It all started with a dream ...
… no, not the kind of dream where you close your eyes and see things that aren't really there, but rather, the kind where you long to own something but realize it's beyond your financial grasp.
To understand my quandary, you need to know how I operate. I'm not one of those people that just go out and buy something. If I was, my girlfriend would threaten to kill me a lot less, but I hate wasting money on things that don't work, so I research them to death before making a decision.
That's where I was last Christmas … looking over pages of reviews (like you are right now) and trying to find an HDTV I could afford that I wouldn't regret later. And I searched … and searched … finding everything I liked to be out of my price range. *sigh* No HD TV for Christmas, nor did it seem like it would happen anytime soon.
Of course, my luck changed, or I wouldn't be writing this article. You see, my boss found a sweet HD TV deal on the internet and decided to purchase it. I remember the day well, as I told him he would get what he paid for. Well … I was wrong, and several weeks later I was plunking some cash down for my own … a decision I have yet to regret or reconsider.
Vizio? Who are they?
Vizio is a company based in Irvine, California that used to make monitor for PCs. In fact, I believe they still do. I remember selling their monitor in the computer store and they were always high quality products. In fact, they sold better than ice cream on a hot August day.
So, you might ask, how does that make them qualified to manufacture HD TVs? Interestingly enough, I asked myself the same question. The answer? Well, it all goes back to understanding what a computer monitor is – a high resolution monitor that displays only a single channel – the one sent to it by your PC. So, that should make them experts, provided they mastered the art of creating a tuner to switch channels (after all, they only dealt with one channel before – this could pose a major hurdle in technology for them). Either they borrowed from the Japanese or learned their lesson elsewhere, as they did indeed master the tuner … and everything else they packed inside this wondrous white box.
Care to see it? I included a picture below.
Visio VECO320L-1A 32 Inch LCD TV
More 32" HDTV Models To Consider
What I like about this HDTV
I want to say *everything*, but my rules won't permit that. You see, the responsibility of a reviewer is to point out the good – and the bad. Now, I do set the odds in my favor by reviewing only those products that outperformed my expectations, but even those have a few foibles.
To start with, the picture is very clear; however, the audio needed some tweaking to arrive at my liking. It seems they overdid it on the bass. I had to turn it nearly off to remove distortion, but once I did, I was very pleased with the audio quality. It's also not a very loud TV (compared to others I have owned) but it is definitely capable of throwing off enough volume to please my hearing-impaired children (they aren't truly hearing-impaired – they just like everything extremely loud – their music, their TV, etc.)
Next, we look at the features. I won't go into explaining them all. It's enough to say that the TV is highly customizable, which means anyone can change the settings to their liking. The remote is simple to use and easily allows armchair bandits (such as myself) to fully control everything from the reclined position.
Finally, we arrive at connectivity. After all, my family likes to connect everything they can to a TV, making it more an entertainment superhub than the original plain TV it was inside the box. To date, we have connected an XBOX, a Tivo, an HDMI DVD player, and there is still room for more in the back. To be precise, the TV has two HDMI inputs, an RGP PC input (I want to hook my PC to this monitor, but the girlfriend frowns on encroachment of the PC into her TV viewing), two component video inputs, 1 S-Video input, 1 digital cable input, and an RCA audio output. Now that's a lot of possibilities! I haven't used them all up yet, but give me some time – I'm still trying.
Oh, and I forget to throw in the bonus … you can use the remote to switch between the devices. Of course, one would expect that, but it's nice to know the capability is there. The remote even has a button that let's you go back to the last viewed channel … commercials begone!
The best part? You can mount it to the wall! As my kids like to bounce off the walls (sometimes literally) I chose to place mine on the included stand, but when they all eventually move out, I have a spot reserved on the wall where it will hang. And as the input panel is recessed in the back, I can still connect everything to it, though I'm not certain how I would conceal all the unsightly cables that would be hanging down. Ideas, anyone?
You get what you pay for
I remember telling my boss this, but in this product I believe I have found an exception. That happens from time to time, and those are the products I chose to review – as I prefer to share my good experiences with others, rather than go on about how I was tricked into buying a certain really expensive washer that turned out to be junk a year later (It all worked out for the best in the end, but I'll allow that story for another time).
In this, the product exceeded my expectations, and I feel confident recommending it to anyone. However, I will throw in a caveat. This is not a high-end HD TV. As such, if you are looking for a Cadillac, I recommend looking at a different model. This TV is geared to the person who wants a good quality HD TV and can't afford to pay $1000. In that respect, I rate it top of the line, as it's worth ever penny I paid for it.
And how much did I pay? Well, my boss allowed me to buy it at cost, so I only paid about $400. I checked online, and found them for about $50 more, so it's still a great deal for anyone in the market for such a fine TV. Just remember to tone down that base when you first turn it on – you'll thank me for that advice later on.
Ted Cohen on December 18, 2017:
I agree. Great TV.
Nosgoth1979 on November 17, 2012:
This looks like a good, budget-friendly set. I would fit well with the décor in our den, and I hear nothing but good things about Vizio’s electronics. Come to think of it, one of my coworkers at DISH is constantly raving about his. Right now I’m looking to buy two new TVs since I’m finally getting one of DISH’s Hopper whole-home DVRs. It’ll send all my HD channels to every room, so I’m anxious to upgrade the last few standard definition TVs we have. Ever since we upgraded half of our rooms to HD, the family always seems to end up fighting over the TVs in those two rooms. We’ve all gotten so spoiled by the added clarity that nobody wants to settle for one of the SD sets now, LOL. Once I have new televisions and the Hopper in my house, I won’t have to listen to all the bickering anymore…well at least not the bickering over the TVs.
yoshi97 (author) from a land called 'what if?' on September 12, 2010:
We're still very happy with ours as well. Since writing this article we have added many HDTV stations to our cable lineup and a blueray player - both of which have served us very well.
Would I prefer the giant Sony? Absolutely! But I still feel the TV I purchased was an awesome deal and I have yet to have any issues with it.
It's one of the few items in this world that violates the 'you get what you pay for' adage, and that's a welcome sight for these eyes. :)
Juan on September 12, 2010:
I received this item around the last week of March 2010 and decided to postpone submitting my comments about this HDTV until my excitement wore off. The verdict........ Very GOOD!
yoshi97 (author) from a land called 'what if?' on May 19, 2010:
I have basically the same setup. Here's how I made it all work:
I wired the cable to the Tivo and the Tivo to the composite input on the TV. As the Tivo has its own tuner, you DO NOT want to run it through the cable box at all.
The only reason you would wire through the cable box is if you have channels the Tivo tuner can't pick up. For instance, if you have a Tivo2 and HD channels on your cable.
As you might already know, the Tivo2 only picks up channels 2 - 99, so any higher channels won't go through the Tivo. In this case, you split the cable wire and send one output to the Tivo2, which is then forwarded to the composite input of your TV. You then send the other output to the cable box, which is forwarded to the HDMI input, if available. If it isn't available, the Vizio has a cable input you could tag into.
Remember this ... with a Tivo2. you can only record station 2-99 - that's it! Otherwise, if you try to record the higher stations, you will find you would have to run the cable wire to the cable box, the cable box forward to the Tivo2, and then the Tivo2 to the composite input on the TV. And in doing so you will have what you have now, where you can only record the station selected on the cable box.
This is caused by the Tivo2s inability to see station numbers over 100. Also, the Tivo2 can't record an HD station - it was never made to do that.
A better solution ... get a Tivo3 HD - they were made for what you are trying to pull off, and you then use the same hookup I first recommend above, with the cable wire going into the Tivo and the Tivo being forwarded to the Vizio composite.
I know that sounds a bit complex, but it's the best I can describe it without a diagram. :)
cliff on May 19, 2010:
I still can not get the AV1 input to use my TIVO. The TIVO will not record anything except the channel that is playing on COMP1. I have a splitter on the Britehouse cable and send the Basic signal to the TIVO but it will not record the channel I pick from the list of programs to record.
Compareme from USA on March 13, 2010:
Vizio is really on the march to become a big player, rarely seen the quality they deliver that cheap from any other big brand...give it a few years.
yoshi97 (author) from a land called 'what if?' on September 14, 2009:
Sad to say ... she thinks I overthink all purchasing decisions. However, in my favor ... all but one product I have purchased for her use in the past six years has worked flawlessly - and the one goof I had worked well up until the point it decided to kick the bucket. :)
atomicpaulsen from Orem, UT on September 14, 2009:
your girlfriend threatens to kill you when you DON'T spend money needlessly??
yoshi97 (author) from a land called 'what if?' on July 18, 2009:
Todd D. on July 17, 2009:
Great site! Thanks!