Vizio SV420XVT 42-Inch HDTV
At a Glance
The SV420XVT delivers great image quality at a great price, but its design lacks finesse.
Vizio's TVs often lead in price and image quality, and this model is no exception: At $1100 (as of November 4, 2008), the SV420XVT is the least-expensive 120-Hz LCD we've seen. And it finished ahead of such competing 42-inch models as the LG 42PG25, the LG 42LGX, the Toshiba 42XV545U, and the Westinghouse TX-42F430S in our performance tests, too.
I was especially impressed with the SV420XVT's superb handling of the American Idol clip we use in our testing, despite color saturation that was a tiny bit too bright. I loved the image in our Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Blu-ray test as well. Though the opening fade-in image of the ship was slightly grainy, I rated every other aspect of the test Superior--the highest possible rating.
On the other hand, I was disappointed by The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King DVD clip, which lacked deep blacks and displayed faces that didn't seem to have the texture of human skin (no, they weren't supposed to belong to orcs). Since this test involves a standard DVD, these results may indicate a shortcoming in upconverting standard resolution. Again, though the SV420XVT finished first in image quality, a scant four-point spread separated first and last place in the 42-inch category.
Unfortunately, the SV420XVT is difficult to set up: Most of the inputs are arrayed face-down on the back of the TV and are very difficult to reach (being a contortionist helps); a few easy-access inputs on the side improve matters somewhat. And the Vizio's first-time setup wizard doesn't ask whether you'll be using the TV at home or in a store.
The SV420XVT lacks a number of useful features, too. There's no quick menu for frequently altered settings, no USB port or SD Card slot for photos or music, and inadequate backlighting on the programmable remote: Only six buttons are backlit, and in the dark you can't tell what four of those are.
Still, if you're looking for the best HDTV picture for the price, you may be inclined to overlook these issues.