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Today's Show:
We have been trying to get a hold of a Vizio TV for review for some time now but with no luck. This weekend while the family was in Costco stocking up on supplies Ara spent some time looking at the Vizio 50 inch 1080p Plasma. In actuality this feature is more of a Costco roundup than an in depth review of the TV.

Vizio VP504FHDTV10A at Costco ($1499.99)

First some facts and figures. Our particular Costco had 28 TVs on display. Twenty seven of them were flat screens. The one rear projection TV for sale was the Samsung HL67A510C 67 inch DLP. This TV goes for $2000 including a matching Stand. That is an outstanding deal if you have the space! More rear projection models are available online.

Vizio was by far the most represented brand with nine models on display. Panasonic and Sharp each had four models, Samsung had three, SONY, Philips, and HP had two models and there was also one Toshiba LCD for sale.

All the TVs were on their default settings and displaying the same in-store feed. There was no way to adjust the settings or change the inputs. Essentially we were evaluating the picture exactly as every other Costco customer was. By the way, Costco extends the warranty on this TV to two years and allows for a 90 day return policy.

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Native)
  • HDMI with HDCP: x4
  • Contrast Ratio: 30,000:1
  • Brightness: 1,000 cd/m2 (typical)
  • Viewable Angle: 178 degrees (horizontal and vertical)
  • HDTV Compatibility: 1080p
  • Signal Compatibility: 480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV), 1080p (HDTV)
  • Tuner: NTSC/ATSC/QAM
  • 5.1 SPDIF Digital Optical Audio: x1
  • 3D Comb Filter
  • PIP / POP / CC / Zoom / Freeze
  • V-Chip
  • Progressive Scan Video
  • Weight: 95.9 lbs (with stand), 88.7 lbs (without stand)
  • Dimensions: 48.6” W x 32.5” H x 10.3” D (with Stand), 48.6” W x 30.5” H x 3.8” D (without Stand)

The TV had decent colors and detail. When compared side by side with the Samsung and Sharp LCDs that were displayed right next to it the colors were not as vivid. The Sharp and Samsung LCDs had more detail and seemed clearer. Both the Sharp and Samsung LCDs were 720P which further proves that resolution is not the most important specification in producing a good picture. Two TVs down was another Vizio 50 inch plasma (VP50HDTV20A) which was going for $1100 that produced a decent picture for $400 less.

Ara stood back and watched the shoppers come in and go right to the Vizio. They didn't even give the TVs a critical look. With coupon in hand they went right for the lowest priced 1080p plasma in the store.

For fun, Ara asked his wife and kids to pick the best looking TV out of the 28. They weren't allowed to talk to each other and their responses were given to him in secret. His wife and oldest daughter picked the SONY KDL40WL135 40 inch LCD that goes for $1800. His younger daughter picked the Samsung LN46A540 46 inch LCD which goes for $1700. His pick was also the SONY.

We are sure that the Vizio will calibrate to produce a better picture and for the price you will not be dissatisfied. After all, you won't have the SONY and Samsung sitting next to your TV in your home. Every TV in Costco will produce a better picture than any Standard Definition analog TV you are replacing it with. Please be sure to calibrate it, though.

Posted by The HT Guys, July 7, 2008 11:29 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.