Customer Review

835 of 930 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars LCD panel failures & audio sync problems (now addressed with warranty extension and firmware update), November 26, 2012
This review is from: VIZIO E601i-A3 60-inch 1080p Razor LED Smart HDTV (2013 Model) (Electronics)
PROS
- Big and bright; nice color; matte screen for bright rooms
- 4 HDMI inputs
- Thin and very attractive minimalist glossy black frame (less than 1" wide)
- Built-in WiFi and DLNA; most of the popular subscription-based smart apps
- Great value

CONS
- High LCD panel failure rate (On 2/8/2013, Vizio publicly acknowledged this and is addressing the problem. See below for details.)
- Severe audio-video sync problems (In mid-January 2013, Vizio released a firmware update to fix this issue. See below for details.)
- Still some glare in bright room
- Takes about 8 seconds to "boot up" from power on (down from ~18 seconds before firmware updates)
- Only one shared composite/component input for older devices
- Slightly gray blacks and somewhat uneven back-lighting, although this likely varies between individual units
- DLNA and smart-app implementations are very crude (you are probably better off getting a dedicated device to do these, like a Roku or Apple TV)
- Ports hard to access on back, which is particularly a problem for the USB port, if you want to plug and unplug (somewhat inherent in thin flat-panel TVs)

LCD PANEL FAILURE ISSUE

Many owners, including me, were reporting a problem where the image would disappear but the backlight and sound would remain on. This required full replacement of the TV. On 2/8/2013, Vizio acknowledged this problem in a "special bulletin" revealing that a bad batch of chips were installed in units with serial numbers ranging from LFTRNWAN3800001 to LFTRNWAN4805300. It also affects a range of the 70" E701i-A3 models. Vizio extended the warranty from one to two years for that specific problem. However, Vizio said it was "promptly" and "proactively" contacting registered customers about the possible issue, but, disappointingly, there is no evidence that they have done this beyond the bulletin and a blog post.

AUDIO-VIDEO SYNC ISSUE

Many people were reporting a variety of audio-video sync problems, particularly with cable boxes and Dolby Digital audio. Vizio initially blamed the cable boxes and had people set them to output PCM audio (rather than Dolby Digital). Unfortunately, that downgraded the audio to two channels only. However, in mid-January 2013, Vizio released a firmware update (version 1.1.5, which can be seen under Menu>Help>System Info>Version) that allegedly fixes the problem.

Also, the Vizio seems more sensitive than average to different HDMI cables. Video periodically drops out completely (screen flashes to black for a few seconds) with cables that work fine with other displays.

QUALITY/CUSTOMER SERVICE

When my first unit failed with the LCD panel problem after only 23 days of use, I was very disappointed that Vizio initially only offered to replace it with a "recertified" unit. After a great deal of insistence, they agreed to send a new one.

In addition, when I communicated with them about the audio-video sync problem, I was disappointed that they were blaming my cable box that worked fine with my other displays, and that they insisted that I downgrade to two-channel audio to "fix" their problem. In my online chat, the Vizio representative stated the following: "The newer TVs that we manufacturer are set up for PCM rather than Dolby Digital. So it is not a defect in the TV, you will just have to connect it a different way."

I have mixed feelings at this point.
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Comments

Tracked by 18 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 86 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 5, 2012 6:03:42 AM PST
If you were having audio sync problems on only *some* cable channels that's not the TV's fault as it can't directly receive digital cable. Power cycling the TV should not make any difference as you suggest unless that's also causing your cable box (via HDMI) to cycle as the audio sync is handled by your cable box.

I suspect your surround sync problems are caused by your A/V receiver. This is a common issue and why newer receivers often have a a setting to correct audio sync issues. And, unfortunately, some content has sync issues from the source and there's nothing *any* TV can do to automatically correct that. So again, I wouldn't blame the Vizio. Blame your cable company.

Composite/component video is 15+ years old and not something most people will ever use anymore let alone needing more than one such input. Further, for those rare folks who do have multiple pieces of ancient video equipment, most will be using their A/V receiver to handle the switching and conversion to HDMI. So it's a non-issue for 99+% of buyers and that's why multiple component inputs are becoming more rare even on much more expensive TVs.

The TV's failure is a good reason to buy locally rather than having the TV shipped. All manufactures have failures even the top brands like Samsung and Sony. Unless there's evidence it's a widespread problem, a few isolated incidents shouldn't be cause for alarm. The happy customers usually don't bother to write reviews.

The location of the USB ports could be unfortunate for some people but it's a common problem on many TVs--especially those with a minimum trim bezel like this Vizio. There's simply no place else to put the jacks where they're easily accessible and wouldn't harm the sleek appearance or interfere with the edge lighting internally.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 6:06:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2012 6:12:16 PM PST
S. P. Linke says:
I have three devices: (1) a DVD player that has only component video output, (2) a Motorola digital cable box that has both component and HDMI, and (3) an Apple TV 2 that has only HDMI. My old TV had only one HDMI port and several component ports, so I obviously had the DVD player and cable box hooked up through component and the Apple TV hooked up through HDMI. I had digital audio from all three devices hooked up directly to my receiver, and I never had any audio sync issues with that setup (with the exception of some poorly transcoded videos on the Apple TV where the problem is inherent in the source material).

Initially for the Vizio, I just switched the cable box from component to HDMI and maintained the rest of the setup. However, I was experiencing audio sync issues with all three devices. It seemed to help to hook the optical audio output of the TV to my receiver, and use that instead of the direct audio connections from the cable box and Apple TV (not possible for the DVD player). However, there were still issues.

On several occasions, I was able to restore audio sync on the cable box by simply power cycling the TV. The fact that power cycling the TV eliminates (at least temporarily) the video delay indicates that the TV is responsible for at least some aspect of the issue. This never happened with my old TV, although, as described above, it used component video rather than HDMI.

I suppose it is possible that there is some unique problem with the way the cable box interacts with this TV over HDMI, and I am no fan of cable companies, so I have no problem placing at least some of the blame on Time Warner. The fact remains, though, that my setup worked before the Vizio, and I am not going to be able to convince my cable company to upgrade their equipment so that it works better with this TV. Others may be in a similar situation, and they may also not be satisfied with the solution of being able to complain to their cable company.

Nor does any of this explain the audio sync issue I have with the DVD player, which is set up exactly the same way it was with my old TV. The Vizio just seems to delay the video by a fraction of a second more than my old TV. Again, it is probably useful for people to know that.

I would venture to say that many people still have more than one "legacy" device limited to component video and not all of them use a switching receiver. If not, then they can ignore the "con" of having only one component input. Frankly, it does not bother me much either, since I only have one device limited to component.

This TV was not available locally when I purchased it. Believe me, I know that all brands have failures, as my old TV is a Sony, and it has failed three times in the 8 years I have had it. I won a lawsuit against Sony for their defective TV, and I have written about that extensively on a web site. I was really hoping that I could put my last 8 years of TV nightmares behind me by switching to a flat-panel Vizio. I really want to like this TV and Vizio. Unfortunately, we are off to a very rocky start. Hopefully, I was just unlucky and the failure rate of this model will be low--and I will get a good one as a replacement.

I have made some modifications to my original review, if you are interested.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 11:10:31 AM PST
M. Davis says:
I have now had two of these TVs. One with major audio sync issues... then the next with major video jitters and problems. These issues are prevalent from ALL sources (not just one) so they indicate bugs and problems with the TV, NOT the sources as people keep suggesting. Not a fan of this TV. Returning my second one this week and replacing with another TV (Samsung probably).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2012 6:24:21 PM PST
C. Alindog says:
I actually had the same issue with this TV within the first month of owning it. The TV started going blank and then it finally just turned itself off a week later. I would turn it on and the TV would power up but nothing would show on screen, not even the Vizio logo would come up. Then after 30sec. the TV would power itself down. Called VIZIO regarding the issue and they said it would take about 5 days for ITI to set up a date for the repair due to the holidays (Its been a week now and they still haven't gotten the parts). So instead of waiting, I exchanged the TV for the same one at Sam's Club and they were nice enough to let me grab one and I was out of there within 15min. I'm hoping this 2nd set would last me longer than 30 days x-ing finger.

Posted on Dec 29, 2012 1:19:05 PM PST
Mangaza says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 7:10:16 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 3, 2013 1:08:45 PM PST
I had the exact same issue with this model of TV I bought through Amazon as well, but mine quit after exactly 9 weeks after I placed order. Went through same process w/ Vizio cust service, ITI and ITI service repair at home with parts and process mentioned. Upon my just-completed chat w/ Vizio, they will be sending a recertified replacement also under the same conditions.
Interesting though, I had just heard something about Vizio maybe "rushing " this TV time-to-market as it was meant to intercept 2012 Black Friday schedule volumes for stores (btw, Walmart was one of the BF specials). This model was/is available in a lot of stores too- Walmart, Costco, Sams Club, as well as Best Buy recently. So I take it the volume production on this unit is fairly high. Maybe this "common" issue is result of common faulty component as result of potential inadequate reliabilty testing..who knows (?)

Posted on Jan 4, 2013 9:03:43 AM PST
Ours did the same thing as S.P.'s did but we went through 2 of these TVs within 3 months! It is only the picture not showing that is the problem, everything else works fine. For $1000, I would expect it to last at LEAST a year or two. Instead, we keep having to lug this 60" pain in the butt back and forth to the store.

Posted on Jan 19, 2013 3:44:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2013 3:48:23 PM PST
P. Fandrey says:
I honestly wished I had read the reviews on the Vizio 60" because now I too am experiencing the same issue as you (with regards the picture- our sound has always been great)!! I had the TV delivered on DEC 1, 2012 and on January 16th while in the middle of an at home Zumba work out the picture began to minimize and then nothing!! I too only get sound and nothing else. I shut it off hoping that it would power up fine in the a.m but it didn't now I too get the same response you got from the manufacturer although they 1st told me they would ship out a new one. Today a rep called and told me the unit they are sending me will be a re-certified unit & will be shipped to me in 8-14 days. It took less than that to get it new from Amazon.com. My husband and I along with 4 children are so frustrated and sad that we are now watching a 19" tv and Vizio isn't making good on replacing the TV with new one. My kids say I gave them a rotten Christmas Gift that doesn't even work.
Also, I was also told that the 4 yr warranty that I purchased through Amazon would carry over that all I would have to do is call them with the model#. I hope and pray that's the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 10:42:59 PM PST
S. P. Linke says:
There is anecdotal evidence that earlier serial numbers--those starting with 38xx ...through 44xx... after the initial letters--are worse than the more recent ones. There really is not enough data to make that conclusion, but there is at least a trend. There is also rumored to be a 1.1.5 firmware update that allegedly helps with the lip sync issue. If you go to Help>System Info>Version, I think most TVs currently have 1.1.4.
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