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.
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.