VF551XVT 55-inch LED-backlit LCD TV

January 18, 2009 by


Vizio continues to deliver the latest technology at a highly affordable price with the VF551XVT 55-inch LED-backlit LCD TV.  The beastly design of this system is a great contrast to its powerful performance.

The Vizio VX551XVT is actually an LCD flat panel system that plants hundreds of white LEDs electronically sectioned off into blocks or zones instead of using conventional fluorescent backlighting.  The LEDs allow the video processing circuitry to brighten or dim portions of the screen independently of others.

Unlike other LED HDTVs in the  market today, Vizio’s model comes with side inputs that denies possibilities of an ultra-slim design. Although it is very energy efficient and produces good picture quality, the panel does produce some background noise and has a minor viewing angle flaw. 

The VF551XVT sports a relatively wide black bezel around its 1920 x 1080 pixel LCD panel. It has a 2.5” silver speaker bar right below the bottom bezel and it looks like an intentional aesthetic flaw.  This, however, does not hinder the performance of the system.  Despite its beastly design, it comes with a nice, glossy black remote control that has a silver base and a band of silver trim on the sides. The 8.6” remote control sports a polished chrome rocker switch that makes it easy to navigate through the settings menu, complete with well-marked keys and backlit. 

One impressive feature about this model is its plentiful connectivity options.  There are so many of them that users may hook everything up to this tv and enjoy the quality it offers. Also, it comes with a matte black finish, something that sets it different from glossy black finish of most other models in the market. Purchase comes with a free 1GB thumb drive.


VF551XVT 55-inch LED-backlit LCD TV

Setting Up the Vizio VF551XVT
There are four HDMI ports, a 15-pin PC (VGA) connector and a mini audio port for the PC sound card, composite video, component video and stereo audio ports, one optical PSDIF output, two sets of analog audio jacks, and a coaxial cable/ antenna jack. There is one more HDMI port on the left side of the screen along with another set of composite and component A/V inputs, and a USB port. The USB port makes it convenient for playback of photos, music and video.

Above these ports are the Power, Channel, Volume and Input-Selection buttons.  There is also a menu button and users will be led to the on-screen menu system to adjust basic picture settings, such as brightness, contrast, backlighting, color, tint and sharpness.

To set-up the Vizio VF551XVT for optimal picture quality, users should start in Movie mode.  Adjusting the available user menu controls didn’t help much. The lack of a color management system prevents users from correcting the slightly off primary green color. Vizio probably has in mind some more seasoned and experienced technicians to work on these settings.

Vizio VF551XVT uses Vizio’s TruLED backlighting technology with 960 LEDs spread across 80 blocks to deliver uniform backlighting across the entire screen.  This technology is different from most conventional edge backlighting that allows the ultra-slim design.  This TruLED technology brings the thickness of this system to 5 inches.  The slimmest LED HDTV available in the market today can go as slim as less than one inch.

There is also Vizio’s 240 Scenes Per Second feature, which is actually the 240Hz screen refresh system. Vizio points out that their system combines a 120Hz refresh along with a blackout scene between each of the screen frame.

Vizio VF551XVT

There are several advanced picture settings.  They include Noise Reduction, Smart Dimming and Color Enhancement. With Smart Dimming, the backlighting is raised and lower according to the video content, giving deeper black levels. However, even though the blacks are good, the subtle change in backlighting can be distracting, and sometimes the black is too dark.  This may lead to possible loss of background shadow details.  Disabling this feature may solve this problem, but the scene colors will not be so rich anymore.

The 240MHz technology used to combat blurring and other motion errors are employed in the Color Temperature and Smooth Motion settings.  The feature does eliminate jagged edges on the HD HQV three-bar de-interlacing test, but it does cause some images to appear too smooth around the edges even when the lowest setting is engaged.

Colors are accurate and flesh tones are natural looking, and users may consider disabling the Color Enhancement feature to achieve the best result.  There is, however, background noise while viewing 1080p content. Plus, the scale turns bluish to a noticeable degree, leading to less accurate skin tones for midbright areas.  Artifacts can be seen during scenes with very light or white backgrounds.  The Noise Reduction feature did just what it described: it did reduce the noise, but does not eliminate them. That said, the Vizio did do well with minimal blooming.

The Vizio 240 Scenes Per Second is not a true 240Hz refresh which requires an interpolation system that generate three new frames between each primary frame.  However, it works quite well, and there is noticeable sharpness improvement for fast motion video and smoothing of film-induced judder.

While Vizio claims a viewing angle of 178 degrees, actual performance check sees color shifting at approximately 165 degrees instead. Also, there is not much difference in the default picture adjustment modes. For example, there is no difference watching a football match on a Golf setting rather than its designated Football setting.  This feature is probably just a sophistication appeal, but the picture modes are not independent per input.There are three options available for HD sources and four for standard-def videos when it comes to aspect ratio control.  There is the inclusion of a versatile picture-in-picture option which doesn’t exist on many HDTVs these days.

Pros and Cons
This system is probably one of the more energy-efficient big screen HDTV in the market.  It uses an average of 168W of power. Performance-wise, the system delivers extremely deep black levels, less blooming than many other models, but the backlighting may fluctuate with picture content. The black may also be too dark at times, eliminating shadow details.

There are plenty of ports for users to hook up almost everything to enjoy with the system. However, most modern HDTVs today come with wireless connections for almost everything, rather than seeing cables and wires. Yet, this model obviously misses a dedicated power-saving mode.

Vizio also may improve on the viewing angle. For such a big screen, Vizio should be prepared that users will set this system in a bigger room, and the viewing angle that cuts at 165 degrees is not going to be too impressive.

Visio once again brings a highly affordable technology product to the market, and this model also consumes lesser power than most other similar 55” models out there. The outlook design may not be as attractive as other models, yet, it does bring good enough quality for users to overlook the design flaw.

However, this much anticipated system is overshadowed by Vizio’s own announcement very shortly after with a new model, VF552XVT that includes a Bluetooth remote and WiFi connectivity.


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Comments (10)


  1. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is “wow”. Picture is really bright, thanks to the LED’s backlighting. Quality is remarkable, and color display is also specific to adaptive luminance with what areas are lit.

  2. anonymous says:

    It’s easy to customize for this TV. I managed to set different settings for different presets. I’ve got the movie preset to have lesser back light and sports with high smooth motion with the 240Hz.

  3. Jas0n says:

    I’ve got some problems with the USB devices. It locks up when I was trying to scroll through my files in the same director. This tv is very basic.

  4. Anonymous says:

    it’s not 3D ready… I’d rather wait for one that is, since 3D is picking up trend very soon.

  5. CDaniel901 says:

    Of course it’s not 3D ready, not with the 120Hz with back-light dimming to make 240Hz SPS. I even had problems with signal input higher than 60Hz… what did you expect from it? 

  6. Reaper.52 says:

    I think this VIZIO tv is good, the colors are nice even though I’m in a room full of windows. Can see it very clearly. I think it’s the backlit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Agree with the part about the customised adjustments of the presets. Also, I like it that the remote control is backlit too. 

  8. anonymous says:

    I’d recommend this to friends. VIZIO has a reputation for low price consumer electronics goods, and I’m happy to say that I’m probably one of its “fans”. It shows that the company can produce cheaper products, but still does not compromise on the quality. Even if it’s not true 240Hz, it’s just a 240Hz SPS, but there are also lots of other tvs and models claiming a ‘fake’ 240Hz as well. Or maybe it’s a 240Hz that makes not much difference than that of a 120Hz, but demands for a lot more money.

  9. anonymous says:

    I’d not use the 240Hz SPS… coz I tried it once, while it does reduce motion blur, it makes the whole thing look very unnatural. And when I sit at a 45 degree angle to the tv, I see bluish gray for black areas. Otherwise, if I’m hogging the tv within that center area, I can get some of the blackest of blacks, inky and nice.

  10. anonymous.72 says:

    I hope that one day it’ll add in an Internet feature. 

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