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First Look: Vizio XVT553SV

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First Look: Vizio XVT553SV

3:59 /

The Vizio XVT3SV series' excellent picture quality, thoughtful design, scads of features, and reasonable price combine to make the best value among high-end LED-based LCD TVs today.

-I'm David Katzmaier, senior editor at CNET, and this is the Vizio XVT3SV series. It's the 55-inch version right here. There's also a 47 and a 42 in the series. This review will apply to all the screen sizes. It's Vizio's flagship 2D TV for 2010. It has oodles of features. We'll get to those in a little bit, but I first wanna point out Vizio has redesigned this TV cover to that silver speaker bar found on previous models. This one is all black including the bottom where the speakers are subtly blended in along with the rest of the black. It's also a lot thinner. If you look at it from the side, it's about 3 inches deep, which isn't quite as thin as some of those other LED-based LCD TVs out there, but it's still pretty slim. This TV does use LED technology with local dimming. Again, we'll talk about that in the performance section, but feature-wise, the real thing to talk about here is the VIA (Vizio Internet Apps System). System includes the usual suspects such as Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, VUDU. All those things can be streamed live to the TV. There's also a Rhapsody music subscription service, which is exclusive to Vizio. It also includes Pandora and a host of other non-streaming apps including Wikipedia search. There's Facebook, eBay, and a bunch of other things you can do with this TV including play games, etc., etc. New apps were downloaded into the bar. It'll get a little notification icon which is pretty cool. There's also the bar that appears along the bottom of the screen here. It does also appear over other apps so, for example, you can check out Facebook or write a tweet while you're watching Netflix stream, which is pretty much exclusive to Vizio as well that sort of multitasking. The TV has built-in Wi-Fi, so if you don't have Ethernet right at your TV, you can use your Wi-Fi connection. It does work pretty darn well, though, you know, we do prefer Ethernet for the most robust connection. The other exclusive to this TV is the remote control that opens up here. It does have a full QWERTY keyboard, so you can actually type and do search terms and passwords and that sort of stuff a lot easier than you would with the typical TV that requires you to use a virtual keypad in the TV's remote control, so this remote is a real step-up for this thing. The TV also has bluetooth, so you don't have to aim the remote directly at the TV and it also should interface with some bluetooth devices such as headphones and some other stuff. In the future, Vizio will be adding that functionality. It will also be adding the functionality to stream from the USB and your home network, although it doesn't do that yet. Most other TVs in this league do. Inputs were extensive on the Vizio. You got 5 total HDMI, 4 on the back and 1 on the side as well as 1 component video input and a PC input. In terms of other features, the picture settings on this TV are relatively sparse for a very high-end TV. It has a simple 2-point grayscale adjustment, although we found that it has a plenty of adjustments for most people and oodles of picture settings. There're actually 9 different picture presets you can play around with. One other cool thing about the picture settings is that it is integrated directly into the apps interface, so you get that nice sleek 1 menu system where everything is pretty much accessible from 1 button and it all makes it really easy to find. In our lab test, the Vizio performed very well. It does have nice deep black levels. Again, thanks to that LED with local dimming technology. It does produce a nice deep shade of black that's especially visible in dark rooms and dark scenes. It does have a little bit of blooming where the light leaks in the black areas in some scenes, but that's really not that distracting and relatively rare. Another strength of this TV is the color accuracy. It's accurate both up and down the grayscale in dark and light areas. It also has very good color points and solid saturations; so all told, some of the best color we've seen this year. When seen from off angle, the Vizio does tend to washout a little bit and that blooming does intensify. The Vizio's screen is also excellent for bright rooms, so if you're in a room with a lot of lights that hit the screen, the matte does a very good job of cutting that down and reducing glare. It also preserves black levels relatively well. So, for bright rooms, Vizio is a solid choice. Anyway, that's a quick look at the Vizio XVT3SV series and I'm David Katzmaier.

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