The free Pandora service also worked well in our testing, syncing custom stations with our online account. Neither audio app lets you run other apps or sources simultaneously, and neither does video from Synch TV Kids, which features full episodes of animated titles like "Babar" and "Class of the Titans."
We did experience some hiccups, such as when we couldn't fast-forward or rewind within a Netflix video, when a big "Missing" icon came up behind the Pandora playback screen, when an app called "FreeStreamMedia" displayed "Coming Soon" and no other content, or when we saw strange interference patterns or missing backgrounds on the icons in the apps bar. But in general the streaming experience on the 2XVT series was very good.
Unlike most other Internet-enabled TVs, the 2XVT series currently does not offer streaming of your music, photos and video via a home network (DLNA) or USB stick.
|Other: At press time there were 15 total non-streaming widgets, including 13 Yahoo widgets with 3 games, eBay and more; MediaBox allows access to Picasa accounts|
Although Samsung has also appropriated the popular "apps" title for TVs, Vizio arrived at the Apple iPhone nomenclature imitation party first. It calls its platform VIA, for "Vizio Interactve Apps," although in our book the "I" could stand for "integrated." VIA is the most tightly woven Internet TV experience we've tested yet, and acts like Yahoo Widgets should have all along (see that writeup for basic information).
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 task bar 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 15 apps. That said, it can still be a pain scrolling through a lot of Apps in the bar to find the one you want; we'd like an alternate multi-app tile view as well, similar to Samsung's interface.
Notable nonstreaming apps include eBay and another (for now) Vizio exclusive: Facebook. It can show your wall, photos, profile info, friends, and news feed. You can also update your status from within the app. We'd like to see slideshow functionality, basic messaging or chat, but the basics are here and we had no problem using it.
Most of the other initial apps are Yahoo widgets, including information utilities and three games (all reviewed separately here). Picasa access comes courtesy of an app called MediaBox, which functions basically the same.
|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||6 point|
|Gamma presets||0||Color management system||No|
The selection here is fairly standard, aside from the ridiculous number of picture modes Vizio offers. The Custom setting is independent per input, and four of the other eight are named after sports; although they don't appear pre-adjusted to improve picture quality while watching golf or football, for example. 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.
|Power saver mode||No||Ambient light sensor||No|
|Picture-in-picture||Yes||On-screen user manual||No|
|Other: Help section includes Guided Setup|
Vizio lacks that trendy "Eco" subsection in its menu, although power consumption is quite efficient without it (see below). Picture-in-picture is becoming rarer these days, so that's nice to see. Onscreen help consists mainly of step-by-step setup guides for the remote, network and more, and while the paper manual is (as usual for Vizio) clear and well-written, we'd love to see better onscreen help options within individual apps, too.
|HDMI inputs||4 back, 1 side||Component video inputs||1 back|
|Composite video input(s)||1 back||S-video input(s)||1 back|
|VGA-style PC input(s)||1 back||RF input(s)||1|
|AV output(s)||1 stereo audio||Digital audio output||1 optical|
|USB port||3 side (inactive)||Ethernet (LAN) port||Yes|
The 55-incher's 5 HDMI inputs (the 47-inch model has four) trump the competition, for what it's worth. While an additional component-video input would be nice, that lack is balanced for some buyers by the presence of a rare S-video input. We do wish the company would activate the USB ports for media streaming, but since previous models have had this feature, we'd be surprised if Vizio didn't activate it sometime soon.
We expected the 2XVT series to equal the picture quality of the company's VF551XVT, but that wasn't the case. We couldn't compare them directly, but based on our observations, previous measurements and comparisons to other models, the newer TV falls short of its predecessor's picture quality in a couple of key areas. Its black levels, while plenty deep and better than most other LCDs, were still lighter than those of comparable local dimming displays; its color accuracy was a larger issue and its video processing with 1080p/24 sources took a turn for the worse. That said, the Vizio 2XVT still produces deep blacks, minimizes blooming and works like a champ in brighter rooms thanks to its matte screen. For the money, it's easily one of the best-performing LCDs available.
calibration leveraged the available built-in controls as well as possible, but the grayscale was still relatively uneven, with a pronounced bluish/greenish hitch in the middle (40-50 IRE) and reddish in dark areas (10 IRE). Our next suggestion for Vizio would be to implement a 10-point system, similar to LG and Samsung, to allow further evening of the grayscale. Gamma on the 2XVT is improved from last year's model (2.13 precalibration; 2.18 post), although it was also relatively uneven.
For our image quality tests we employed the Blu-ray of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" along with the following lineup of competing models.