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Vizio VP505XVT Plasma TV Setup & Tests

Setup & Tests
The Normal color-temperature preset was closest to correct—Warm was actually too red, which is much rarer than it should be. The set offers a full 2-point set of calibration controls in the user menu, and calibration was easy. As always, don't attempt this without the requisite tools and training. Calibration certainly improved the picture quality, but it wasn't all that far off to begin with in the Normal color-temperature preset (see Measurements).

This would lead some to forego a professional calibration, which can cost several hundred dollars—though the Vizio would probably be at the low end of a tech's fee scale because it's so easy to work on. I agree that a full calibration is not critical in this case, but it does make a noticeable improvement in the picture quality. And even with a full calibration, this set still costs less than comparable models without a calibration.

Green was somewhat oversaturated, as were red, yellow, and cyan to a lesser extent (see Measurements). Unfortunately, there is no color-management system with which to correct them, but that's a feature I wouldn't expect at this price point. On real-world material, it didn't seem to matter much anyway, as we'll see.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I routinely use the HQV Benchmark test discs as part of my testing regimen. Now, I know there are many who claim that these discs are designed to make the HQV processor look good and are therefore suspect as general-purpose test tools. However, I say that a test is a test, and the images on these discs are just as revealing of how well other processors work—in fact, I've seen competing processors pass these tests with flying colors, while others fail miserably. Thus, I make no apologies for using the HQV discs to evaluate the performance of any video processor.

Starting with HQV Benchmark on DVD via component at 480i, There was some slight banding in the high-frequency vertical burst, and the high-frequency horizontal burst was pretty rolled off. Jaggies were very minor, as expected from the HQV processor, and detail was a little better than many sets can manage with standard-definition. The temporal noise reduction was very effective without softening the picture, and the MPEG NR was more effective than most I've seen, but it did soften the picture a bit and made it look quite flat. Both 3:2 film and 2:2 video looked very solid.

On the HQV Benchmark HD DVD at 1080i via HDMI, the video resolution-loss test was solid as a rock, but the film resolution-loss test exhibited some pronounced, continuous shimmering in the most of the bursts in the moving monoscope. The pan across the stadium seats was pretty juddery, but less detail was lost than on most LCDs. Jaggies were invisible.

Motion detail was very good on the FPD Benchmark Blu-ray test disc—better, in fact, than virtually all 60Hz LCDs and at least as good as 120Hz LCDs, and with no frame-interpolation artifacts to worry about. There was still a bit of blurring in moving objects, but not nearly as much as LCDs without frame interpolation. The 0-100 brightness ramp was very smooth with only slight banding, while the 0-25 ramp had a bit more banding, which is very hard to avoid completely. The differentiation between shades of black and white in the mostly black and mostly white shots was excellent.

The gradation tests also provide a great torture test of off-axis performance, which LCDs always struggle with. On the other hand, plasmas excel at this particular criterion, including the Vizio. I did notice one weird thing—at an extreme off-axis angle, I could see a double image of the white dominos on a black background, as if the image on the screen surface was being reflected by a mirror behind it. This was not a problem at normal viewing angles.

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