The Good Extremely inexpensive for a 42-inch plasma; plenty of connectivity with three HDMI and one PC input; accurate color decoding; relatively clean image with little low-level video noise.
The Bad No aspect ratio control for HD sources; highly inaccurate green primary color and poor grayscale tracking mar overall color accuracy.
The Bottom Line The Vizio VP422 is a 42-inch plasma with a rock-bottom price tag and picture quality that, while certainly not perfect, should satisfy casual viewers.
Vizio has taken aggressive pricing to a new level of low. The company's VP422, a 42-inch flat-panel plasma HDTV, can be had for the extremely low price of $799. While this set doesn't have the picture quality to qualify as the centerpiece of a home theater, it certainly could be a reasonable choice for a bedroom set or a secondary set in the family or living room. In the plus column the Vizio demonstrated relatively deep black levels, while on the minus side its overall color fidelity certainly leaves something to be desired. The price is difficult to beat, however, and helps make the VP422 an excellent value in the 42-inch plasma category.
Vizio's VP422 comes finished in a high-gloss black, which seems to be the finish of choice in flat-panel HDTVs these days rather than the silver of a year or two ago. An ego light in the form of Vizio's logo is located directly below the center of the screen, and glows orange when in standby, and changes to white when turned on. Personally I would like to be able to turn it off entirely. The speaker grilles at the very bottom of the chassis below the screen are actually finished in a matte rather than glossy black.
The remote control, as you might expect, is quite basic. The shape is short and squat as opposed to long and slender like most other HDTV clickers, and it too sports a high-gloss black finish to match the panel. Most of the thumb action takes place near the top of the unit, where there's a Menu button at the center of four directional arrows. Direct-access keys to the inputs are located above the menu button at the very top of the remote, and Channel and Volume are just below the arrow keys. The internal menu system is very straightforward and easy to navigate.
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