Vizio VX20L mini-review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 84 Old 12-13-2006, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got my Vizio VX20L yesterday and thought I'd share my impressions thus far.

This is a brand new set, it's major claim to fame is that it's the smallest set out there (as far as I know) that has a built-in ATSC tuner.

I ordered this set about 3 weeks ago. I bought it direct from Vizio as no stores around here stock it. Vizio is probably ramping up as they took a bit to fill the order. No big deal to me.

Price wise, it's not that much less than the 24 to 26" sets with ATSC tuners that are already out there. The main reason I needed something smaller was the WAF. This is our bedroom TV, replacing a tiny 9" AC/DC set we've used for 20 years, and she made it clear she didn't want a big set that would "overwhelm the room". We also needed something small and light enough to mount it on the wall, sticking out on an articulating arm mount. I got the matching arm mount from Vizio as well.

So, I've only fiddled with it for one night, but here are my impressions thus far ...

ATSC TUNER SENSITIVITY: I'd rate it "Excellent". The most sensitive ATSC tuner I've tried yet.

This is a really important issue to me, since I'm in a fringe area. Most of the digital broadcasts out of Denver are low power from a downtown building, roughly 60 miles to the South/South east of me. The remaining digital broadcasts are less than full power and come from the foothills west of Denver, directly south of me, with lots of foothills in between them and me. So it's challenging to say the least to get a solid signal from here.

On top of all that, the RF signal going to this set is the weakest feed in the house.
My antennae signal goes through a distribution amp that provides direct signals to two ATSC tuners, a Cat's Eye DTA-151 in my HTPC and the built-in ATSC tuner in my Sharp LC-45GX6U. But the output for the Vizio gets passively combined with the VHF channel 3 output from a satellite receiver, and then it gets passively split for two different bedrooms, and then it runs through 100' extra of RG6 before it gets to the Vizio. So I kind of expected the Vizio to have a tough time getting channels solidly.

Well, it surprised me. Despite being on a weaker feed, this TV not only gets everything the other 2 ATSC tuners get, but it also gets one additional station! So it's the best tuner I've got.

Just as a side note, one of my big motivations for getting this set was that it eliminated the last NTSC-only TV in the house, thereby letting me remove the gargantuan and troublesome VHF/UHF/FM antennae from the roof and replacing it with a much smaller UHF/Digital only job.

NTSC TUNER: My only use for the NTSC tuner is for the aforementioned VHF channel 3 signal that I passively combine onto the RF feed that heads to the Vizio. Historically, this passive combining device has never worked all that well, showing of evidence of interference both to and from adjacent VHF channels. But again, the Vizio surprised me, the channel 3 picture is very, very good, not a hint of static or snow or interference. For whatever that's worth.

PICTURE QUALITY: I'd rate it "very good". Is it best in class? Probably not. I'd have to do a side by side comparison to really say, but just from memory, I've seen sets in this size range that are sharper, and better defined. But I have no complaints, it more than meets my needs.

The picture isn't the classic matte finish that I expect from an LCD, nor is is the glossy type that you see in so many plasma's, it's kind of in between. I believe the set has some kind of a glare filter on it, it's advertised as being good for bright areas, that's probably what I'm seeing. Being a bedroom tv used only at night, this is a don't care for me, but could be important for someone using this set in say a camper or other mobile environment that has lots of light. So long as it doesn't hurt the picture while in dark settings, which I don't think it does, that's fine with me.

SOUND QUALITY: This was another surprise for me, it's really good, at least from within 5-6 feet away. During setup I was sitting close and wow, you could really hear the stereo effect, I kept looking to the side of the set expecting to see a speaker. From 10-12 feet away though you lose much of the effect. Still, I'm very satisfied with it.

OTHER THINGS I LIKE:
The "VIZIO" logo at the base of the display lights up dimly when the set is turned off. Very helpful point of reference when I get up in a dark bedroom!

It's got a rudimentary guide built into it. Didn't mess with it much though.

The "panoramic" mode for watching 4:3 on widescreen does a pretty decent job. Normally I watch 4:3 material with a letterbox on each side just because I don't like the distortion of stretch modes. But this one works pretty decent, combining a little stretch with a little zoom. The distortion is not very noticeable.


GRIPES:
Two minor ones. First, and I knew about this before I bought it, the only PC resolution accepted over the HDMI is 640x480, which is pretty damn useless. The only option for connecting it to a PC and getting the full 1366x768 resolution is through the analog RGB. I hate analog. I have no plans at this point to connect it to a computer, but they ought to provide a digital method to connect it and get the full resolution.

Second, the sleep timer only has a 30 minute resolution. So you can select 30-60-90-120 minutes. It oughta be 10 minute resolution.

Overall, I'm very happy with the set.

I'll follow-up with any other interesting things I learn about it.
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post #2 of 84 Old 12-13-2006, 06:33 PM
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Thanks for the review, I'm considering this set for a kitchen counter top.

Is this set really only 15 1/2" tall including the stand? If so that would great, most are over 17".
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post #3 of 84 Old 12-14-2006, 09:40 PM
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I have this TV and will add one thing to your comprehensive review. I have mine hooked directly to cable and the QAM HD is surprisingly good.
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post #4 of 84 Old 12-16-2006, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

Is this set really only 15 1/2" tall including the stand? If so that would great, most are over 17".

Mine's hanging from a wall, and I took the base off but holding the base up to it and measuring with a tape measure, I'd say yeah, it looks like it's about 15-1/2" overall height.
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post #5 of 84 Old 12-16-2006, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfmax View Post

Mine's hanging from a wall, and I took the base off but holding the base up to it and measuring with a tape measure, I'd say yeah, it looks like it's about 15-1/2" overall height.

Thanks! I just saw one of these at Costco yesterday and the picture does seem to be really good compared to the other TV's beside it.
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post #6 of 84 Old 12-18-2006, 05:41 PM
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Hopefully someone can help me. I just picked up this TV for the kitchen. I currently have HD in the living room running through a SA8300 HD/DVR from Comcast. In the kitchen I just have the wall outlet. I do have an antenna in the attic that I was going to run to it to get the local OTA HD stations, but was supprised that there is only one input for coaxial cable. How does one go about getting both cable and HD OTA to this TV?

Thanks.
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post #7 of 84 Old 12-18-2006, 06:36 PM
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A simple coax A-B switch such as this should work http://www.cablestogo.com/product.as...3108&sku=41015
One drawback may be that you will have to re-scan the channels each time you switch inputs.
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post #8 of 84 Old 12-18-2006, 06:40 PM
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Another option would be to use the RF input for your OTA and use a cable box plugged into the HDMI or component inputs for the cable channels.
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post #9 of 84 Old 12-18-2006, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

Another option would be to use the RF input for your OTA and use a cable box plugged into the HDMI or component inputs for the cable channels.

Thanks, but this is a kitchen, I'd rather not have a cable box in there. From what I have found elsewhere is this TV is QAM capable, so I'm apparently having problems getting the other stations. From what I have found on my local HD section of these forums, the locals are QAM free. For some reason I'm not getting them.

Is doing a channel search the only way to get channels pulled in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric102 View Post

A simple coax A-B switch such as this should work http://www.cablestogo.com/product.a...=3108&sku=41015
One drawback may be that you will have to re-scan the channels each time you switch inputs.

Thanks, same as above.
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post #10 of 84 Old 12-19-2006, 05:34 PM
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I just picked this up today. Has anyone noticed that the speakers have a constant 'fuzz noise' even when there is no input?
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post #11 of 84 Old 01-03-2007, 08:00 AM
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Anybody else have this annoyance. When in "Panoramic mode" either viewing SD or DVD's notice that both the left and right side has a "magnifying effect". Makes this mode IMO, unusable. Yes the center stays stable and would be perfect to watch SD in as it does not make faces stretched as "Wide mode" does and fills the entire screen. Just watch CNBC with the tickers on the bottom.

I have talked to Vizio Technical support and hopefully they will call me back after they investigate this issue. This model has a Service port so hopefully a newer firmware can be inputed that alleviates this "glitch".

Otherwise, really a feature rich and beautiful model. Plus, 2 yrs from now when FCC rules become law, it has all the built-in tuners to future proofs our investment.

No fuzz noise from my speakers.

Thanks.
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post #12 of 84 Old 01-03-2007, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermopylae View Post

I just picked this up today. Has anyone noticed that the speakers have a constant 'fuzz noise' even when there is no input?

I noticed that too. I turned the sound all the way down and kept hearing the same sound you describe.

Let us know if you figure out how to get rid of it.

I have one question on the remote. I programed it to work my cable box but I need to hit the cable button and then power to turn the cable box off. Is there a way to set it up so that when I press power both the tv and cable box go off at the same time?
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post #13 of 84 Old 05-03-2007, 07:22 PM
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You don't need cable AND an antenna. I thought you did so I got an antenna, and AB switch. I hooked up cable and noticed I got HD local channels over my basic cable feed. So, the antenna and switch will be saved away for another use.

Anyone calibrated theirs yet and want to share the settings? Mine is in the garage, wall mounted, so I can't easily get it to a DVD player to Avia it.
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post #14 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 08:13 AM
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Also, does this set have a signal strength meter? I can't find one.
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post #15 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 10:42 AM
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I returned a Vizio VX20L due it not supporting the PSIP data in HD signals (guide didn't work and it didn't properly map the local station designated channel identifier, eg, it tuned "91-3" instead of "8-1"). I also wasn't pleased that it is a 16:10 set (not 16:9) so people's heads looked a bit "squished" (top to bottom) or too round.

Am I the only one that noticed these problems?

Now I'm considering the new Envision 19" set that Costco.com offers:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=844379

But, again, a 16:10 set. I hope my local Costco has them so I can check it out.

Mark
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post #16 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 01:42 PM
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I just got a $50 off coupon for this TV from C* today and was thinking about getting one for my bedroom. It would be running DirecTV off a SD receiver...at least for now.

Their (Vizio's) website claims 16:9 not 16:10. Can anyone confirm?
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post #17 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Booth View Post

I returned a Vizio VX20L due it not supporting the PSIP data in HD signals (guide didn't work and it didn't properly map the local station designated channel identifier, eg, it tuned "91-3" instead of "8-1"). I also wasn't pleased that it is a 16:10 set (not 16:9) so people's heads looked a bit "squished" (top to bottom) or too round.

Am I the only one that noticed these problems?

Now I'm considering the new Envision 19" set that Costco.com offers:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=844379

But, again, a 16:10 set. I hope my local Costco has them so I can check it out.

Mark

I returned the Envision and got the Vizio. THe Envision was nice. However, after 4 days, it died. The power light would stay on and the unit was non functional. I figure with Vizio, maybe the products are made from a little better quality because it's build quality is greater and cabinet design looks nicer.

16:9/16:10 I really haven't noticed any issues. Of course, mine is in the garage and I'm standing and mostly watching and feeling kinda cool to have this set wall mounted in the garage. So maybe I just haven't noticed any shortcomings. For the money, HDMI and such I'm happy. Hopefully it lasts longer than the Envision which is a step down from the Vizio.

Oh, and love the HD pic OTA and from cable I get. No idea about your mapping issue, over my head, but I get all of my local channels (and HD) without issue over my antenna.
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post #18 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 03:09 PM
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Mark Booth- Just tracked down the resolution for the Vizio and it's 1366 X 768. According to wikipedia and that is a 16:9 ratio.

WXGA(2) -1366×768 -16:9
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post #19 of 84 Old 05-07-2007, 07:59 PM
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VX20L should be a 16:9 TV. And the guide works perfect on mine. I could not find any signal strength meter either. The only complaint I have about the VX20L is that the white color shows up a little pinkish (and the black doesn't look right either), and I could not figure out what settings would fix it. Anybody have suggestions?

I also have a Sharp LC-20SH21U bought with a cheaper price, and its looking is much better than the Vizio (VX20L is a little ugly to me), and it does have a signal strenght meter, but its boot time is longer. The Sharp does not have guide and PIP unfortunately. I may have to return it.
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post #20 of 84 Old 05-08-2007, 05:25 AM
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I get the speaker hiss, too. The only way to make it go away is to hit mute or turn the speakers off. Turning the sound all the way down doesn't do it. I sent the first one back because of this, and the second one has it, too. We have it in the baby's room to give my wife something to watch while the baby is "going to the Dairy Queen" and she says she doesn't notice it, but I do.

P.S. Dairy Queen is a fast food restaurant in the south, but even if you don't have these in your area, you probably still get the joke.

The previous post may contain spoilers, which will make the post less aerodynamic and increase handling at high speeds.
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post #21 of 84 Old 05-13-2007, 08:59 AM
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I just picked-up one of these sets from Costco and have noticed some static (you might call it "hiss") coming from the speakers while watching digital OTA stations. Turning the volume down to zero doesn't make it go away; only when the sound is on Mute does the static disappear. However, while the set is tuned to an analog OTA station, there is no static, so this problem must be related to the digital tuner.

Since I use this set in the bedroom at night when everything else is quite, this static from the speakers is very noticable.

I also own the Vizio 47" model which has a well known speak "buzz" associated with the power supply which Vizio is replacing under warranty. I'm hoping the 20" doesn't have a similar manufacturing defect.

Any other Vizio 20" owners notice this speaker "static" while tuned to digital stations?
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post #22 of 84 Old 05-14-2007, 07:54 AM
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Yes my VX20L has exactly the same problem of hissing noise, with both digital and analog channels. Once I notice it, it becomes a little unbearable sometimes. Has anybody contacted Vizio and got explanation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by netcruzer58 View Post

I just picked-up one of these sets from Costco and have noticed some static (you might call it "hiss") coming from the speakers while watching digital OTA stations. Turning the volume down to zero doesn't make it go away; only when the sound is on Mute does the static disappear. However, while the set is tuned to an analog OTA station, there is no static, so this problem must be related to the digital tuner.

Since I use this set in the bedroom at night when everything else is quite, this static from the speakers is very noticable.

I also own the Vizio 47" model which has a well known speak "buzz" associated with the power supply which Vizio is replacing under warranty. I'm hoping the 20" doesn't have a similar manufacturing defect.

Any other Vizio 20" owners notice this speaker "static" while tuned to digital stations?

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post #23 of 84 Old 05-14-2007, 12:17 PM
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I have this panel as my office TV, and am very happy with it. I too have a very slight hiss when the volume is turned to 0, but it's certainly not audible during listening levels. I sit approximately 5 feet from the display. I only found it when I tried it because of this thread. Perhaps every TV does this since the audio circuits aren't the best. Besides, when is it ever turned to 0????

I'm completely satisfied with my purchase, and especially happy with the way it renders SD programs.
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post #24 of 84 Old 05-14-2007, 12:42 PM
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I too am considering picking up this lcd for use in a kitchen. I was just wondering if anyone compared the picture quality to other similiar sets in this size and price range and what your impressions were. Thanks, Rob
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post #25 of 84 Old 05-14-2007, 01:31 PM
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I don't think the competition in this price point is anywhere near the Vizio. We're talking a $400 panel, and that's tough to find, much less the size constraints. I have a small Sharp panel in my bathroom, and it's not near as nice a picture as this, although it is only extended definition, not high-def.

By the way, for those that asked, the height with stand is 15-1/2", perfect for undercabinet countertop mounting. Those considering this could mount a cable box inside a base cabinet and run a remote repeater to control it, that way getting all the programming should you care to.
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post #26 of 84 Old 05-14-2007, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for the input. I am trying to compare this panel to a $350 westinghouse 19 inch at best buy. Wish I could see them side by side. Thanks, Rob
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post #27 of 84 Old 05-15-2007, 05:21 AM
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One thing that I've found with sets this small is that the picture quality is very impressive...across the board. The small space makes the colors quite vibrant and the picture quite smooth. More than likely, you will only find the Vizio in Costco, so comparisons are difficult. Whatever you choose, you'll be happy with it as a secondary kitchen panel, and the Westinghouse will also serve you well.
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post #28 of 84 Old 05-15-2007, 02:46 PM
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LG and Samsung now have 19/20 inch LCD's with HD tuners. Has anyone seem these and compared them to the Vizio? The Samsung is LN-T1953H and the LG 20LS7D.
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post #29 of 84 Old 05-18-2007, 11:51 AM
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I may be blind, but I just bought this hdtv from Costco and I cannot find any rca audio out jacks for connecting to a sound system. The only audio output I can find is the headphone out jack. I can get an adapter if needed but I figured all hdtvs nowadays would have an separate R/L audio out option?
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post #30 of 84 Old 05-18-2007, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvc View Post

I may be blind, but I just bought this hdtv from Costco and I cannot find any rca audio out jacks for connecting to a sound system. The only audio output I can find is the headphone out jack. I can get an adapter if needed but I figured all hdtvs nowadays would have an separate R/L audio out option?

Interesting. I had not noticed that, but you're correct. From their specs page:

Outputs
Analog Audio out (RCA): 0
5.1 SPDIF Digital Optical Audio: 0
Headphone (Stereo Mini-Jack): 1


Hmm.
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