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Vizio SV0XVT review: Vizio SV0XVT

Vizio SV0XVT

David Katzmaier
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming
David runs CNET's home entertainment division, where he leads a team that covers TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home audio. If he doesn't know something about the gear you use to keep yourself entertained at home, it's not worth knowing.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
11 min read

Editors' note: The rating on this review has been lowered because of changes in the competitive marketplace.


Vizio SV0XVT

The Good

Inexpensive for a 120Hz LCD; highly accurate color; plenty of picture adjustments including extensive dejudder controls; comprehensive connectivity including four HDMI inputs and a PC input.

The Bad

Reproduces a lighter shade of black; some artifacts with dejudder processing; poor off-angle viewing; somewhat pedestrian design.

The Bottom Line

The Vizio SV470XVT represents a viable alternative for LCD TV bargain hunters who want 120Hz processing.

Budget flat-panel powerhouse Vizio is breaking into the lucrative realm of high-end HDTVs with its XVT line, comprised of a 50-inch plasma we detailed at CES and a pair of LCDs, including the model reviewed here, the 47-inch SV470XVT. Equipped with a lot of glossy black, a slicker menu system, a redesigned remote, and the 120Hz dejudder processing also found on high-end models from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Mitsubishi, this Vizio makes a strong bid on paper to compete with the big boys. In many ways it succeeds, starting with excellent color and generally good video processing, notwithstanding some dejudder fits and starts. And while the Vizio can't match the black levels of many competing displays, its competitive pricing--this is the least-expensive 120Hz equipped HDTV currently on the market--enhances its appeal for folks seeking the smoothness.

Vizio slimmed down the chunky frame that typically surrounds the screens of its televisions, spending little more than an inch of glossy black plastic on all four sides. The lower section of the TV's cabinet consists of matte black speakers flaking a silver, perforated panel that bulges out slightly from the plane of the frame. The Vizio logo lights up orange when the TV is off and white when it's on, and unlike with some previous models, the light can't be defeated. The set's appearance is attractive enough and a cut above most other Vizio offerings, but still not on the same design level as most models from Sony, LG, or Samsung.

Including the non-swiveling, glossy black stand, the Vizio SV470XVT measures 43.9 inches wide by 29.7 inches tall by 10 inches deep, while without it the panel measures 43.9 inches tall by 28.1 inches wide by 4 inches deep.

A redesigned remote is one of the first indications that Vizio is aiming for the higher-end. The slim remote control included with the SV470XVT wasn't our favorite, however, mainly because of the loud, cheap-sounding clicks that accompanied every press of the illuminated orange cursor control. The button layout is OK, and happily includes four buttons along the top to directly access input types such as HDMI and component-video, but gaffes like a too-prominent "5.1" button (for attaching an optional wireless speaker system; the button seemed like an advertisement) and an undifferentiated crowd of miniscule, dual-function keys at the bottom made us less happy.

The company has revamped its menu system for the XVT models, squeezing it onto the left side of the screen and improving the graphics. The menus' usability has taken a step backward, however. We found ourselves annoyed at the fact that you can only see one parameter at a time and that too much scrolling is required to access all of the settings.

Vizio SV470XVT
The antijudder circuit has three strengths and a Real Cinema Mode to balance smoothing and artifacts.

Vizio equipped the SV470XVT with a 120Hz refresh rate and the accompanying dejudder processing, which is one of the most popular step-up features among LCD TVs this year. The processing can smooth out judder inherent in moving video, especially film, and can also help alleviate blurring in motion (see Performance for more details). As expected, this 47-inch HDTV also has 1080p native resolution, although at this screen size the benefits of 1080p are nearly impossible to discern.

Vizio SV470XVT
Sports-themed picture modes, for what they're worth, include Football, Baseball, Basketball and Golf. Once again, Hockey gets the shaft.

A good selection of picture adjustment settings is on hand, including a whopping nine fully adjustable picture modes. Four of these modes, Golf, Baseball, Basketball, and Football, serve to perpetuate the mistaken notion that picture settings can be optimized for particular sports. The default settings for these modes are basically the same with some minor differences--all of the sports except basketball accentuate green, for example, and for some reason Golf gets two more pips of sharpness than the others. In case you're wondering, we detected no discernable benefit to watching a Football game in said mode as opposed to, say, Golf mode, but it's nice to have the extra adjustability afforded by four additional picture modes, regardless of their names. Unfortunately, none of the picture modes are independent per input.

We liked that Vizio included adjustments for all four of the color temperature presets, allowing you to tweak them to your liking. There's also a range of options that should mostly be left off for high-quality sources. There are three strengths of noise reduction, four Color Enhancement modes (each messes with color decoding; we preferred Off since it didn't introduce red push), an Advanced Adaptive Luma setting that adjusts gamma in dark areas (again, Off proved best), and an Enhanced Contrast Ratio setting we left off since it caused black levels to fluctuate according to program content.

Vizio SV470XVT
The extra-tweaky viewer can adjust Red, Green, and Blue for each of the four color temperature modes.

Aspect ratio control on the SV470XVT is disappointing, with only two options available for HD sources and four for standard-definition. In Vizio's favor, the default HD mode, labeled "Wide," does not scale 1080i and 1080p sources or introduce overscan, but we wish there was another mode at least that provided some overscan, for those channels with interference along the extreme edges of the image.

We're also disappointed that Vizio didn't include an energy-saver mode, or offer a home/store option during initial setup, both of which are available on many bigger-name HDTVs and really help cut down on power consumption. We did appreciate the inclusion of a versatile picture-in-picture option, however.

Vizio SV470XVT
Two HDMI inputs, a PC input, and one component-video jack share space on the back panel of the Vizio.

Four total HDMI inputs highlight the connectivity of the Vizio SV470XVT. The company located only two on the back panel and placed the other two on the side, apparently to serve people who regularly need to temporarily connect more than one HDMI device (we prefer the standard 3 back/1 side arrangement). The side panel also sports one of the two component-video inputs, along with an AV input with composite video, making it the most bloated well-equipped side connection bay we've seen on any HDTV. The back gets the second component input, a PC input (1,920x1,080-pixel maximum resolution), an AV input with composite and S-Video, an RF input for antenna and cable, an optical digital audio output, and an analog stereo output. The opposite side of the TV (not pictured) includes controls and a proprietary port to connect the company's optional wireless 5.1 surround sound system.

Vizio SV470XVT
Two more HDMI inputs and one more component-video jack highlight the extremely well-endowed side panel.

All told, the Vizio SV470XVT is the company's best-performing LCD yet, although its picture quality is still a notch below the better models from marquee-name competitors available today. Its black-level performance is the biggest issue, balanced by excellent color, and while Vizio's first attempt at 120Hz dejudder processing has some string points, it still has a ways to go.

Our standard calibration went exceedingly quickly on the Vizio, mainly because its Normal color temperature mode was already exceedingly close to the D65 standard. In fact, it's as close as any TV out-of-the-box that we've reviewed recently. Our main adjustments involved turning off most of the options in the Advanced picture mode, tweaking saturation a bit, and reducing light output for our darkened home theater. Check out our full picture settings for details.

We usually try to compare Vizio displays with the other less-expensive models, but with the company's entry into high-end land, we pitted the SV470XVT against the big boys, including 120Hz LCDs such as the Sony KDL-46W4100 and the Samsung LN52A650, a non-120Hz Samsung LN46A550, and a pair of excellent plasmas, the Pioneer PDP-5020FD as a black-level reference and the Panasonic TH-50PZ800U as a color reference. In honor of a certain blockbuster in theaters this summer, we spun up an old favorite Blu-ray Disc, Batman Begins, for the majority of our image quality tests.

Black level: The Vizio SV470XVT didn't match the depth of black delivered by the other sets in our comparison. In the scene with Bruce Wayne and Henri Ducard sitting around the campfire after their sparring match, for example, the black of the letterbox bars, the shadows behind Wayne and the two black outfits appeared noticeably lighter than on the Samsung A550 and 650, and even lighter compared with the other displays. Shadow detail, such as the dark half of Wayne's face in the firelight, was also a bit less distinct than on the other displays, although it was about equal to the Samsung A550.

Color accuracy: The Vizio proved worthy of comparison with the best LCDs in this category. Its grayscale stayed solid from bright to mid-dark areas, which helped skin tones, such as the face of Rachel Dawes as she argues with Dr. Crane outside the courtroom, look natural without any undue flushness or greenish tinge. Primary colors, such as the green of the grassy field where Alfred picks up Bruce, and the red of the Gotham Post and the fire bell behind the police commissioner, looked as accurate as we saw on our reference Panasonic plasma. One negative issue we saw occurred with very dark and black scenes, which took on the bluish tinge we see on so many LCDs; the issue was worse on the Vizio than on the other LCD displays in our comparison. We also noticed that colors looked a bit less-saturated than on the other displays, a difference we chalk up to the Vizio's lighter blacks.

Video processing: The SV470XVT is equipped with Vizio's first attempt at 120Hz dejudder processing, and, in general, we feel the company could use more practice before it can compete with the better dejudder modes we've tested. Dejudder on any so-equipped HDTV is designed to lend a smoother look to film-based material, although to our eyes it makes film look too much like video--that 24-frame judder is part of what makes film look like film, and we prefer that look to the smoother appearance of typical dejudder processing, the Vizio included.

This model has four main settings for dejudder under the Smooth Motion Effect menu: Off, Low, Medium, and High. It also includes a Real Cinema option with three settings: Off, Smooth, and Precision. All of those different permutations allow more adjustment than with other HDTVs we've tested--Sony just has two dejudder strengths, Samsung three, for example--but they can be confusing. Here's a cheat sheet: in our testing, Real Cinema should be set to Precision if you want to use dejudder, because Off seemed to keep most of the judder intact, while Smooth (which is unfortunately the default for most of the Vizio's picture modes) introduced significant artifacts.

In Batman we noticed quite a few artifacts in fast-moving scenes with Smooth engaged on all of the strengths, including Low. When Bruce walks into the party at his mansion, for example, his eyebrow appears to detach slightly as he nods at an attendee, and we saw similar trails follow fast shakes of the head or strides across a room. Precision introduced fewer artifacts, in these and other scenes, although it still suffered the Vizio's main dejudder weakness: its inability to maintain a consistent smoothness. One good example came during a pan over a newsstand in Spider-Man 3. No matter which setting we chose, the smoothness disappeared briefly as the camera passed the corner of the stand, then kicked in again afterward, which was a bit jarring. Neither of the other two dejudder-equipped LCDs in our comparison had this issue. In its favor, however, compared with other displays, the Vizio (when we used Low/Precision) did introduce a slightly less-noticeable "halo" around Peter Parker's head during the beginning of Chapter 18.

We also noticed that the Vizio's dejudder modes often took a second or two to kick in, and during that time the image appeared very choppy and basically unwatchable. This issue occurred most often if we jumped from one chapter to the next or changed channels. Occasionally the ticker below channels like ESPN and CNN would become choppy as well with the dejudder modes engaged during channel changes.

We also checked for the triple puck effect, something we noticed in the higher modes on the Samsung A650, for example, where a fast-moving object, such as a hockey puck, would appear to break up slightly and become blurrier as it traveled. The Vizio was pretty much immune to this issue, although we did detect a bit more blurring and elongation when we chose the "Smooth" setting for Real Cinema as opposed to Precision or Off.

As a 120Hz display we expected the SV470XVT to improve the look 1080p/24 sources when its dejudder processing was turned off, but we found it difficult to discern any benefit to setting our player to 1080p/24 mode with this display. We checked out the pan over the Intrepid aircraft carrier from I Am Legend for this comparison. We expected to see the marginally smoother look evinced on the Samsung A650 and the Sony (with their dejudder modes off) but instead the pan looked a bit less smooth, similar to the appearance of the 60Hz displays in our test (the plasmas and the Samsung A550). This isn't a huge deal in our opinion, since the difference between the two isn't gigantic by any means, but videophiles intent on using 1080p/24 to preserve the correct cadence of film may be disappointed in the Vizio.

In terms of reducing motion blur, however, the Vizio was the best LCD in our comparison. We checked out a test disc designed to evaluate motion resolution and the SV470XVT scored better than the LCDs, although not quite as well as the plasmas. As usual, however, we found it quite difficult to discern blurring in motion on any of the displays, including the 60Hz Samsung A550--in other words, the Vizio's advantage in motion resolution according to test patterns didn't translate into a real-world difference. The SV470XVT also passed both of our tests for proper 1080i deinterlacing (see the Geek Box for more).

Uniformity: The screen of the Vizio remained relatively even across its surface for a flat-panel LCD, and there were no obvious brighter or darker areas. It did become a good deal more washed-out than the other displays in our comparison when seen from off-angle, however, an issue that was mostly visible in darker scenes.

Bright lighting: The Vizio's matte screen did a much better job of attenuating ambient light than the shinier screen of the Samsung A650 or the glass screens of the plasmas in our comparison, performing about as well in this regard as the matte screens of the Sony and the Samsung A550.

Standard-definition: The Vizio is an average standard-definition performer. It resolved every line of the DVD format, and details in the grass and stone bridge were relatively sharp. It did not remove many jaggies from moving diagonal lines or a waving flag, however--even the Sony was better in this regard. Noise reduction was effective enough, cleaning up the difficult shots of skies and sunsets quite well. The Vizio's 2:3 pull-down also engaged properly to remove moire from the bleachers behind the speeding car on the HQV test disc.

PC: Via both VGA and HDMI the Vizio performed as well as we expected, resolving every line of a 1,920x1,080-pixel source without any overscan or edge enhancement.

Before color temp (20/80) 6419/6436 Good
After color temp 6558/6517 Good
Before grayscale variation +/- 81.6 Good
After grayscale variation +/- 36.8 Good
Color of red (x/y) 0.641/0.333 Good
Color of green 0.285/0.608 Good
Color of blue 0.15/0.063 Good
Overscan 0.0% Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Y Good
480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps Y Good
1080i video resolution Pass Good
1080i film resolution Pass Good
*Cost per year based on 2007 average U.S. residential electricity cost of 10.6 cents per kw/hr at 8 hours on/16 hours off per day.

Vizio SV470XVT Picture settings
Default Calibrated Power Save
Picture on (watts) 239.59 141.01 N/A
Picture on (watts/sq. inch) 0.25 0.15 N/A
Standby (watts) 0.75 0.75 N/A
Cost per year $74.62 $44.11 N/A
Score (considering size) Good
Score (overall) Average

How we test TVs.


Vizio SV0XVT

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7
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