Vizio has established a reputation for offering good HDTVs at a very reasonable price. The JV50P "Jive" is the only system in Vizio's lineup that offers a true surround sound add-on package. For $1,499.99, you get a 50-inch plasma HDTV with built-in left, center and right speakers, plus two external surround speakers and a dedicated subwoofer. The plasma is not a 1080p model; it has a 1,366 x 768 resolution and the thorough connection panel includes three HDMI, two component video and one PC input, plus a single RF input to access the internal NTSC, ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. One optical digital audio input is available to feed in multi-channel audio from an external source, such as a DVD player or HD cable/satellite box. There's also an optical digital audio output to send audio to an external audio system. Vizio offers numerous picture-in-picture options and a limited program guide for tuned channels. The TV lacks any special digital-media ports, like an SD card slot or JPEG-/MP3-enabled USB port.
The video set-up menu includes a solid but not extensive amount of picture controls. You get four picture modes and three color-temperature settings, including a custom mode through which you can adjust global red, green and blue to dial in a more accurate white balance. Dynamic noise reduction and flesh tone controls are also available. There are four aspect ratio options (normal, wide, zoom and panoramic); because this is not a 1080p display, it does not have a pixel-for-pixel mode to display 1080i/1080p signals with no overscan. Vizio has wisely added an Image Cleaner feature to help counteract effects of short-term image retention, a common plasma concern.
The audio package features left, center and right speakers connected to the bottom of the 50-inch panel, as well as surround speakers and a subwoofer that communicate wirelessly with the TV over the 5.8GHz band. The surround speakers receive their power from the sub's amplifier, so you have to run the supplied speaker wire from each surround speaker to the subwoofer's connection panel, and the sub requires connection to a power outlet. The JV50P's audio set-up menu includes bass, treble and dynamic range controls. You have the option to turn off all the speakers or just the subwoofer and surrounds. The menu also offers level and distance set-up for each speaker to help create a balanced soundstage.
Read about the high points and low points of the JV50P on Page 2.High Points
• The JV50P's good detail, color and contrast
combine to produce an attractive image with high-definition sources
like HDTV and Blu-ray.
• Plasmas do not suffer from motion-blur or viewing-angle limitations.
The wireless multi-channel audio system is a nice feature that is easy
to set up and offers solid performance for a smaller room.
• This complete A/V package represents an excellent value.
• The JV50P plasma does not have a 1080p resolution.
The TV does only an average job of displaying standard-definition
content and may not be the best choice for someone who still watches a
lot of SDTV.
• The inclusion of just one digital audio input means you can only connect one external digital audio source at a time.
• Plasmas generally aren't as bright as LCDs and may not be the best choices for really bright rooms.
JV50P "Jive" system is a good choice for the person who primarily
watches HD programming and wants a simple, non-intrusive surround sound
solution. It's a good fit for a smaller living room or as a secondary
system for a bedroom or den.