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COMPUTER USERS - Read my review!
on June 26, 2013
First off, I am primarily a computer user. I value frames per second (refresh rate) and motion fluidity over other features like apps. My greatest discovery with this TV in regards to getting the smooth motion to work as close to perfect as possible when viewing videos on your computer can be found near the end of this review. It's pretty much the last paragraph.
Bought from Walmart for 799 before tax. The box was in horrible condition. I had it shipped site to store. I was worried I got a refurbished model or something it was so bad, but everything was in good working order inside. Hooked it up without any issue.
CONTROLLER: is pretty horrible. I had a previous Vizio model which had the same issues with the controller. It's like you have to press hard on the keys and hold them for longer to get it to respond. Not sure if it's a controller issue what, but it is annoying.
SOUND: The sound I consider pretty good for a TV. The problem is, that they have the annoying sound leveling feature which turns up volume in low parts of the movie and you hear a bunch of fuzz. If you turn it off, it seems that you can barely hear the conversations over the background effects and music. A solution to this would be send the audio out to an external system. I don't have an external system, so I figured I'd use a pair of computer speakers. Unfortunately, this is the first TV that doesn't have a 3.5mm mini-jack (headphone) for audio out. Frankly I'm surprised they've held on this long, but now that it's gone, I miss it. The only audio out are RCA and optical for this TV
FIRMWARE: Mine came out of the box with firmware version 1.29xxxx. This is the "old" firmware. The new is 1.4xxx. I followed the instructions of another review to get the firmware to update. Mind you, after registering, hooking up to your home network, and hitting the service call option in the system settings, the firmware will update when you have your TV turned OFF. I turned it off for about 15 minutes and came back, and it didn't update. Turned it off, and went to the computer to open a Chat with Vizio support, and during that time, it had updated the firmware. To be safe, I would say, let your TV remain off for a half an hour and you should see something if you're lucky like me.
PICTURE QUALITY: is great, it comes out of the box with the screen temperature on the cool side. I like mine a little more towards the warm side and changing it was a breeze. Apps are fine. I really have nothing to compare it too though, as most vizios I assume are alike, and my only other experience with a smart TV was a vizio as well. The "standard" preset for picture settings has the sharpness turned up to 70/100. This is much higher than what you would see on most screens. Normal for me was around 40/100. Other than that, I feel that the picture quality is great. Love the thin bezel.
LET'S GET TO WHAT REALLY MATTERS!!! Smooth motion, frames per second, 3D, and can you force 3D and smooth motion effects when viewing a signal sent from your pc through HDMI. So let's start off with it's 240hz claim. Using the online chat support through the vizio website, I talked to a rep about this who really didn't know her stuff. What I wanted to know was what was the true refresh rate of the TV, and what was interpolated. I don't completely understand how the TV's do what they do, but I know enough to be dangerous. The rep knew less than I did. Through educating myself online and what little knowledge I learned from her, I can tell you that there are no "TV"s in the US that accept a signal input of greater than 60hz. The only way a TV in the US can claim to output a frame rate higher than 60hz is to take the existing 60 frames, and create frames in between them that are an average of the two frames. This is called interpolation. This doubles the frames per second and makes motion look more fluid. Long story short, the rep told me that they interpolate up to 120hz, and the 240hz is only used during 3D. So I suppose the advantage for this model is that you can view the smooth motion effect during 3D where you couldn't before. I don't know if this is fact, but it is what I assume at this point. I was really hoping that the TV could accept 120hz signal from my computer but that is not the case, and it looks like won't be the case for another decade.
I am very happy to report that AFTER the firmware update, I can turn the 3D on and off whenever and wherever I want. With my last vizio 3D tv and before the firmware update of this one, I could only turn on 3D when the TV decided it was appropriate, which is crazy for many reason which you can read about in other reviews. Also with this firmware update, the smooth motion options seem to work at all times with a signal from HDMI. Before, it would only turn on smooth motion when I was viewing a video in full screen that had a resolution width of 1080 or 720. I figured it had to do with fooling it into thinking it was receiving a signal from a blu-ray or something that was 720p or 1080p. Regardless, I didn't like this, because my dream was to play a game with the graphics options set to 60hz and have the TV interpolate it up to 120hz. I'm happy to say that with this TV this dream became a reality. I have gotten it to work, although I haven't figured it out completely. There are probably some settings I need to tweak because it took a little of finesse to get a few games to work with the "smooth motion" effect.
OOOOOHHH! BEFORE I FORGET, LET ME GIVE YOU A PRO TIP THAT WILL SAVE YOU FROM PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT!
**** I'll dare to be presumptuous by saying that I imaging most people probably wouldn't notice or not care if the picture wasn't 100% smooth or had a bit of judder every few seconds in between smooth parts. I'm use to playing games on my computer monitor at a TRUE 120hz, so seeing the "smooth motion" effect on the TV skip frames and start to judder was driving me crazy. This happens for a reason, and there is a solution. Here it is.... If you want the smooth motion effects to work as close to perfect as possible when viewing a movie from your PC, YOU WILL NEED TO SET THE REFRESH RATE OF YOUR MONITOR/TV TO THE SAME FRAME RATE THAT THE VIDEO WAS ENCODED IN. Let me break it down and tell you how! If you right click on the icon of the video that you want to play, and select properties, you can navigate to a tab that tells you the refresh rate or frames per second that that video was encoded in. Most of the time it will be between 23 and 29. Let's say it was 29. You now need to go into your video card settings, or the display option in the control panel and change the refresh rate of your monitor (in this case, the TV) to 29 as well if possible. If I remember correctly, the options I have are 23, 24, 29, 59, and 60. If you don't have those options, try playing around with the video card settings. I know that when I used the "clone" setting so that the computer sends the same image to my computer monitor as the TV, it matters which screen is the "primary" for what refresh rates it will let you select. Also, it will give you different refresh rate options based on what your resolution is set at. I know that at 1280x720, I can only choose from 59hz and 60hz. When I go up to 1920x1080, I can choose more options, from 23hz up to 60hz. Anyway, after matching the refresh rate and hitting apply, close everything out and go back to your video file and start it up. You should see a noticeably smoother picture through the TV now. Without making these changes, there is a conflict that interferes with your TV's "smooth motion" effect. Probably because the video you are trying to play is 29 frames per second, but you have your monitor is typically set for 60 frames per second, and a TV is trying to take all of that and interpolate up to 120. Doing so causes some dropped frames and judder that may annoy folks like me. Experiment, and let me know your own findings. You will see that different video players make a difference in this effect as well. I had better luck with VLC and Media Player Classic than I did Windows Media player when searching for the best quality with "smooth motion." That holy grail of a smooth 120hz picture is something I'll always be chasing I imagine. At least until they make a better TV or a larger computer monitor.
This was a long winded review I know, but I wanted to share my successes and failures with everyone because I know there are people out there that want to use this TV in the manner I do and would run into the same issues. All in all, it is a great TV for computer gamer and cable watcher alike.