movie. I found it a bit more cumbersome than Netflix as far as rewind and fast forward, and some other factors. At least Blockbuster has lower prices than Amazon, and a better selection it seems. Yet while Amazon prices vary for newer more popular movies, all of Blockbuster’s movies seem to go for $3.99 to rent or $17.99 to buy.
☺ Miscellaneous applications
I have Facebook, eBay, AOL HD, and one I use more than probably everything else iHeartRadio. There’s also Yahoo News, weather, Verse of the Day, just about anything you can think of. Although, I don’t remember seeing any games.
I should point out that I listen to anything and everything through my home theater receiver. My TV speakers are off. Yet, there was a time when my new toy and I were getting better acquainted that I didn’t know how to make my TV audio come through my home theater receiver, so I had all of my music, and movies via the Vizio apps come through my TV speakers. The speakers can get surprisingly loud, and there is a rich tone which rivals the stereo setting on my home theater receiver. The TV audio features SRS TruVolume, which eliminates levels between the different programming, and SRS TruSurround which imitates surround sound that you may get from a home theater receiver.
What sucks about the TV?
This is a fabulous television set, but it could be very complex. After these past 45 days and with all the experience that I had with this TV, I still hadn’t worked out all of the kinks. For instance, to assure audio travels from the TV to the home theater receiver, you need the fiber optic audio wire which is capable of all audio formats. You also need to calibrate the settings in the Vizio to turn off the TV speakers, find the device it is going to be outputted to, (in this case a Sony Audio Receiver), and then to make sure you have the right settings, you test the audio receiver by pressing the volume button. If the volume goes up and down, you tell the TV it’s the right one and you’re set. Except now, no matter what I am watching, be it FIOS, blu-ray or Netflix via the Vizio, when I press the volume button, it mutes the audio receiver. Why does it do this? I have no idea. I have since input the same settings over and over again, and on the fourth time I set this up, I don’t seem to have this problem. I don’t know why it happened to begin with, and I don’t know why it’s fixed now.
I also do not like that when I opt to watch 3D content, the Vizio does not automatically sense it and adjust on its own. It does sense it, but then it gives me some choices. Firstly, do I want to watch this in 3D?. After I select YES, it wants to know what kind of 3D is it, side by side, Top/Bottom or Sensio 3D format. You better know what you’re watching. FIOS uses the side by side, where if you look without 3D you’ll see two separate but identical images side by side which merge into one when you have a 3D capable monitor. The blu-rays use the Sensio, which is like a stereo-optic image. I have yet to come across a top/bottom display. I just wish there was a setting that will automatically sense what the display is, and choose the correct 3D format. Actually if there is such a setting, I am unaware of it.
I don’t know why newer monitors are not including S-video. I still have a PS2 that I would love to hook up to this, yet here we are again without a S-video connection. Is there any other way to hook up the PS2?
These are the only three factors I have come across, yet having said this, I have not fully explored the complete settings capabilities of this set. So I may update in the future when I come across any problems.
Out of all of the HDTV’s I have owned, this Vizio television monitor is, hands down, the best picture, and with the most bells and whistles I have come across. The only thing that the older Sharp has that this doesn’t is the amazing customer service built into the TV, as an application. You cannot top that, only match it and Vizio hasn’t done so here. Actually I have yet to contact Vizio for any reason, so I’m not sure how their customer service is yet, perhaps this will also be updated in the future if and when I do contact them.
I couldn’t be happier with this wonderful machine. I love the 3D, I love the 2D, and the internet applications are much fun.
Update: Firmware Download
Around the 7th of December this year we experienced a firmware update download. Our firmware went from MP-XP2.7.9_RC1 to the newer mp-via3d-xp184.108.40.206-s. This download gave us a YouTube application as well as a Skype app. I played around with the YouTube, but I am still working on the Skype.
Basic Specs taken from Vizio website:
1080p, 1080i, 720P, 480P, 480i
Dynamic Contrast Ratio:
SRS TruSurround HD™:
2 x 15W
Connections - Inputs (REAR)
HDMI with HDCP:
RF Connector for Internal Tuner:
1 - 10/100 Mb/s
Connections - Inputs (SIDE)
HDMI with HDCP:
Connections - Outputs
Optical Digital Out (SPDIF):
Analog Audio Out:
Future feature via firmware upgrade
Future feature via firmware upgrade
Future feature via firmware upgrade
Yes, 120 zones
Yes (HDMI - 1 only)
Ambient Light Sensor:
802.11n Dual Band, 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Wireless HD (1.0):
Type of 3D:
VIZIO Full HD 3D
Net With Stand:
52.18"W x 35.12"H x 13.11"D
52.18"W x 33.28"H x 2.99"D
57.08"W x 40.59"H x 16.92"D
CSA, CSA-US, FCC Class B, BQB, HDMI 1.4 incl. CEC/ARC
Energy Star 4.1, ATSC Spec A/65, EIA/CEA-766-A
Wall Mount Specifications
200mm X 400mm
One Year Parts & Labor; Free Lifetime Technical Support