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VIZIO Edge Lit Razor LED XVT3D650SV - 65 Class ( 64.5 viewable ) LED-backlit LCD TV review: VIZIO Edge Lit Razor LED XVT3D650SV - 65 Class ( 64.5 viewable ) LED-backlit LCD TV

VIZIO Edge Lit Razor LED XVT3D650SV - 65 Class ( 64.5 viewable ) LED-backlit LCD TV

David_Katzmaier.jpg
David Katzmaier
David_Katzmaier.jpg
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

10 min read

The 65-inch Vizio XVT3D650SV is the first TV in the U.S. to ship with "passive" 3D capability. Unlike the other mainstream 3D TVs of 2010, which use "active" glasses that cost around $100 each, this big Vizio comes with four pairs of cheap polarized glasses, the same kind used by most 3D theaters. We've already taken an in-depth look at how the XVT3D650SV's 3D compares with an active 3D model, so we'll keep it brief here: while the Vizio has its advantages, we still liked the picture quality of active better.

Vizio XVT3D650SV
6.4

VIZIO Edge Lit Razor LED XVT3D650SV - 65 Class ( 64.5 viewable ) LED-backlit LCD TV

The Good

Accurate color in bright areas; passive 3D image brighter than active 3D TVs and showed less crosstalk than 3D LCDs; includes four pairs of passive 3D glasses; superb streaming and widget content via well-integrated apps platform; includes unique Bluetooth remote with slide-out QWERTY keyboard; integrated Wi-Fi; energy efficient.

The Bad

Smearing in fast motion; relatively light black levels; poor screen uniformity and off-angle viewing; glossy screen reflects ambient light; black areas tinged blue; couldn't handle 1080p/24 content properly; passive 3D image softer and more artifact-prone than active 3D TVs; fewer picture controls than some high-end HDTVs; generic looks.

The Bottom Line

The well-equipped Vizio XVT3D650SV is the first passive 3D TV and provides an intriguing alternative to active 3D models, but subpar 2D picture quality hurts its appeal.

Our main problem with this big Vizio, however, lies in its reproduction of 2D content, especially its propensity for smearing in fast motion--something we didn't expect from a 120Hz TV. Add to that a few other issues that separate it from Vizio's excellent, albeit 2D-only, XVT553SV, as well as a hefty price tag, and you have a package that loses some of its luster. Unless you must have the first, and biggest, passive 3D TV on the block, it's worth waiting for other 2011 examples, like LG's passive 65-inch 65LW6500.

Series information: This review will apply only to the 65-inch XVT3D650SV since it basically stands alone in Vizio's lineup, with no other screen sizes that have identical features. Its closest relatives we reviewed in 2010 hail from the XVT3SV series, which lacks 3D. Its closest 2011 relative is the XVT3D5 series, but those sets employ full-array LEDs, as opposed to edge-lit, and max out at 55 inches.

Design


Vizio's styling certainly isn't among the sleekest on the market.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Design highlights
Panel depth 2.3 inches Bezel width 2.2 inches
Single-plane face No Swivel stand No

The XVT3D650SV's exterior looks just like that of a smaller, 55-inch XVT3SV we tested last year, and while it's an improvement over some past Vizios, it's still pretty pedestrian by today's standards. The look is all-black, and the only real accent is a little rounded mound between the speakers along the bottom. Unlike most TV makers, Vizio has yet to hide its speakers, so as a result the frame is relatively chunky.

Edge-lit LED backlighting allows a thin 2.2-inch depth, which also contributes to the relatively light weight (105 pounds) of this 65-inch TV. For that reason we'd expect a swivel stand, but the Vizio doesn't have one.


This 65-inch TV is impressively slim at 2.2 inches deep.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Remote control and menus "="">Other: Remote has slide-out QWERTY keyboard and integrated control for other IR devices
Remote size (LxW) 6.3x2.2 inches Remote screen N/A
Total keys 91 Backlit keys 0
Other IR devices controlled "="">Yes RF control of TV Yes (Bluetooth)
Shortcut menu "="">No Onscreen explanations Yes

The 65-incher gets the same remote as all of Vizio's higher-end apps-equipped TVs, and of the clickers you can buy it's one of the best-stocked with features. Its main appeal is a full slide-out keyboard with dedicated keys for letters, numbers, and symbols, just like on a smartphone. Best of all, it's included with the TV for free, not as an expensive option like some other Internet-friendly remotes.


The chunky little remote hides a slide-out keyboard.

We found the thicker, heavier clicker reassuring in the hand. Its standard keys are easy to navigate and thoughtfully laid out, although we'd appreciate more differentiation by feel. The lack of any kind of illumination didn't help, and we missed having a dedicated key for aspect ratio.

The keyboard worked on all of the apps we tried, and although we found it more cramped and less responsive than, say, the keyboard on a typical smartphone, it's perfectly usable. It makes tweets, Facebook status updates, and username/password sign-ins so much easier than the standard remote/onscreen keyboard combo.

Bluetooth means the remote works without needing line-of-sight. Although we didn't test it, Vizio says the TV can pair with other Bluetooth devices like a full-size keyboard or stereo headphones. Vizio sells the XVTBH100 headphones for $99.

The universal aspect of the remote was also well thought out. Onscreen prompts, as opposed to long lists in the instruction manual, guide you through programming control codes for your devices; the volume and mute keys can "punch through" to operate external gear like an AV receiver. It lacks the full task-based functionality of a Harmony, but this TV remote still goes further than any we've tested toward emulating a good universal remote in the first place.

Vizio's menu system resembles another app in appearance and we liked that the picture settings section is actually integrated into the main app taskbar (see below). Responses were fast, explanations complete, and we had no problems finding our way around. In sum, the remote and menus were among the best we've used, and they surpass in many ways the efforts of more well-known brands.


With Vizio's integrated system, the TV settings (right) are found in the same menu as the apps.

Features

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Key TV features "="">Other Extra glasses currently $30 each
Display technology LCD LED backlight Edge-lit with local dimming
3D-compatible Yes 3D glasses included Four pairs
Screen finish Glossy Refresh rate 120Hz
Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes 1080p/24 compatible No
Internet connection Yes (built-in Wi-Fi) Wireless HDMI/AV connection No

Here's where the XVT3D650SV differs significantly from the Editors' Choice-winning, albeit 2D-only, XVT3SV series. The 3D650SV's main draw is passive 3D, allowing its 3D effect to be viewed through inexpensive, unpowered circular polarized lenses. How inexpensive? Vizio is currently charging $30 per pair on its Web site (although that should fall fast), and we found compatible eyewear online for $5 per pair and less. We had a pair of RealD glasses from a theater and they worked fine on the Vizio.

Unlike most other high-end Vizios the 3D650SV has an edge-lit LED backlight, not the full-array variety we liked so much on the XVT3SV. It does allow local dimming, however, and Vizio claims the TV has 32 "zones" that can be independently dimmed (more info). Another difference between the two comes in the form of the 3D650SV's glossy screen finish; we generally prefer matte LCD screens.

The XVT3D650SV's built-in Wi-Fi performed better than that of its predecessor, but significantly worse than the wired connection. The main issue we found was that during Netflix streaming, the TV took way too long (up to 2 to 3 minutes) to begin playing a program via Wi-Fi, while a Sony KDL-52NX800 with built-in Wi-Fi, for example, took around 20 seconds or so. Video quality and stability when using the Vizio's Wi-Fi was fine once the program began, however. We performed the testing below via the wired Ethernet connection, and while your Wi-Fi experience may differ from ours, we recommend going with Ethernet if you can.


Vizio includes four pairs of passive glasses with the XVT3D650SV.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Streaming media "="">Other: Synch TV Kids, Web Video, Craze TV Movies on Demand, RadioTime
Netflix Yes YouTube No
Amazon Video on Demand Yes Rhapsody Yes
Vudu (video) Yes Pandora Yes
CinemaNow No DLNA-compliant No
Blockbuster No USB No

Although it still lacks YouTube, the selection of streaming audio and video on Vizio's VIA platform is otherwise stellar.

The XVT3D650SV provided our first look at Vudu's 3D streaming service, and when we rented "Bolt" it worked as well as we expected. The Vizio's lower-resolution 3D combined with Vudu's half-res "side-by-side" format meant the image was much softer than the equivalent Vudu HDX 2D stream, but we were just happy to get another source of 3D content.

Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon VOD in 2D all exhibited the picture quality we expected, and we appreciated that many picture controls were available--including picture modes, backlight level and advanced controls like dejudder, but excluding contrast, brightness, color, and so on. Vizio treats these streaming services as a separate input, and unlike other such TVs can run other apps simultaneously, allowing you to use Twitter or check Facebook while watching Netflix, for example. Think of it as TV multitasking, or just think of streaming services as another TV channel.

We reviewed the Rhapsody app in our XVT3SV write-up and were pretty impressed, so this time we decided to check out TuneIn Radio by RadioTime, the same company that provides broadcast radio stations to Sonos. Despite relatively long (30- to 40-second) load times on occasion, for example, while it listed our numerous NYC radio stations, the app was excellent (similar to the iPhone version), delivering live streams of our local stations complete with upcoming schedules and even icons for shows where available. It can access thousands of stations nationwide, local and nonlocal, incorporates a Twitter feed for some stations, and even allows you to view the upcoming schedule. Streaming performance was mostly solid, although we did encounter occasional skipping on some stations.

None of the streaming audio services allow multitasking, however, so we were foiled in our attempt to tweet from the Vizio about RadioTime.

We detailed two of the "other" video streamers in the previous review as well. One app added since then, called Craze TV, promises streaming movies courtesy of Online Movies Box. If you care, you can check out its selection, but suffice it to say it's lighter than basic cable and with worse picture quality.

Blockbuster and CinemaNow are still "coming soon," for what it's worth, as is the long-promised ability to stream music, photos, and video via a home network (DLNA) or a USB stick.


The excellent TuneIn app by RadioTime delivers local radio stations via the TV. Too bad it can't play over a live TV program.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Internet apps "="">Other: At press time there were 30 total nonstreaming widgets, including 13 Yahoo widgets with three games, eBay, and more; MediaBox allows access to Picasa accounts
Yahoo widgets Yes Skype No
Vudu apps No Weather Yes
Facebook Yes News Yes
Twitter Yes Sports Yes
Photos Flickr/Picasa Stocks Yes

Our favorite apps platform of 2010 was Vizio's VIA interface, mainly because it delivered the most integrated experience. 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 taskbar 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 apps.

Since our last review the selection has improved even further, adding new nonstreaming apps like QVC home shopping, a CNBC stock ticker, and Fandango. Fandango showed upcoming showtimes for numerous theaters nearby and allowed us to buy tickets directly from many of them.

There are also a bunch of new games, although nothing along the lines of the OnLive functionality that will be included with Vizio's next-generation VIA Plus platform. Like all other Vizio TVs with the standard VIA platform, the XVT3D650SV will not be upgradable to VIA Plus.


Vizio allows you to run apps on top of other apps.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Picture settings
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 2 point
Gamma presets 0 Color management system No

The selection here is fairly standard in 2D, aside from the ridiculous number of picture modes Vizio offers. All are adjustable per input, so viewers who like to create different settings for all kinds of material and sources will have a lot to like. 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. Tweakers take note that the Ambient Light Sensor, which ships turned on by default, must be disabled before you can manually adjust the backlight setting.

Like most TV makers Vizio has disabled the local dimming function in 3D mode. We were disappointed, however, to find backlight, contrast, and brightness also not adjustable, along with pretty much every function from the Advanced menu (including dejudder, which is thankfully stuck in Off). You can tweak color, tint, sharpness, and color temperature in 3D, but that's about it.


Vizio's selection of picture settings in 2D doesn't break any new ground.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Other features "="">Other: Help section includes Guided Setup
Power-saver mode No Ambient light sensor Yes
Picture-in-picture Yes Onscreen user manual No

Vizio lacks that trendy "Eco" subsection in its menu, although power consumption is quite efficient without it (see below) and the company did add an ambient light sensor. Picture-in-picture is becoming rarer these days, so that's nice to see. Onscreen help consists of step-by-step setup guides for the remote, network, and more, and while the paper manual and accompanying Quick Start Guide are, as usual for Vizio, clear and well-written, we'd love to see better onscreen help options within individual apps too.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Connectivity
HDMI inputs 5 Component video inputs 1
Composite video input(s) 1 S-video input(s) 0
VGA-style PC input(s) 1 RF input(s) 1
AV output(s) 1 audio Digital audio output 1 optical
USB port 3 Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

Much like Samsung's edge-lit LED-based LCDs (see the UNC6500 models, for example), the Vizio XVT3D650SV has an L-shaped jack pack with HDMI and USB ports facing to the side, the other ports facing down, and all arranged so the cables run parallel to the panel, instead of plugging in perpendicularly. The fifth HDMI is a nice touch in a world where other high-end TVs make do with four. On the other hand analog sources get short shrift; there's just one composite and one component port, which share a single audio input.


On this slim Vizio the connection bay seems a bit cramped.


The company still manages to slip in five HDMI ports, though.

Performance
The 65-inch Vizio XVT3D650SV turned in significantly worse picture quality than the company's 55-inch XVT553SV, our Editors' Choice LCD, and only part of the difference can be blamed on the former's edge-lit LED display. We suspect the edge-lit scheme contributed to the 65-incher's inferior black levels and uniformity, but it can't explain the smearing effect we saw (see the video processing section). Compared with other high-end LCD and plasma TVs, the Vizio's highly accurate color in bright areas can't save its 2D picture quality from mediocrity.

TV settings: Vizio XVT3D650SV

Calibration of the XVT3D650SV was relatively simple due to its already-accurate Movie preset, which delivered a linear albeit somewhat reddish grayscale, and excellent overall gamma (2.2 average, matching the target exactly). Our tweaks evened out the grayscale further and brought it to within a breath of perfect everywhere but the darkest areas, and despite a slightly worse average gamma (2.17) we were able to smooth the gamma curve overall. Vizio lacks a color management system so we couldn't tweak the slightly inaccurate primaries of red and blue.

For our image quality tests in 2D we checked out "The Town" on Blu-ray.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Comparison models (details)
Panasonic TC-P65VT25 65-inch plasma
Samsung UN55C8000 55-inch edge-lit local dimming LED
Vizio XVT553SV 55-inch full-array local dimming LED
LG 47LX9500 47-inch full-array local dimming LED
LG 50PX50 50 inch plasma
Samsung PN50C8000 50-inch plasma
Pioneer PRO-111FD (reference) 50-inch plasma

Black level: Compared with the other sets in our lineup the Vizio delivered the lightest shade of black. Letterbox bars, deep shadows, and black areas appeared visibly lighter than on the Samsung UNC8000, PNC8000, and LG PX950--the three next-lightest in our lineup--and significantly lighter than the rest. In Chapter 3 as Claire and Doug walk the town after their date, for example, the night sky and their black jackets, as well as the waters of the bay, all appeared a good deal brighter than on the rest of the TVs. The differences were less obvious in bright scenes, of course, aside from the letterbox bars.

Details in the shadows, Claire's black hair and Doug's peacoat, were relatively accurate, and appeared less obscured than on the Samsung UNC8000, for example.

On another positive note, we didn't notice much overt blooming as a result of the edge-lit local dimming scheme; the bright areas in dark backgrounds remained relatively contained. Sure, when we looked closely at letterbox bars we saw them shift in brightness at times, but the effect wasn't distracting for normal viewing.

Color accuracy: This area proved the XVT3D650SV's strongest. The big TV rendered skin tones, such as Claire's face during the date, as well as most of the TVs in our lineup, and better than the Samsung UNC8000. Primary and secondary colors also looked accurate enough, despite the slightly off measurement of red and blue.

As usual for an LED-based TV, the big Vizio's main color weakness was a blue tinge in black and near-black areas, which looked worse than on any of the other TVs. For example, as the couple sits in the car (36:40), the entire right and left sides of the big image seemed dipped in a blue wash, which even spilled over onto the back of Doug's neck. Part of the problem was the Vizio's poor uniformity; the bright edges and corners were bluer than the darker middle.

Video processing: The XVT3D650SV suffered from an artifact we haven't seen on any TV we've tested recently. We'll call it smearing, and while it occurred with many instances of relatively quick motion across the screen, it was particularly visible in faces. When Agent Frawley walks toward the map in Chapter 2, for example (13:00), the details in his face softened and smeared the edges as his head quickly jostled from side to side. The same thing happened in Chapter 3 with Doug's face in the Laundromat and later when he walks Claire along the bridge. The smearing wasn't confined to faces either; we saw it in numerous other moving areas, like the swaying black tracksuit of James in Chapter 4. We saw similar issues even in 3D; in the face of the dropship sergeant from Chapter 1 of "Avatar," for example.

The problem persisted regardless of whether we engaged Smooth Motion processing. None of the other LCDs (including Vizio's own XVT3SV) exhibited this problem.

Judging from the solid motion-resolution scores the smearing problem is independent of refresh rate. In our motion resolution test the Vizio was good for a 120Hz LCD, hitting between 900 and 1,000 lines when we engaged any of the Smooth Motion Effect settings. Turning off said effect lowered the result, as expected, to between 300 and 400 lines. As usual we had a tough time discerning between these two with normal program material.

The dejudder processing on the XVT3D650SV performed much like that of the XVT3SV we tested last year. Vizio equips the TV with a pair of controls related to dejudder, which it calls Smooth Motion Effect--with Low, Medium, and High settings--and Real Cinema Mode--with settings called Precision and Smooth. As with most such processing, we prefer to leave it off for film-based movies, where smoothing can make it look too much like video. The Low setting, when we did engage the control, produced the fewest artifacts and least objectionable effect and even preserved some judder, whereas higher settings piled on the processing.

Again like the XVT3SV, the XVT3D650SV couldn't handle 1080p/24 sources properly. Disabling dejudder processing on a 120Hz TV should cause it to implement proper film cadence, but that didn't work in this case. Instead, during the helicopter flyover from "I Am Legend," the Vizio introduced the characteristic hitching pan of 2:3 pull-down. None of the other settings we tried could handle 1080p/24 correctly, either; they all introduced smoothing.

Uniformity: The XVT3D650SV showed some of the worst uniformity across the screen of any TV we've tested. In dark scenes the brighter corners and sides showed up quite obviously, and in any bright scenes with flat fields and camera movement, vertical banding showed up as uneven strips of lighter and darker areas.

Seen from off-angle the screen lost black-level fidelity faster than any of the other LCDs in our lineup, and showed some color shift toward red.

Bright lighting: Vizio chose to front its big 65-incher with a glossy screen finish, which doesn't do the TV any favors under the lights. Reflections were as strong those on the LG LX9500 and worse than any of the others, including the Samsung UNC8000. The Vizio preserved black levels relatively well, albeit not as well as the Samsung LCD.

Standard-definition: The set did relatively well on our standard-def tests, delivering the full resolution of DVD but looking a tad soft on the detail shot of the grass and stone bridge. Jaggies on moving diagonal lines and a waving American flag were kept to a happy minimum, and noise reduction functioned well to clean up the low-quality shots of skies and sunsets. The set engaged film mode, detecting 2:3 pull-down, properly.

PC: Via HDMI, the Vizio performed as well as any 1080p display should, resolving every line of a 1,920x1,080-pixel source with crisp details and no overscan. On the other hand we couldn't get the TV to accept the signal of our test laptop (a Lenovo T61) via its VGA-style PC input. We tried sending the signal normally, as well as setting up another TV first at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, then switching cables to the Vizio, and in both cases the display read "Invalid Format." Since the manual states the TV can accept 1,920x1,080-pixel signals via VGA, we assume some PCs will work.

TEST RESULT SCORE
Before color temp (20/80) 6234/6378 Good
After color temp 6527/6567 Good
Before grayscale variation 143 Good
After grayscale variation 49 Good
Color of red (x/y) 0.627/0.326 Average
Color of green 0.298/0.611 Good
Color of blue 0.16/0.065 Average
Overscan 0.0% Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Y Good
480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps Pass Good
1080i video resolution Pass Good
1080i film resolution Pass Good

Power consumption: As we expect from any LED-based TV, the XVT3D650SV is extremely efficient. It used a few bucks per year of energy more than smaller LCDs we tested, significantly fewer than smaller plasmas, and less than a third of the energy draw of an equivalent-size plasma. Unfortunately we weren't able to test its power use with 3D by press time, but when we do we'll update this section.

Juice box
Vizio XVT3D650SV Picture settings
Default Calibrated Power Save
Picture on (watts) 214.84 125.48 N/A
Picture on (watts/sq. inch) 0.12 0.07 N/A
Standby (watts) 0.79 0.79 N/A
Cost per year $47.72 $28.13 N/A
Score (considering size) Good
Score (overall) Average

3D picture quality
We've already compared the Vizio's passive 3D with that of the excellent Panasonic TC-P65VT25 in an extensive side-by-side look, so the following section will concentrate on how it stacks up against other active 3D sets. For this comparison we used the same lineup mentioned above, although we substituted the Sony KDL-46NX810 for the non-3D Vizio XVT553SV.

The LCD TVs in our comparison all showed more crosstalk than the Vizio in scenes like the nighttime worms in Chapter 2 of "Imax: Under the Sea" (17:35), although the Sony was the closest to the Vizio of the lot. The LG and Samsung plasma were about the same as the Vizio in these scenes, but the difference was relatively subtle. The Vizio's crosstalk showed up as blue once again.

The image on the Vizio was subjectively brighter in 3D than on any of the other TVs, including the LCDs--no mean feat considering the Vizio's significantly larger size (big TVs are usually dimmer than small ones). On the other hand, all of the TVs in our comparison delivered darker black levels in 3D than the Vizio, leading to images with more pop and contrast. Given the choice between brightness and contrast, we'll take the latter nine times out of ten since dimming the lights--something we recommend doing anyway whenever possible to improve picture quality--can make just about any image seem "bright enough."

Colors were quite accurate in 3D on the Vizio, which outdid all but the LG plasma in this regard. Of course color saturation wasn't as rich as on some of the models with superior black levels, but it was still very good.

In other areas, particularly resolution, artifacts, and off-angle performance, the passive Vizio performed worse than any of the active models (see the writeup linked above for more details). As usual with 3D our tests were entirely subjective; we're still working on implementing objective measurements.

Read more about how we test TVs.

Vizio XVT3D650SV
6.4

VIZIO Edge Lit Razor LED XVT3D650SV - 65 Class ( 64.5 viewable ) LED-backlit LCD TV

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Performance 4
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