$2,199, 55-inch Vizio goes for LED price jugular

Vizio's 55-inch VF551XVT takes big screen, LED-backlit LCDs into the realm of affordability.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
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.
David Katzmaier

At just $2,199, the 55-inch VF551XVT hits a new low for LED-backlit LCD TV pricing. Vizio

Update 11-06-2009: The full review of the Vizio VF551XVT is now live.

The Vizio VF551XVT represents a new low price point for LCD-based HDTVs with LED backlights. This 55-inch HDTV will cost a mere $2,199 when it hits store shelves in September. That's $200 more than when the set was first announced at CES in January, but still relatively inexpensive. The company raised the price and delayed the TV's release in June.

LED backlights like the one on the Vizio VF551XVT use "local dimming" technology, which turns off or dims the backlight in dark areas while leaving it turned on in brighter areas. The result is significantly improved black-level performance, a major ingredient in picture quality. CNET recently reviewed the LED-backlit LG LH90 series, for example, which exhibited excellent black level performance, although the 55-inch member of that series costs $2999.

Vizio also hit the other big feature buzzword with this model, endowing it with a 240Hz refresh rate. Compared with standard 120Hz with dejudder processing, the extra Hz supposedly improve picture smoothness. The company has said it's improved its dejudder processing over the 120Hz SV470XVT we reviewed last year. Vizio is touting the set's antiglare screen and improved viewing angles, and includes an integrated sound bar with simulated surround capability.

The set also offers a USB input that can play back MPEG-2, H.264, WMV9 Video, along with JPEG photos and MP3 music files.