Vizio P46 review: Vizio P46

  • 1

The Good Solid feature package with individual memory for each input; great color decoding; decent video processing with 3:2 pull-down; relatively inexpensive.

The Bad Inadequate picture controls; poor black-level performance; significant noise and false-contouring artifacts; low resolution.

The Bottom Line V's low-resolution 46-inch plasma has some picture-quality issues, but its price is pretty attractive.

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6.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 5

V follows its compelling Bravo D1, the first DVI-equipped DVD player, with the Vizio P4 flat-panel plasma TV. While the Bravo D1 is unique, the Vizio P4 definitely is not. Like its Gateway competitor and the BenQ PDP-46W1, the P4 has a low resolution and a comparatively bargain price. You won't find much difference between the three. They're all good values if your main concern is a big picture on a flat panel, but people seeking a quality home-theater display should look elsewhere.

The 46-inch screen's silver frame has a large V logo at the bottom center. A few function buttons are strung along the lower right. The panel is 3.75 inches deep, so you can easily wall-mount it with its $199 special bracket. The unit can also rest on a tabletop; unlike Gateway, V includes a stand.

On the other hand, Gateway's remote is quite a bit more impressive than V's, which is smallish, has tiny buttons, and lacks illumination. Scrolling to your desired input is a chore, and the menu system is a frustrating jumble of icons and often grayed-out picture controls. The V and BenQ 46-inchers come with identical remotes.

With an 852x480-pixel native resolution, the P4 can handle every DVD detail but, like almost all plasmas, can't fully resolve HDTV. Of course, the panel can still accept and display HDTV, TV, and computer sources. Because the set has a 42-inch model's pixel count but is considerably bigger, the pixels are larger and more visible.

For a plasma, the P4 does have a nice feature package. Its built-in NTSC tuner, for receiving standard television signals, is complete with PIP (picture in picture). High-definition TV requires a separate tuner. There's also an onboard audio system with internal speakers. You can set the color temperature to Warm, Standard, Cool, or User; the last option lets a technician tweak the grayscale. Each input has independent memory, so you can individually optimize the pictures of different video sources.

One set of component-video inputs and one DVI jack with HDCP copy protection head up the connectivity list. Finishing off the ins are two for A/V (one with S-Video), one for 15-pin D-Sub VGA computer hookup, and one for RF antenna connection. Finally, you get an RS232 control port.

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