Vizio P42HD Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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Plasma displays can be exciting. The "shock and awe" created when they first appeared continues in homes across America as they persist in gaining popularity. However, the biggest disappointment with almost every flat panel display is the included substandard speakers. It's almost as if the manufacturers put so much time into developing the best displays possible, all they can do is toss in some lackluster speakers as an afterthought.

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• Read more Vizio reviews here.
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To personalize a flat panel TV with good looks and exceptional performance, Thiel Loudspeakers has engineered a wall mounted stereo speaker set called ViewPoint. These aluminum speakers, when paired with the Thiel SS2 SmartSub and Thiel PX02 Passive Subwoofer Crossover, are sincerely light years ahead of any speaker that comes with a flat screen. To begin with, Thiel custom-builds each pair of speakers to match the display. Therefore, to begin our test, we supplied Thiel with the make and model of our display so they could build a pair of ViewPoint speakers to complement the plasma. The display we planned to test in conjunction with the speakers is the new V, Inc. Vizio P42HD. The Vizio P42HD plasma display is a high definition value-oriented television that could benefit from the Thiel system.

Vizio P42HD Unique Features
Vizio is a relative newcomer to the consumer electronics industry. Within months of launching new products, V, Inc. was recognized as a company dedicated to bringing practical and innovative equipment to market at affordable prices. This refreshing business model continues with their affordable P42HD. The Vizio P42HD offers 1024 x 768 native resolution, high contrast ratio and support for a multitude of HD formats at a price well below the competition.

Despite what the price point might suggest, this 42-inch 16:9 aspect ratio Vizio HDTV is solidly built with plenty of inputs. It has an attractive silver finish and six chrome front panel control buttons. The unit comes on a tabletop pedestal that will fit the needs of most consumers, but types that are more adventurous will appreciate the ability to remove the stand for wall or ceiling mounting. Like most plasma screens, connections are positioned facing down on the back panel. This is convenient when mounting the unit to a wall, but not ergonomic when installing wiring. V, Inc. has made the process of connecting the display to sources easier by clearly marking the two rows of inputs with a diagram on the rear panel.

Champion of the digital cause, V, Inc. was one of the first manufacturers to include Digital Video Interface (DVI) technology in even their most basic DVD players. With DVI, there is no conversion of digital signals to analog for the sake of compatibility. The P42HD continues this campaign with a DVI input with HDCP-compliant support to allow the transmission of uncompressed, copy-protected, pure, unadulterated digital content to your TV.

One of the most sought-after features of plasma displays is their ability to present an almost surreal color palette. Colors so rich and fluid, you feel yourself being drawn closer by the intensity. The Vizio is considered a high brightness display. It has brightness levels (1000 cd/m2) that are vivid and brilliant even in well-lit environments. The same can be said for the improved white and black levels that are often the Achilles' heel on many flat screens.

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HTR Product Rating for Vizio P42HD Plasma HDTV

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