Archive for June 27, 2009

Jun 27, Magnavox TB110MW9A DTV Converter Box

Features of the Magnavox TB110MW9A DTV Converter Box. An NTIA approved CECB with analog pass through. Buy a replacement remote.

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Vizio XVT LCDs have high-end features

Vizio VF551XVT LCD HDTV 1080p news reviews LCD TVs flat-panel TVs LCDTV LCD HD plasma TV

Vizio VF551XVT 1080p LCD TV
Click to enlarge.
[ Photo courtesy of Vizio. ]

Vizio, a company whose low prices have helped make it a top-selling brand of LCD TVs, is coming out with a new series of 1080p HDTVs offering step-up features, such as 240Hz technology and LED backlights

LED backlights, at prices well below those of more established major brands.

In July, we’ll see the first Vizio sets (“240Hz SPS”) that combine 120Hz refresh rates with a scanning (flashing) backlight to produce a 240Hz effect—the same process used by models from LG and Toshiba.This fall, Vizio will offer its first TVs with LED backlights: 47- and 55-inch XVT-series "TruLED" models.

The company is also introducing its first VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) Internet-enabled models, which use Yahoo's widget platform to access online content from various providers, including movie services from Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, and Vudu. Also in the pipeline are two new slim-line models—in 32- and 37-inch screen sizes—that are just 2.5 inches deep.

Vizio's new TVs use full-array LED backlights with local dimming, bucking the recent trend toward edge-lit LEDs from companies such as Samsung. Vizio executives told us that for larger-sized screens, full-array LEDs offer better brightness uniformity and viewing angle. The company also said its LED backlights can be completely turned off, which could improve black-level performance. In our tests, we’ve found that models with full-array backlights offered better black-level performance than edge-lit sets, although a halo effect may be visible at times. The company said it will likely use edge-lit LEDs in smaller screens later this year.

A unique feature in some XVT sets is that they contain enough built-in memory to buffer up to 15 minutes of video—allowing you to pause, rewind, and fast-forward. The sets also have a USB port that will accept an external hard drive. While the purpose is to be able to play content downloaded from a PC, theoretically it could store TV shows, though the TV currently lacks the ability to schedule DVR-like recordings.

"Vizio Internet Apps" (VIA) are based on Yahoo's Internet widgets, which we've seen in sets from companies such as Samsung and Sony. Two interesting features are the inclusion of built-in dual-band wireless (802.11n) and a unique remote control with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that can be used to enter passwords, type keywords for favorite shows or movies, or even chat. The remote operates via Bluetooth, so it doesn't have to be pointed directly at a TV's IR sensor to work.

Here is the planned XVT LCD line-up of 1080p models:

  • SV320XVT ($750, September): 32-inch 120Hz thin-line model
  • SV370XVT ($850, September): 37-inch 120Hz thin-line model
  • SV421XVT ($1,200, July): 42-inch 240Hz set
  • SV422XVT ($1,200, November): 42-inch 240Hz set with VIA Internet
  • SV471XVT ($1,500, July): 47-inch 240Hz set
  • SV472XVT ($1,700, October): 47-inch 240Hz LED set with VIA Internet
  • SV550XVT ($2,000, currently available): 55-inch 120Hz model
  • SV551XVT ($2,200, September): 55-inch 240Hz LED set
  • SV552XVT ($2,200, December): 55-inch 240Hz LED set with VIA Internet

We now have two new Vizio models in our labs, and expect to have full TV Ratings (available to subscribers) posted in the next few weeks. And we'll likely test some of these new XVT-series sets once they become available. —James K. Willcox

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