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First Look: The E series LCD by Vizio

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First Look: The E series LCD by Vizio

2:26 /

The mainstream E series of LCD TVs by Vizio delivers decent picture quality, prolific Smart content and minimalist style.

David Katzmaier here. I'm sitting next to VIZIO's E420i-A1. This is one of the company's E series televisions. There's a few other screen sizes in the series including a 39, a 47, and a 50-inch. This review will apply to all of them. The E series comprises VIZIO's mid to entry level TVs for 2013. This set right here does have Smart TV along with built-in Wi-Fi. One of the things you'll notice right off the bat though is its pretty sleek styling. Along the edge of the screen is a nice thin frame here that makes it look similar to a lot of the other Samsung and LG TVs out there. Turn it to the side though you can see it's a direct LED TV, meaning that it's a lot thicker than the edge of LED TVs we've seen before. Just think of this TV as a standard LCD. You don't worry about the LED backlight because it really doesn't bring much to the table in terms of picture quality. VIZIO Smart TV suite brings an excellent selection of content including Amazon, Netflix, Vudu and a host of other lesser services. There's also quite a few audio services including Pandora and Rhapsody, as well as Skype, if you buy the optional camera. VIZIO also throws in built-in WiFi. Of course, you can also connect to an Ethernet cable. You usually do get better performance if you do decide to run the cable. Unlike a lot of the other VIZIO Smart TVs, however, this one does not include a flipside QWERTY keyboard on the remote control. VIZIO throws in plenty of picture presets, a lot of them named after sports although this set doesn't have quite the selection of advanced picture modes such as gamma control and a color management system seen on some of its competitors. In the settings menu, you will find something called Smart Dimming which controls this TV's local dimming functionality. Now, don't get too excited as I was when I first heard this TV has local dimming. When I tested it in the lab, that dimming didn't work all that well. In fact, it made the picture too dark, it crushed a lot of the shadow detail, so I ended up turning it off. Another disappointment on this TV is it's built to 120Hz set, but if you go into the menu you won't find any controls for smoothing, and the set does have the same motion resolution as a 60Hz television, so all told, I'm calling this a 60Hz TV despite VIZIO'S 120Hz claim. Aside from those issues, the picture quality of this TV looks pretty good for the price point. Black levels are relatively deep. The color accuracy wasn't quite as good as some VIZIOs we've seen, but again, pretty decent. I also appreciated the picture uniformity on the set. There aren't too many glaring bright spots and there's also pretty good performance for bright rooms, thanks to that matte screen. The E series input selection is modest. You do get 3 HDMI and 1 component video. There's no PC input, however, unless using HDMI slot with a digital output from your computer. It's a quick look at VIZIO's E0i-A1 series. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET.

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