Consumer Electronics Net
By: Heath McKnight
November 2, 2009 

I'm a big fan of "America's number 1" LCD HDTV provider, VIZIO, and its wide
range of home entertainment products. I've reviewed two previous LCD HDTV
models (a 42-inch and a 47-inch), but I wanted to review something bigger
and better. And I got the opportunity with the monster 55-inch XVT LCD HDTV,
which has an incredible picture and sound. Speaking of sound, I am also
reviewing VIZIO's very cool Sound Bar with wireless subwoofer which gives
fantastic sound, even if it isn't comprised of five or seven speakers.

The 55-inch XVT LCD HDTV

VIZIO's XVT series of HDTVs offer some pretty cool new features, and the
55-inch LCD HDTV model I reviewed (the VF550XVT1A) doesn't compromise on
those features. They include:
•    Full 1080p HDTV (believe it or not, the best TV size to view 1920 x 1080 high definition is with a 50- to 60-inch HDTV)
•    120Hz, though I usually try to keep this option off. What it does is it doubles the Hz of 60i/30 frames-per-second (fps) video (60Hz), and while great for sports and video games, it makes normal TV and movies, usually shot in 24p (24 fps), look very strange. But it's up to you if you want to keep this option on
•    Smooth Motion Technology (I turn this off for the same reason as above)
•    SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume, which produces great audio from the HDTV's speakers
•    50,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, which just keeps getting better

To truly appreciate an HDTV like this 55-inch monster, you really need to be
viewing Blu-ray Discs (also known as BDs). HD content you'd see on Cable or
over satellite is highly compressed versus BD, though you can tell a
difference between SD (Standard Definition) and HD content on cable or
satellite. So I like to plug in my BD player with some terrific HD movies to
show off an HDTV's picture and sound. And there are four HDMI connections to
plug in all the devices you may own that have HDMI, including gaming
devices, movie download devices like a VUDU (which I also used to test), HD
video cameras, and so on.

Right now, my favorite BD to test out HDTVs is "The Dark Knight," especially
during the scenes shot in IMAX (the image will suddenly fill the entire TV
and you can see an improvement in quality), such as the opening scene with
the bank robbery, some of the establishing/skyline shots, the scene where
the Joker tries to kill Dent in the back of the police truck, etc. The
colors really pop in those scenes and the images are truly breathtaking,
especially on the 55-inch TV.

The sound coming out of the HDTV alone is fantastic, but obviously much
better with the Sound Bar, which I'll cover more later. I don't have to turn
the volume all the way to max when playing a disc, whether it's DVD or BD.

Of course, HD and SD programming over satellite or cable still looks pretty
good on the VIZIO as do SD DVDs and especially content via VUDU
( <> ), one of my favorite electronic devices
to download and watch rented or purchased movies. I highly recommend
watching those films in HD or HDX to really get the most out of the XVT HDTV
and the VUDU.

Of course since it's such a large HDTV, if you're in a small space or
apartment, you may want to consider a 42-inch VIZIO. You won't be able to
fully appreciate the larger display if your couch or chair isn't very far
from the HDTV.

Sound Bar With Wireless Subwoofer Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect
from the VIZIO Sound Bar with wireless subwoofer (there's another version
without the subwoofer that costs $199). It's essentially a three or four
foot long audio "bar" with an accompanying subwoofer. I plugged it in (you
have the option of analog or S/PDIF) and watched both TV and movies on my BD
player and VUDU device.

I was very impressed with the sound, especially since it isn't the usual
set-up with five or seven speakers. Those are real pains-in-the-neck to
install and get working. Lots of wires and cables going everywhere. With the
Sound Bar audio is superb and resonates well with DVDs, BDs, TV programming,
gaming, etc. "The Dark Knight" on Blu-ray sounded exceptionally good, as did
"Iron Man" on DVD.

And it's using the same sound technology as the XVT; SRS TruSurround HD and
SRS TruVolume. Plus, you can put the wireless subwoofer up to 60 feet from
the Sound Bar, though I don't have any room to test the distance. Besides, I
liked having it close to the Sound Bar and the HDTV. There's also a remote
which controls pretty much everything with the Sound Bar and subwoofer.

Conclusion The 55-inch VIZIO XVT HDTV (now available with an LED option) is
a great option if you're looking for your first or new HDTV. The price
starts at $1,999.99 for the non-LED version. The Sound Bar with wireless
subwoofer is another terrific and affordable product from VIZIO and produces
fantastic sound. It's priced at $349.99. Find out more at

Specifications Size: 55" Viewable: 54.64" Tuner: NTSC/ATSC/QAM HDTV Tuner
Native Panel Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Signal Compatibility: Supports
480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV), 1080p Video Signals
Colors: 1.06 Billion Computer Support: 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1920x1080
via VGA and HDMI  Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 1400:1 (Typical), 50,000:1 (w/Mega
DCR) Brightness: 500 cd/m2 (typical) Response Time: 5ms Viewable Angle: 178°
(horizontal and vertical) Pixel/Dot Pitch: 0.5415mm (H) x 0.5415mm (V)  SRS
TruSurround HD(tm): Yes SRS TruVolume(tm): Yes SRS TruSurround XT(tm): No

INPUTS (REAR) HDMI with HDCP 4 RF Connector for Internal Tuner 1 Component
YPbPr plus Stereo Audio:  1 S-Video: 1 Computer RGB: 1 Composite Video: 1
USB Ports:   Service Ports: 

INPUTS (SIDE) HDMI with HDCP 1 RF Connector for Internal Tuner   Component
YPbPr plus Stereo Audio:  1 Composite Video: 1 S-Video:   Computer RGB:  
USB Ports: 1 (Service Only) Music (MP3):  Video (MPG):  Photo (JPEG): 
Service Ports: 

OUTPUTS (REAR) SPDIF Digital Optical: 1 Stereo Audio: 1 Headphones: 

ADDITIONAL FEATURES Refresh Rate: 120Hz Smooth Motion: Yes LED: No
Picture-in-Picture (PIP): Yes Picture-outside-Picture (POP): Yes Zero Bright
Pixel Defect Guarantee: Yes V-Chip: Yes 3D Comb Filter: Yes 3:2 or 2:2
Reverse Pull-down: Yes ATSC with 8VSB & QAM demodulation: Yes ATSC with
MPEG-2 decoding: Yes NTSC Video decoding via Video: Yes, thru CVBS, S-Video,
or Component  Progressive Scan Video: Yes, thru Component YPbPr, VGA or
HDMI  Color Temperature: 6500K (standard), 5400K and 9300K Color Fine
Tuning: Independent Red, Green and Blue Speakers: Built-in 2 x 15W Speakers
Panel Lamp Life (typical): 50,000 hours Voltage Range: 120Vac at 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption: 244W average  Universal Remote: VIZIO Remote Control -

WEIGHT Gross: 104.2 lbs  Net With Stand: 86 lbs  Without Stand: 73.8 lbs

DIMENSIONS With Stand: 51.5" W x 36" H x13.5" D  Without Stand: 51.5" W x
33.9" H x 5.0" D Packaging Dimensions: 

CERTIFICATIONS CSA, CSA-US, FCC, Bets-7, AV Safety Certificate 60065