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Vizio 42" v. Sony 40"?

by dee723 / November 27, 2009 5:33 PM PST

Hi -- I'd like to buy an LCD HD tv this weekend, in the 40-42" range. This will be my first HD tv. I want the HD mainly for watching sports, esp. tennis.

I also want to buy only from Costco. My choices are these:
the Vizio 42" VL420M, or the
Sony KDL-40VL160. This is a "big box store" model that is similar to the KDL-40Z4100 from 2008.

Both are 120hz. The Sony is more expensive, but not significantly so.

Some Sony models have had problems with Auto dimming, but I believe that you can turn that feature off on the VL160.

The Vizio's dynamic contrast ratio is 50,000:1, the Sony's is 30,000:1.

I've read mixed things about both models. My foremost concern is picture quality, esp. when tracking an object such as a tennis ball, but I am also interested in sound (does anyone know where the speakers are located on either of these models?), screen reflectivity, etc.

Costco on-line also has a 40" Sharp, the LC40e77u, for a comparable price. I'd consider that too.

Any advice? Thanks in advance for your help. I am committed to buying from Costco, so no need to comment about other vendors.

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Pay no attention to "dynamic" contrast ratio numbers.
by minimalist / November 28, 2009 12:02 AM PST
In reply to: Vizio 42" v. Sony 40"?

There is no established standard for such measurements so manufacturers can pretty much do whatever they want and come up with absurdly large numbers. Its a marketing gimmick more than anything else.

If you can find the static contrast ratio (usually a much smaller number than the one listed as dynamic) that is a legitimate way to compare picture quality. Otherwise go to the store ask for the remote controls and try digging around in the settings to get a better idea of what the picture might be like at home.

Sony's auto dimming is indeed obnoxious so make sure you can turn it off in the settings. Ironically, its these auto dimming tactics (stepping down the intensity of the fluorescent backlighting in darker scenes) that allows sony to [public higher dynamic contrast ratio numbers. But you can clearly see the stepping effect and its more annoying than having a less black screen if you ask me.

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42" Vizio v. 40" Sony - dynamc contrast nos.
by dee723 / November 29, 2009 2:11 AM PST

Thank you for the info, minimalist. I had been leaning toward the Sony, and your answer helped to confirm the decision -- I bought the Sony yesterday.

Thanks again!

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42" Vizio v. 40" Sony
by dee723 / November 29, 2009 2:21 AM PST

minimalist: thanks also for the comment about the auto-dimming issue. I had read a lot of complaints about it in reference to other Sony models. (Since the VL160 is basically a Costco/Sam's Club model no., there is not a lot of info. out there specifically on the 160). I did contact Sony before I bough the 160, and they assured me that the auto-dimming problem had been fixed for this model. That seems likely, since Sony released its firmware fix in March '09 and released the 160 in May '09. But if it is still a problem, I will have 90 days in which to return the Sony.

Again, thanks.

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