updated 09:05 am EDT, Wed June 25, 2008
VIZIO XVT Televisions
VIZIO used an atypical Wednesday schedule to launch a major change in its HDTV lineup. The XVT series in 42-inch (SV420XVT) and 47-inch (SV470XVT) models is the budget TV maker's first line to use 120Hz LCD panels and gives even relatively cost-conscious users relatively artifact-free fast movement. Both are also comparatively sharp and vivid for economy HDTVs with a native 1080p resolution and a 6,500:1 contrast ratio.
Either screen also has four HDMI 1.3 ports and can create a budget 5.1-channel surround setup with an SV5.1 upgrade kit that adds rear channels and a subwoofer. The two XVT LCDs ship in July at prices of $1,500 for a 42-inch screen and $1,900 for the larger 47-inch model.
A single plasma XVT model, the 50-inch VP505XVT, goes without the faster panel but takes advantage of its display technology to generate a much higher 30,000:1 contrast ratio. The 1080p set is also unique among VIZIO sets with a wine-colored bezel accent and ships with a six-foot HDMI cable in the box -- a rare concession in a field used to shipping analog cables or none at all, according to the company. The plasma XVT shares the four HDMI ports and surround support of its LCD siblings and ships at the same time for $1,700.
The American firm is also using the occasion of the launch to push down the prices of plasma HDTVs even further with two of its existing, extremely low-cost models. The 32-inch VP322 and the 42-inch VP422 both generate the same 30,000:1 contrast ratio as the XVT plasma but cost just $599 and $799 respectively while making relatively few sacrifices. The two drop to 720p and use three HDMI ports rather than four. VIZIO says both are already in stores.