Vizio VO32LF HD Television
Disclaimer: This review is my own personal opinion. It is my best effort to tell others how a particular product met my expectations. Comments and rebuttal are welcomed, but you will have to get your own web site to have them published. These comments are made without malice. I purchased this product at retail, just as most would do. No communication regarding this product has been made to the seller.
Yes, I have turned into a couch potato. Oh well. I will get back to the radio building in the not too distant future. A few years ago owning a HDTV set was not in my future. I just wasn't interested. My 1986, 1988 and 1994 Sony tv sets were still working fine. The prices were high and frankly I wasn't that impressed with the whole situation.
My 1988 Sony was showing it's age. The speakers had crapped out, so I had external computer amplified speakers connected. The remote didn't work very well, but since the tv was next to me on the computer desk, that wasn't a problem. But last year, after 20 years of solid service by the Sony, I decided to purchase a 19 inch Viewsonic HD tv. This would get my feet wet. I am on cable, so a set top (or in this case, a set bottom) box was needed. I became thrilled with the little HD picture. I hadn't seen such a nice picture since I visited Germany and saw their 625 line PAL tv system.
Since being unemployed, I have been spending a lot more time watching tv than I had. I became a power miser and ended up watching the little 50 watt set in here, rather than fire up the big 250 watt 1994 Sony tv in my living room. The cable company was adding HD channels to replace all the analog offerings, and it was getting a little exciting, finally. The time was right.
The first thing was to get rid of my 86 and 94 Sony tv sets. Craigslist turned out to be the right venue for this. They both operated very well, despite their age. They were pretty expensive to begin with too. So up they went, and soon they were gone! It was a sad goodbye, but it isn't like giving a friend the big send-off.
But before they were out the door, I knew what I wanted to buy. First, it had to only sip power. The 240 watt monster was gone, and it was expected that it would be replaced by a set that drew much less power. (As a note, if I and my new set lasts about 7 years or so, it will be free, due to the power saved by this model.) There were other considerations too, but here was a good place to start. I had decided that a 32 inch set was right for the room and for my wallet. So with these parameters, it was time to select the set.
I decided that I would use online reviews to make my purchasing decision. It does no good to look at these sets in the store. Just read the reviews! The best place for tv and other reviews and evaluations is CNET. A well trusted resource indeed. I used their HDTV section. They have great tutorials, reviews and current model listings. Buying a tv isn't as simple was it was when you dragged the mahogany knot hole home to watch Leave it to Beaver.
This is the chart that I used to do my first sifting of what would be staring me in the eyeballs. I sorted by the amount of power used and worked my way up from the bottom. After that, I looked at each 32 inch model review. My final decision was based on the information in the review from CNET.
The Vizio VO32LF
My first comment to myself was "What the hell is a Vizio?". This wasn't the familiar Zenith
or RCA name that I grew up with. But I was a used to off brands with computer products that I had
purchased over the years. So once I got over that, I was good to go.
This is the review of the Vizio VO32LF as done by the CNET experts.
What I like about the Vizio VO32LF.
Well, I liked the price and the low power consumption. At my electric rates, I can run this 5 hours a day for about $30 per year. That comes out to about 60 to 70 watts when the tv set is adjusted for low consumption, but still a high quality picture. I keep the back light at about 20% most of the time. (My Scientific Atlanta cable box costs me over $45 per year because even if it says OFF, it is really ON. Thank you Time-Warner!)
This HDTV can receive 1080p pictures, which is true HD. I felt that 720p or 1080i would be good enough for a small screen, so this was a bonus. The 1080p was not much of a determining factor in the purchase of a HD set. But what was interesting was the ability to connect this to a new computer with HDMI connections and to see a 1920x1080 computer screen. You may want to consider something like this as it appears the line between tv and computer is becoming very blurred.
I bought this home and was able to set it up myself. No 100 pound CRT sets to lug. Since I had read the manual online, I hit the ground running. The set worked right away. Just connect everything and turn it on. Since I already had another HD set in the house for a year, there were no big surprises.
The picture is very nice. I watch it at a 6 to 10 foot distance, depending on which end of the couch I am sitting. I watch it pretty much straight on. I turned the set to do this as it isn't shared with anyone else.
There are plenty of inputs and output connections to keep me happy. I used to have a couple of satellite antenna receivers, two vcrs, a dvd and so on, but those days are over. Just a dvd and cable, and perhaps a computer later down the road.
What I don't like about the Vizio VO32LF.
The sound isn't too wonderful, but not unusual for this type of product. I do have a Sony stereo receiver with a pair of Bose 901 speakers attached that I can use. I only use it once in a while, when good audio will enhance my entertainment experience.
The remote control is very minimal, and some functions that I would like near the menu top are buried. An example is the sleep timer. That should be a dedicated button on top. But since I don't nap on the couch for long periods, it wasn't a big problem.
I think it is pretty well all there. A swivel stand would be a nice touch.
Again, just as in my first review, you have to see what is important to you, before you go out and buy. Please read the reviews that you find, look at the manufacturers web site. Download the manual and see if it is right for you. Then, if you want, go to the store and look at it. Since the picture can vary a lot just by how it is adjusted, don't bother with the in person view, as you will learn more from CNET. Just look at the styling and push the buttons to see if this set pleases you. But for what it's worth and after owning this set for nearly 2 months, I am very pleased with my purchase.
ps. The picture seen on the screen is from a great dvd that I purchased from Animusic.com, which may be the subject of another review.