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Vizio VT420M 42-Inch LCD HDTV

By: Rob Mead

Vizio has been hard at work designing their full product line of HDTV's to compliment every consumer's desire to own a high-quality HDTV for less than almost any other A/V manufacturer around. This well-designed HDTV retails for just under $1,000 and it contains a lot of design elements that most other LCD TV's listed at the same cost don't include, such as SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume, both audio technologies that make listening to this HDTV's attached inner speakers a joy to your ears.

The 42-inch LCD screen displays a full 1080p HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and contains a refresh rate of 120hz, along with smooth motion technology that insures there will be no motion blurring occurring as you start watching your Blu-ray or DVD collection using the VT420M as your main HDTV in your home theater configuration. This TV was designed with the consumer who needs an LCD TV to play video games on as well as watching DVD movies and TV shows with, so Vizio's designers made sure that this HDTV possesses a two million pixel resolution for both the avid video gamer as well as the common home theater fan.

This TV's high contrast ratio of 20,000: 1 results in an extremely vibrant display image, no matter what type of source material you happen to be watching. The fact that the VT420M comes with three HDMI inputs makes this specific high-definition TV very attractive to the consumer who needs to hook up his PS3 to this unit as well as his DVR and any other high-end audio/video component that delivers superb audio or video with an HDMI cable.

The five video modes that are easily switched via the very nicely designed remote control allows you to customize the color saturation levels and contrast to your own specifications if you prefer, but Vizio has done an excellent job of designing video modes for every type of movie or TV show available. The "movie" mode automatically softens up the video image of whatever you are watching so that the image replicates 35mm film resolution perfectly, and the "video game" mode brightens the contrast level of the video image so that the game you are playing looks more vibrant and 'alive'.

For the home theater consumer who is looking to upgrade their current HDTV that might lack certain design elements such as superior audio, smooth motion technology and multiple HDMI inputs, Vizio's VT420M should definitely fit the bill.

High Points
• This HDTV's ability to process TruSurround audio via the TV's inner speaker configuration goes a long way to insure that an accompanying A/V receiver is not required to enjoy realistic theater-surround sound.
• The 1080p full HD resolution displayed by the VT420M is completely crystal clear and the high (reported) contrast rate of 20,000: 1 results in a dynamic display video imaging that is hard to beat.
• Since the VT420M features three HDMI inputs, this HDTV makes high-end audio-video component hook-ups easily accessible and extremely convenient.
• All of the video modes that are displayed in the main menu greatly enhance the video imaging of the movie, TV program or video game that is being displayed at all times.

Low Points
• The black levels that this HDTV delivers to the display area are not nearly dark enough, and trying to customize the contrast levels to darken the black saturation levels does nothing to remedy the problem.
• A definite lack of important inputs on the HDTV's rear panel such as S-Video, composite video, USB port accessibility and a lack of RF connectivity means that the VT420M suffers immensely when it comes to multiple-input configuration.
• Although the frame surrounding the display area is nicely refined in jet-black refinished wood, the frame itself is not nearly thin enough when compared to other LCD televisions that are also in the 42-inch display range.

Conclusion
Even though the Vizio VT420M suffers a bit in the multiple-input department, the excellent video imaging that this HDTV delivers more than makes up for this small problem. The superior high-contrast definition that this television displays results in amazingly vivid images that really stand out from the other LCD televisions listed in the same price range as the VT420M.

And when you consider that this television can be used as a stand-alone unit that does not necessarily need an attached A/V receiver to replicate true theater surround-sound, Vizio needs to be commended on their ability to integrate excellently designed professional audio technology directly into their HDTV product line.
 

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What kind of design capability does Vizio have these days? Do they actually do anything other than contract to have sets built using technology that others have produced? In the past they were little more than a name on a set built for them. Has this changed? What does "hard at work designing" actually mean these days?
 

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Out of curiousity, since this is a HomeTheater Review and the website is HomeTheater Shack, whey do 42" displays even get reviewed?

In order to get the full benefit of the 1080p that this TV puts out, you'd have to be closer than 6' to this set. Does anyone sit that close in their theater? Why would you use this as your main display ("using the VT420M as your main HDTV in your home theater configuration.")

While I'm sure this might be a great TV for a bedroom or as a secondary display, many of the factors (1080p, 120hz, etc.) would be irrelevent when watching from 12' away or more. At that point, it's mainly a cost decision.
 

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I for one enjoy reviews of all types of displays and sizes. I just purchased a 32" LCD for a guest bedroom last week.
Keep them coming.
-john
 

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I was able to return my girlfreinds 62" Toshiba DLP at costco after she purchased back in 04 for $3200, going on her third bulb. Talked to the costco manager about the class action lawsuit on the toshiba bulbs for premature bulb failure. They took the tv back full refund, Picked up a Vizio 55" led / lcd. Very happy with the picture quality & peformance $1800. Purchased 2 12foot hdmi cables, a wall mount & put $975 in her pocket. Gotta love it!
We were ready to pull the trigger on the 60" Sharp Aquios for $2500 but side by side comparision, night & day difference in picture quality & brightness on the Vizio.
 

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Plain ole user
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Out of curiousity, since this is a HomeTheater Review and the website is HomeTheater Shack, whey do 42" displays even get reviewed?

In order to get the full benefit of the 1080p that this TV puts out, you'd have to be closer than 6' to this set. Does anyone sit that close in their theater? Why would you use this as your main display ("using the VT420M as your main HDTV in your home theater configuration.")

While I'm sure this might be a great TV for a bedroom or as a secondary display, many of the factors (1080p, 120hz, etc.) would be irrelevent when watching from 12' away or more. At that point, it's mainly a cost decision.
They get reviewed because people are interested. They get posted here because members of the forum read them. Not everyone has your priorities, and many who may have a larger screen in a theater also are interested in displays for other purposes. We do not have a narrow perspective on Home Theater, and we try to make the forums useful to members and guests.
 

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I for one enjoy reviews of all types of displays and sizes. I just purchased a 32" LCD for a guest bedroom last week.
Keep them coming.
-john

I am enjoying every bit of these reviews. I have learned so much about Vizio and for sure, this is another brand i would surely try out.
 

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Vizio has come a long ways, kinda of like the Hyundai of television.

I bought a 55" 1080p 120hz last Black Friday for $870. The next step up in quality was $1300 Sony EX500, and the difference is very small.

Best thing about it, it has RCA outs so I could hook it to my 2 channel system. :T Increasingly rare nowadays.
 
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