Friday, January 2, 2009

REVIEW of VIZIO VA22LF (22" 1080P) TV

In the last year I have migrated to shooting and editing HDV video using Sony FX1's, Canon HV20, and Sony Vegas 8, as well as Apple FCP.
Since I have a very small workspace I needed a small solution in which to work with.

One of my biggest goals was to find a solution that would avoid any rescaling or artifacting.

I wanted something that had a TRUE 1920x 1080 native resolution. And the smallest possible solution, until recently was the 32" Samsung, which was still too large to setup in my workspace.

That is until this past week, when I noticed that VIZIO had developed, which currently, might be the smallest true 1080P LCD tv, in the form of the

I was so excited when I read the specs on it. That I ran out right away to Target, and picked up the 22" VA22LF to give it a whirl.

BTW, here are just some of the specs (I'm not going to post all of the intensive details here, as they can be seen on the link above):

Native Panel Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Supported PC Resolutions: 1920 x 1080, 1366 x 768, 1024 x 768, 800 x 600

Display Compatibility: FHDTV (1080p)
Signal Compatibility: 480i (SDTV), 480P (EDTV), 720P (HDTV), 1080i (HDTV), 1080p(FHDTV)
Response Time: 5 ms
Colors: 16.7 Million

RF (F Connector for internal tuner): 1
HDMI with HDCP: 2
Analog Stereo Audio for HDMI Inputs: 1
Component YPbPr plus Stereo Audio: 1
Composite Video: 1
S-Video plus Stereo Audio: 1
Computer RGB plus Stereo Audio: 1
Service Port: 1

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

"Enough about the specs on this baby, how did it perform?"

Before we get to how it performed, let me just share my current editing workflow.

My current setup, I edit on a Quad Core MAC PRO with a Intensity Pro HDMI/PCI card installed, and use a 24" DELL display for my main monitor. I also have a JVC SD monitor that I use for color correcting my footage via the Black Magic Intensity Pro PCI card.

My JVC monitor can be used for HD footage, via the Intensity card, which will down convert HD footage to SD, and send it via component cables. But as I said, I have been looking for a small HD monitor/TV that I could setup and use to obtain fairly accurate HD color correction with.

"Ok, now can we get to the performance of the Vizio?"

The picture quality is very good, especially for the $300 price tag.

Manual picture controls are adaquate, as you have control over Brightness (black value), Contrast (white value), Tint, Color saturation, and even indpendant color temperature (RGB) if desired. You can turn off DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) which is great, as the reason why I never purchased the Sharp sets is that you can't easily turn off DNC without having to go into the service menu to do it (no thanks). There are also other features which are nice to turn on and off, depending on what you are doing. As some of these controls are great for normal viewing, but not desired for critical work.

The LCD screen is glossy so you get a nice looking blacks without being overly crushed (after calibration). Speaking of calibration, I wish that Vizo had a Blue Gun setting in the menu like the Samsung has. This would make color calibration a snap, without the need for blue gel.

As for color work out of Vegas 8 or FCP6 via HMDI, it worked flawlessly. The picture did seem to be sharper in Vegas though rather than FCP. This is most likely due to the fact that Vegas lets you preview "Best" true display quality from the timeline, where FCP (even at best settings) still seems a bit soft. Color reproduction seemed consistent between the two programs, and seemed pretty accurate overall. Although, the blacks seemed a bit grainier than they looked on my computer screen. I'm still checking to see if the footage was truly grainy of this is LCD artifacting. I think that I had some scaling going on from FCP.

As for straight camera or HD set top box to the LCD, it looked great. I hooked my Comcast HD box as well as AF connection (viewed open air HD of local stations), and the pictures seemed identical and crisp, with no artifacting.

As for running my HV20 (in good lighting of course) into the LCD, the picture looked nothing short of GREAT. Unfortunately, my FX1's only give you Composite connections from the camera, which did look very good as well, but not as good as HDMI did.

I might have a Gefen Composite to HDMI box floating around that I can try out.

Onboard audio is alright, nothing special from the small built in speakers. Boosting the Bass did help some, but I'm not relying on the built in speakers for more than monitoring or quick preview of picture to audio sync. Speaking of sync, the Vizio has a neat setting called lip sync, which can help you adjust the drift between picture and audio that you sometimes get from cable viewing.

All in all while not the best LCD on the market, I think that this little LCD is more than adequate for most of my (as an event shooter) needs.

This would be a GREAT set to take with you to bridal shows, or even on a live shoot though to use as a reference monitor, as it only weighs 11 lbs., and only 2.5" thick.

This set is currently hard to find, as only Target currently is selling them online.
The funny thing about this is that online it said delivery in 2-6 weeks. I checked local store inventory on the Target website and it only gave me one local store with it in stock. When I went to the store, they had no Vizio sets on the floor, and the salesman said that he had never seen a Vizio set in the store. When he checked the inventory in his computer, it showed that he had them in stock. Guess they JUST CAME IN. Well of course I got one, and guess what, so did the salesman.

Can I get commission on that.

Just a quick note...
When he brought it out and rung it up it came out to be less than advertised online $311 or something like that, it's online for $329.

Gotta like that as well.