Published On: March 31, 2010

Vizio VL470M LCD HDTV Reviewed

Published On: March 31, 2010

Vizio VL470M LCD HDTV Reviewed

Vizio's new VL470M, which boasts the company's distinctive java-brown finish, leans toward the lower end of the company's line, price-wise. This 47-inch, 120Hz LCD uses a traditional CCFL backlight, as opposed to the LED lighting in Vizio's step-up models.

Vizio's new VL series of televisions sports a new industrial design with an attractive, dark java brown finish. The speakers are hidden behind a monochromatic grill underneath the screen that blends in better with the bezel than Vizio's traditional contrasting silver grills. Some may prefer the bolder contrasting grill but for my application the understated design of the VL series worked great. I installed the VL470M in a room with plenty of natural lighting during daytime hours. At $1,299 the VL470M reviewed here leans towards the less expensive side of the Vizio lineup of televisions in this category but is still fairly well stocked with features.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a Blu-ray player to get the most out of the VL470M.

 

The VL470M has a full HD, 1080p, 47 inch panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate. Vizio claims a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a 5ms response time. Video processing is handled by proprietary processing circuits. Some of the video control options proved to be more useful than others. I usually found the image to be more accurate with the Color Enhancement feature defeated. On the other hand, Vizio's Smooth Motion feature which activates Motion Estimator / Motion Compensation, when on its low setting, provided good results without providing any artificially smoothed image. Color controls are not the most extensive I have seen but are more than sufficient for the majority of users. I found that with a little bit of effort I was able to adjust the settings to get a very watchable and satisfactory image. On the audio side of things, Vizio includes SRS Labs' SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume technologies. I particularly enjoyed the SRS TruVolume feature as it kept volume levels fairly constant when switching between normal programming and commercials.

The VL470M has a wide assortment of video inputs that should accommodate nearly any system. Notably, a RBG computer input that can handle a multitude of resolutions, and an easy access side panel with more inputs including a USB input are included. The USB input can be used for service or as a multimedia input. According to Vizio a variety of picture, video and audio files can be played back on the VL470M through the USB port.

The Vizio was truly easy to set up. The unit came with both a quick setup card and a full User's Manual. Both the card and the manual were very well written, providing easy to follow setup instructions for those not familiar with the process. I was able to get the unit set up and running quickly, doing some basic calibrations with both the DVE and the Spears & Munsil discs. The VL470M did a respectable job with scaling, and color accuracy was pretty good, providing a natural rendition of skin tones and foliage. Black levels and shadow detail were good but not exceptional. I tried audio and picture files through the USB input and found them easy to access and particularly enjoyed being able to share photos with the family in this manner.

Read about the high points and the low points of the VL470M on Page 2.

High Points
• The USB port will not only make firmware updates easy but more importantly will allow users to access their music, picture and video files on their television with friends. 
• The Vizio's image processing was pretty good, rarely causing disruptive artifacts when watching DVDs or high definition television feeds (either 720 or 1080 resolutions). 
• I placed the VL470M in a room that is relatively bright during daylight hours yet is usually dim at night. Using the Vizio's various picture settings I was easily able to switch between settings that were bright enough to overcome the daytime light yet not eye scorching at night.
• After some basic calibration I was able to obtain good color rendition with the VL470M, with natural appearing colors.

Low Points
• The VL470M lacks an Internet connection which means it cannot take advantage of any of the ever growing streaming services or "widgets" found on other sets from the likes of Sony, Panasonic and Toshiba.
• I found the remote to be lacking. On a television in this price range the user is more likely to rely upon the stock remotes than to have a professionally programmed universal remote which makes a good remote even more important.
• The black levels and shadow detail on the VL470M were fair but did not match the levels of performance suggested by the claimed contrast ratios.

Conclusion
It's no surprise that the VL470M provides good bang for the buck. With a bit of careful setup the Vizio can provide a pretty good picture that should please the vast majority of viewers. The videophile is likely to seek a further refined television and the technophile will want more features such as streaming and widgets. However, both will have to pay more to obtain what they seek than what they can likely purchase the VL470M for. If you are looking for a 47 inch television in this price range, I strongly suggest taking a close look at the Vizio VL470M, particularly if you are watching primarily bright and well lit programming such as most sports.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a Blu-ray player to get the most out of the VL470M.

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