(When I realized that I needed a new TV, I started reading reviews on all brand name HDTV's that I could find on the Web. The more I read, the more confused I got. Until I sat back and thought about it. These companies sell thousands of these things and comparing that with the complaints that I read over the web, it only amounts to a handful of lemons. There are those brands that are better, but none of them are perfect. And when it comes to durability, nothing beats the old tube style TVs. Things built today are made to be disposable. So please get trhe extended warranty!)
You will have to understand that I have been living in the past. I have had a big tube style retro TV until now. I recently had to move on due to my tube TV has seen better days. The sound would not stay on and the bright adjustment was turned up as far as it would go. I took off my hat (saluting the fun times we had) and moved it out to the ditch for the City to take off. My Vizio 32" E321VL is Refurbished. This is my first experience in personally owning an LCD HDTV. So I really have nothing to compare except watching someone else's HDTV, or what I have seen in a store. (Interestingly stores, like Wal-Mart, do not have any of these HDTVs hooked up to an HD signal. So you have no way of judging these TVs.) I am moving up from a 1000lb tube TV, or so it seemed. This TV was easy to set-up and mount to the wall.
You need an HD signal to get the most out of this or any HDTV. The only source of a TV signal that I am using is an outdoor TV antenna. I receive 8 HD channels in my local area out of a total of 21 digital broadcast channels over the air. They look totally awesome, with such rich detail and color. The TV tuner picks up all of the channels I was receiving with the "converter box and tube TV" setup that I was using before. The only disappointment is the "Electronic Program Guide" will only show details of the program that I am watching at the moment, which almost seems pointless. With my converter box setup I was able to look at the TV schedule of the whole day. Even the cheapest converter box is able to at least do this much. (FYI; This TV does not need the converter box to receive Over-the-Air TV signals. It has a built-in digital tuner.)
You can Google the net for "Vizio E321VL picture calibration" and you will find a number of suggestions on how to custom set up your picture. I found it easy to negotiate through the menus and make my adjustments. One thing that I discovered is that you can have different individual settings for the different inputs to the TV; for example I may have my DVD input set at stretch, and my TV antenna input set at normal. Even the volume can be set for each individual input.
The one thing that attracted me to a Vizio is that it was the only brand of TV that had its speakers pointed at me. I am thinking that having the speakers pointed toward me would reduce the need to "up the volume" or placing the TV in an entertainment center, in order to direct the sound outward. I have no problem with the audio on this TV. I had read a lot of reviews on how people were disappointed. But looking at any of the TVs in the 32" range, they all had either 10w or 5w speakers. Nothing to give you the sound of a home theater system, which I am not surprised, I am satisfied and thought the audio was very exceptional. I do not think that the speakers are capable of delivering any heavy bass sound if that is your cup of tea. A sound bar is the only way to improve sound. It has a feature that auto adjusts the sound between a commercial and programming, even between channels. I turned this feature off because I think at times it was confused. No problem with the sound fluctuating after it was turned off.
I have found that this TV is good for all around general viewing; Very good TV for the price. I found that viewing sports or action movies was even good, but then again I am receiving my viewing from an outdoor antenna which gives me a better signal than a satellite dish or cable would. I personally feel that raw OTA signal directly from the broadcast tower, and Blu-Ray, are the best signals that would enhance your experience on any HDTV.
If it came down to grading this HDTV on a five star scale; I am giving this TV only 4 stars because of the "Electronic Program Guide" which is almost completely nothing. That feature should have at least been comparable to an inexpensive converter box. It is a small detail that should have had some attention and it is that important to me.
Someone picked up that old tube TV about an hour after I had placed it in my ditch. If it was left up to me, I would rather have another one of those old tube style TVs. I'm gonna miss em.
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