To start, I'll apologize for the long post ahead. I like to be detailed when I give impressions on technology for others who may find the info useful in their purchasing decisions in the future.
As for a little background on myself, I do not consider myself a videophile. I'm not one of these guys who will actively look for dead pixels or get 2" from the TV in order to spot deficiencies. If I can't see something from my normal viewing position, then I don't care about it. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with those who are "thorough" in their inspection of a new model, that's just not me.
Due to the $200-off Sam's Club sale going on right now (until Feb 6th), I decided to upgrade my 42" Vizio GV42LF that I purchased back in 2007 when they were first introduced. That was a really great TV and served me well, but being the gadget guy that I am, I wanted to upgrade. I really wanted to get into insanely good black levels as well take my first steps into 3D.
I was originally looking at the XVT3D424SV unit until I compared it with the XVT3D474SV at Sam's. The 47" looked a lot better than the 42", although they were being fed different feeds. Once I realized that the specs on the 47" greatly outweighed the 42", I decided to spend the extra money. The 42" seemed really gimped compared to the 47".
So I bought the XVT3D474SV along with a pair of 3D glasses and brought it home. My home theater configuration consists of a Harmon/Kardon audio receiver that I pass audio through, while my HDMI devices are plugged directly into the TV using monoprice 6' cables (can't remember the AWG rating). I have my HR21 DirecTV HD/DVR receiver plugged into HDMI1, my XBOX 360 in HDMI2, and my PS3 into HDMI3.
Each of those devices have the optical routed into my receiver, so I just turn the volume all the way down on the TV and leave it there. I did see an option to completely disable audio through the TV, but since I only have 3 optical in's on my receiver, I'll still need the TV audio if I decide to use any of the video apps. The first thing I saw that I liked was that it saves the volume control for each independent input across sessions. This way, anytime I change to HDMI1, 2, or 3, the volume is set to 0, but when I hop into the Netflix app, the volume is set to 16. I honestly don't think I'll be using Netflix, VUDU, or any of those other movie apps on the TV (my two consoles do better with it), but it's a nice feature.
My first impressions of the picture were of amazement. Without adjusting any of the picture settings, I thought everything looked great. I popped in my Avatar blu-ray almost immediately, at which point my brother and I just stared in awe. The black on this set is absolutely ridiculous. I'm unsure if there is any kind of bleeding/clouding/flashlighting/whatever-it's-called-these-days on LED LCD technology, but I saw none of that. The black on the edges of the screen match the black bezel, this was in daylight or at night. I also looked for this "blooming" that I've read about, but I can't seem to see it. That was in very limited testing though, just on the credits of a couple of shows last night. The edges of white text on a black background looked sharp to me, from my 8' viewing distance. Maybe this is an advantage of the 160 zones on the smaller 47" compared to the 120 on the 55".
This is my first 60hz+ TV, so my only experience with smooth motion processing is what I've seen in stores. I was always kind of iffy about it, since it makes the picture look "fake", especially when you're used to the regular framerate. But after finally having the feature in-home, I got used to it pretty quickly and came to appreciate it, all in a few hours' time. I can easily tell a difference (obviously) when setting the motion processing from Off to Low, but I couldn't tell a difference between the Low, Medium, and High settings. The TV came defaulted to Medium, but I have it set to Low right now. It will probably take some extended viewing at each setting for me to differentiate between them.
The remote is very cheap feeling, but it gets the job done. Don't set it anywhere that it can accidentally be sat on, otherwise I doubt it would survive. I like the slide-out keyboard for the internet apps though, it's very handy. Speaking of the internet apps, they aren't as "awesome" as I was expecting them to be. There are a couple of very notable absences, most prevalent being Youtube. I already use Netflix on my PS3 and/or 360, and after using Netflix very briefly on the TV, I find it to be a little slower than my consoles. The built-in app appears to use the older disc-based interface from the PS3 version. The twitter app is the only app I've seen so far to look to be somewhat useful. The Facebook app is all but useless to me, requiring too much navigation to see anything of importance. To me, these apps should be quick and painless to use, providing at-a-glance info. If you have to do to much to get to the info, then you might as well use a computer. I haven't delved into the other apps yet.
I did play a few games from both my PS3 and 360, and was unable to perceive any kind of lag from default settings. I've seen the "Game Mode" setting in the menu, but I've yet to enable it and probably never will. I did play a little bit of Black Ops and while I wasn't looking for lag, I didn't feel any. Same goes for a few other games I played, but none of them got too much play time. It was mainly to test 3D and the picture in general.
On to 3D, which I was really looking forward to trying out. My initial impressions, in a word....disappointed. Like said before, the crosstalk on this set is pretty damn bad. I also ran across a problem (that I posted above) where DirecTV receivers have a problem with Vizio televisions in that ESPN3D (and sometimes n3D) refuses to work. It claims that the TV doesn't support 720p and cannot play back the content due to 3D images being unable to be converted. A quick google search shows this is a very common problem that DirecTV hasn't even really acknowledged (the problem most definitely seems to be with DirecTV). The Vizio line isn't listed as compatible though, so just be warned of this issue.
I have no 3D blu-ray movies, so all of my testing came through games. These were definitely a mixed back overall. Super Stardust HD showed minimal crosstalk and looked great, although the 3D effect doesn't add much to the experience. My biggest "WOW" moment came with the Motorstorm 3D Rift demo. There was some crosstalk here, but not as apparent as it could've been. The depth was pretty amazing overall and really added a lot to the game. I will definitely be purchasing the $10 Motorstorm 3D game on PSN and will keep an eye on Motorstorm Apocolypse coming in April.
I then tried out Gran Turismo 5, which actually gives some user-configurable settings on the 3D effect. I knew nothing about how to configure these, so I put everything at halfway. The crosstalk was horrible and, to me, made 3D in GT5 unusable. I've since read that adjusting the 3D settings to be pretty high fixes the crosstalk greatly, so I can report back later tonight once I've gone back in and tested. I also popped in Black Ops on the 360, and was again disappointed. At times it was fairly decent, but other times the 3D effect just wasn't that prevalent. Aiming down the sights of a gun was pretty neat, but sometimes the crosstalk just completely took away the experience. Again, I only put about 3-5 minutes into one level to test it out, so hopefully further testing tonight will yield better results. I also caught a couple of minutes on the n3D station this morning, but once again, the crosstalk ruined most scenes.
My overall initial testing of the 3D is that it's generally busted. If this is what the general public is seeing when they are buying TV's for 3D, then no wonder they're being turned off by it. I want to do some further testing with changing contrast settings and such to see if I can minimize the crosstalk, but to me, if it doesn't work correctly right out of the box, then they have a problem. I have hope for a future firmware update that will help the crosstalk issue, but we'll see I guess.
Overall, I'm fairly happy with the TV even if I'm disappointed in the 3D. The picture is still amazing and is more than enough reason to keep the TV. I can't really afford anything higher priced anyway, so I don't see myself taking the TV back if the 3D issues persist over the short-term.
EDIT: I wanted to note that my firmware version at time of purchase is VIZIO_XP18.104.22.168 for posterity's sake.