After Hours

Geek Gifts 2010: VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV

With built-in Wi-Fi and Internet apps, the VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV is a very good television at a very reasonable price.

The price of LED LCD HD televisions has come way down since the 2009 Geek Gift Guide. An LED-based unit is now not only reasonable, it is also desirable, as the VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV clearly exemplifies.

Specifications

  • Product: VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Application
  • Company: VIZIO
  • Dimensions: TV without stand: 47.99" x 29.87" x 1.93" (WxHxD); 44.75 pounds
  • Display: 47 inches, full HD (1080p), 100,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Audio: SRS StudioSound HD, two built-in 10-watt speakers
  • VIZIO Internet Apps: Amazon Video on Demand, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Twitter, VUDU and Yahoo TV Widgets
  • WiFi: 802.11n
  • Connections: 4 HDMI (with HDCP), Ethernet, Composite, RF, Computer input (RGB), SPDIF Digital Optical Output, Stereo Audio Output, 3 USB
  • Price: SMRP $1,430, available on Amazon at publication date for $1,000.

What I like

  • Image quality: I consider VIZIO televisions to be in the middle of the pack when it comes to image quality, but the picture quality of the M470NV is actually better than expected. The colors are vivid and the blacks are black. The LED backlit screen is more vibrant than the Sony LCD I purchased last year.
  • Wi-Fi: Built-in Wi-Fi is the future of television. All modern TVs should ship with the capability to receive signals through both a standard wire and wirelessly - I have no doubt they soon will.
  • Audio quality: This was a very pleasant surprise, because the two side-mounted 10-watt speakers do a very good job of generating SRS StudioSound HD. For the average family, the built-in speakers should be enough, but there is also digital audio output for the audiophile in the household.
  • Ports: The VIZIO M470NV comes with a full complement of HDMI connections (4), plus the normal connections common on modern LCDs. There are also three USB ports that you can use to show photos from your latest vacation (the neighbors will be thrilled).
  • Full-service widgets: The convenience of Wi-Fi, coupled with great services like Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, and Rhapsody, cannot be overstated. The amount of content available from those services really makes for easy viewing, especially movies.

What I don't like

  • Featureless widgets: On the flip side, access to the other widgets ranges from merely okay to downright frustrating. Yahoo Widgets are okay, but, frankly, a computer is better for Twitter and Facebook. And the WebVideos widget is a terrible idea. The major networks are represented, including CBS, but instead of full episodes of NCIS for example, there are 30-second snippets. Now, why would anyone want that? It is insulting.
  • Mounting bracket: There is no included mounting bracket, so you will have to buy one separately if you want to mount the TV on the wall.

Geek bottom line

The VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV is a feature-rich and very good television that is available at a reasonable price. The built-in Wi-Fi means that you can get content from services like Netflix without having a separate box or computer connected to the TV - this is a very convenient feature. However, some of the widgets included with the television are essentially useless and should not be considered when contemplating the purchase of this television. Buy the VIZIO M470NV 47-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV for the display, the Wi-Fi, and the available content services, but ignore most of the widgets.

Geek rating (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ****
  • Geek factor: ****
  • Value: *****
  • Overall: ****

Want more reviews of tech gadgets and gizmos? Download the PDF of TechRepublic's Geek Gift Guide 2010.

About

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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