The front of the Vizio VO370M is dominated by the 37-inch LCD display. The display is surrounded by a black bezel that goes from glossy to textured. Below the display is a Vizio logo that also acts as an indicator light.
On the back of the Vizio VO370M you'll find you'll find the power input, most of the ports for the television and mounting points for mounting the television on the wall. For information about the ports on the back of the Vizio VO370M see our Connectivity section.
The right side of the Vizio VO370M doesn't have any features. On the left side you'll find a small selection of ports and the on-tv controls. For information about the ports on the back of the Vizio VO370M see our Connectivity section.
The Vizio VO370M's stand is a simple slab of black plastic that slots easily into the bottom of the television. It does not rotate.
The VO370M's on-tv controls are found on the left side, just above a collection of ports. The buttons are glossy black plastic that look something like piano keys.
The Vizio VO370M's remote control is a simple glossy black plastic affair that's small and curved on the back to make it easier to hold. It's also rather ugly.
In The Box*(7.0)*
The Vizio VO370M ships with a manual, remote control and batteries. Ther's no cleaning cloth or HDMI cable included. There is some assembly required, but it's not ardous. Simply slot the display into the stand and use a single included screw to hold it in place.
The Vizio VO370M is not a particularly attractive television. There's just really no design flourishes here that will make it stand out as an object of praise. It's not overly ugly, however, and it should blend into your decor.
The VO370M had slightly high black levels: we measured the deepest black that the display could produce at 0.35 cd/m2. This means that black areas of images on the screen won't look like a true black; instead, they will look slightly greyish. This isn't unusual in cheaper models like this, though; deeper blacks are typically only found on more expensive models, and the similarly priced LG 37HH30 had similar black levels.
The VO370M had bright whites, though; with the backlight cranked up to the maximum, we measured the brightness of the whites at a bright 338.99 cd/m2. That's a decent score that is in line with what we typically see for TVs at this size. Althoug
The contrast ratio is the ratio between the deepest black and the brightest white, which we measured at 968:1. That's on the low side, because of the weak blacks, but again, the cheaper models typically have smaller contrast ratios than their more expensive cousins. The LG37H30, for instance, had a contrast ratio of 1075:1, and only the more expensive Samsung LN32B360 had a wider ratio in our tests.
Vizio splashes the number of 15,000:1 on the box, but is careful to describe this as a 'dynamic 15000:1 contrast ratio'. That's because the display offers a feature called DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio) that dims the backlight on dark scenes, creating a darker black. We tested with this feature disabled, because we found that it didn't come into effect in normal use; it only worked when nearly the entire screen was black,which doesn't happen often.
The tests above look at pure black and pure white screens, but that's not how things work when you are watching TV: there are blacks and whites on the screen at the same time. So, we also test the blacks and whites together. In this test, we look at how well the blacks hold up as they are surrounded by larger and larger amounts of white, from a small amount around the edges to 95% of the screen being white. Some displays have problems with the blacks turning grey because of light bouncing around inside the display, but we didn't see any major issues on this display; the blacks remained pretty constant through the test.
The flip side of this is what happens to the whites; does the brightness of the whites remain constant as there is more and more white on the screen? Again, we didn't see a problem here with the VO370M; the level of the whites remained mostly constant as we increased the amount of white from 5% right up to a completely white screen.
The screen of the VO370M had some issues with unifromity; in our tests loking at pure white and black screens, we noticed some problems. On black screens, the corners of the screens were significantly ligher than the center, and on white screens the left side of the screen was darker than the rest. We don't expect a display to be perfect, but the differences were significant, and could be seen when watching a normal video.
Gamma is a measurement of how quickly the display goes from black to white. If the gamma is too high, the image will look overly bright because the display is exagerating the brightness of the greys. The ideal we look for is between 2.1 and 2.2, but the VO370M was somewhat off from that; we measured the Gamma at 3.13. This means that the greys will look rather on the bright side if you were to look at this display next to one with a more ideal gamma.
The VO370M is a full 1080p display, but it doesn't always have the luxury of being able to work with this highest of all HD resolution signals. Instead, it often has to display a lower resolution signal, which is why we test it with a number of different signals to see how well it can upscale them to fit onto the screen.
The VO370M did a decent job with 480p signals (such as those prodcued by standard definition DVD players with HDMI outputs): the images were overscanned by about 3%, which is normal, and we saw no major problems with the upscaling that the display did.
720p signals did not look as good, though; we saw some problems with lines becoming rather jagged and complex patterns looked smudged and inaccurate. There was no overscan in the Full aspect ratio mode, which the display chose by default.
Interlaced signals in the 1080i format outputted by most cable and satellite devices generally looked good, although there was some slight smudging caused by the interlacing. Again, there was no overscan.
As part of our calibration process, we try and get the color temperature of the whites as close as possible to 6500k. For the VO370M, the closest we could get was about 6800k using the Normal color temp mode. But we also look at how consistent the whites are as they fade to grey; some displays have problems that mean that greys turn blue or orange. The VO370M didn't have a problem here; we found that the whites remained very constant as the intensity fell, so most users won't see any color cast to greys on the screen. the on;y exception to this is when the disply is almost black; we saw a significant shift with these greys.
All HDTVs create colors by mixing reds, greens and blues in varying amounts. So, it is important for a display to be able to accurately represent subtle changes in each of these primary colors, and that's what we test here. We display a series of screens in each of the primary colors at different intensities, measure the intensity of the screen and then look at the curve that these measurements show (called the response curve). What we are looking for here is problems with sudden jumps or glitches in the curves; these indicate that the display wasn't able to accurately represent a subtle change in the color intensity. Imagine a blue sly that's composed of subtle changes in the color; if the blue response curve is bumpy, you'll see contours in the sky that aren't present in the original image.
The VO370M had a few minor issues here: as you can see the response curves are slightly bumpy, and both the red and blue curves show peaking, where the display doesn't reproduce changes at the high end because it is already showing the brightest color it cam. What this can mean is that very bright objects (such as a bright flower or a bright uniform) will get lost, because the display can't reproduce the differences between the bright colors.
If we take this data and convert it into a gradient, we see how these bumps translate into banding on a gradient. The effect of these bands is that subtle color changes (such as skies or the details of flowers) may not be accurately represented: they may look flat, or may show bands that weren't present in the original image. The top gradient represents the ideal; a perfectly smooth response. If you see bands or bumps in this, they are caused by the display you are reading this review on.
The color gamut of a display is the range of colors that it can represent. The range of colors that a HD signal should contain is defined in a standard called Rec.709, and a good HDTV should be able to show approximately the same range of colors. That's what we test here, and we found that the color gamut of the VO370M was a little off; the blue in particular was some way off from the ideal. What this means is that some colors (particularly the blues and reds) will look different to what the filmamker intended. This may not be a serious problem, but we do wish that the manufacturers paid closer attention to this.
For those who want to know the specifics of this test, the color coordinates of both the Rec.709 standard and our measurements are shown below.
The VO370M doesn't have the 120Hz or 240Hz motion processing that many other models have, and this shows in the motion, which looks jerky and jumpy next to a model with better processing. Motion just wasn't smooth; anything that moved at high speed across the screen, and the subtle details were lost. One of our tests uses a series of grey lines moving across the screen, and these just collapsed into each other; the pattern turned into a grey mush.
We also saw some artifacting in motion as well; some colors (particularly greens) had trails behind them as they moved across the screen, and some sharp edges became rather broken and jagged.
3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(8.5)*
Mnay broadcasters use a system called 3:2 pulldown to give their TV shows a more filmic look, and the VO370M had no problem detecting and processing this effect in our tests; we saw smooth results, and only an occasional glitch in the image that indicated that it was having an issue. Overall, it did a very decent job; the resulting video have an attractive, clean look. The VO370M also had no problem displaying a true 24 frames per second image produced by a high-end DVD player.
The viewing angle of the VO370M was rather disappointing; we test this by finding the angle at which the black to white contrast ratio falls below 50% of the maximum, and this happened here at just 21 degrees. That's a significantly smaller angle than some; this didn't happen with the JVC LT-42P300 until 38 degrees off axis. However, this is another curse of the cheap HDTV: we saw similar performance from the LG 37LH30 and the Samsung LN32B360 was even worse.
What this means in real world use is that those sitting at the ends of the couch or on the chairs around it will get a weaker image; the blacks will look much brighter and the whites paler. We didn't see any evidence of other colors changing at wider angles, though, so that is something .
We found that reflections on the display front were annoying; if you had a light at the right angle to reflect, you would clearly see the lamp in the screen, and a haze around it. This was particularly annoying on darker screens, where the halo effect was much more visible/
The VO370M includes a number of features that are designed to improve the aulity of images on the screen or to enhance low quality signals. We looked at each of these below.
As usual with features of this type, none of the features were of any real use. The DCR feature seems to exist purely to allow Vizio to put a bigger contrast ratio number on the box.
We found that we had to tweak a number of settings to get the maximum performance out of this display, including decreasing the settings for both contrast and color. As part of our calibration procedure, we look at how the display handles whites and colors at close to the maximum level, and we found that the default settings, subtle differences were not shown, so highlights in objects were not shown. We found that decreasing the settings for contrast and color dealt with this to some degree. We also found that the default Sharpness setting of 3 caused fringing on sharp edges; they had a distinct grey fringe if we put the setting any higher than 0. To ensure we're grading our HDTVs based on their peak performance, we calibrate them using DisplayMate software.
We also set the backlight to the maximum setting for the majority of our tests, but all of the other controls were left in their default settings.
The VO370M has a reasonable selection of picture modes on offer, including a number of sports-themed modes.
Sports fans will probably be happy, but others may fee a bit left out, as there are no modes for those who prefer intellectual competitions to physical ones; there are no modes for chess matches or quiz shows.
Ergonomics & Durability*(4.0)*
The remote that comes with the VO370M is a small, plastic device that is a lot simpler than most remotes. The curved hand fits well into the hand, but it feels like it is made out of cheap plastic that could easily break if you dropped it on a hard surface.
Button Layout & Use*(6.5)*
There are a much smaller number of buttons on the remote than most: just 29 against the 50-60 that we see on many remotes. That's because the VO370M is a simpler TV than most; there are no media or other features that often add buttons to the remote, and it can't be programmed to control other devices. The most commonly used buttons (the volume and channel ones) fall conveniently under the thumb, and we had no problem reaching down to input a channel number directly with the thumb without shifting the remote in the hand. If you want to access the on-screen menu or switch between inputs, you do have to shift your hand, though; the input buttons at the top are out of the reach of all but the longest-fingered users without using the other hand.
There is also no backlight; if you are using it in a dark room, you'll need to rely on your own night vision. We suggest you eat plenty of carrots or train your cat to change channels for you.
Programming & Flexibility*(0.0)*
This remote cannot be used to control other devices: there is no way to program it to control your cable box, HiFi or air conditioning.
The VO370M is not blessed with a huge number of inputs, but it has a decent selection. There are three HDMI port (two on the back and one on the side) and a good number of analog inputs. There are composite, S-Video and component inputs on the back, plus additional composite and component inputs on the side. These inputs also come with accompanying analog video inputs, so you can connect up a number of analog video devices without having to swap cables all the time. There's also a VGA input (again with accompanying analog audio input) and another set of analog audio inputs that are associated with one of the HDMI ports for connecting devices such as PCs that don't send audio over the HDMI connection.
There are only two output ports on this display: an optical digital audio output and a pair of stereo analog audio outputs. That's enough to connect an external surround sound system, but there are no video outputs.
The only other connection is a single USB port that is labelled as a service port, and comes with a warning in the manual that this is only for official use. We did try plugging a USB thumb drive into this, but it didn't do anything. But it didn't explode or yell at us either, so that's a good thing.
The V0370M cannot play digital media from a USB thumb drive, digital camera memory cards or from the Internet; it can just show TV signals.
The ports on the VO370M are well placed; the back ports are slightly recessed so the cables don't stick out too far, and the side ports are easy to find. Because they are pretty deeply recessed, you do have to lean around to be able to see which port is which, though; you couldn't plug a cable in by touch alone.
The speakers built into the front of the VO370M had plenty of volume, but not a lot of kick; although the sound quality was good overall, the bass was lacking. Although there are several different sound modes on offer, none of them did much to add the sort of thumping bass that can make a movie come alive. A pseudo-surround sound mode called SRS TruSurround HD is also included, but this had only limited success: although it did produce a wider sound field, it didn't have the all-encompassing effect that you get from a proper surround sound system. The bottom line is that the speakers on the VO370M are adequate for general use, but movie fanatics will want to invest in a decent surround sound speaker system to run alongside it.
The VO370M uses the same menu structure as most Vizio displays, which is simple and straightforward to use. When you hit the menu button in the middle of the directinal pad on the remote, you are presented with options for Picture, Audio, TV and Setup. Each of these options contains a number of sub-options (such as brightness, backlight, contrast, etc on the picture menu), and some also lead into sub-pages with more options (such as Advanced Video on the Picture page). Fortunately, some common options are put up front, such as changing picture mode, which can be done by simply hitting the left and right buttons of the directional pad from the top menu when the Picture option is selected, or changing the audio mode by hitting left or right when the Audio Mode option is highlighted.
Fitting in with the eco theme of this model, the manual for the VO370M is printed on recycled paper. The content is fresh, though; the manual does a good job of showing how to set up and use the display. Also included is a good setup sheet that details all of the basic connections required to get the display up and running. Vizio has not yet made this manual available for downloading, but it should be available here soon.
The VO370M is a full 1080p screen that has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, so it can display every pixel of the highest resolution HD signals that are in common use today. It can also handle lower resolution signals, from analog standard definition up to the 480p, 720p and 1080i signals that many cable boxes and other HD devices produce.
The VO370M can't handle playing back photos, though; it cannot read photos from a USB thumb drive or show photos from the Internet.
Music & Video Playback*(0.0)*
It also can't play back music or videos.
The Internet doesn't exist for the VO370M; it has no way to show streaming music or video unless you connect it to a computer and let it do the clever stuff.
There are no other media features on this display.
To see how much a HDTv would cost to run, we measrue the amount of electricity that it uses in several modes; with teh backlight on maximum, on minimum and with the backlight set so that the whites are at about 200 cd/m2, which is in the middle of teh range that this display can manage. On thsi standardized setting, we foudn that ti consumed ana verage of about 97.6 watts, which would cost you about $19.06 to run over a year, if you had the TV turned on for an average of about 5 hours a day. That's a pretty average cost; we found that the similarly sized LG 37LH30 cost just a bit more to run.
If you prefer things to be brighter, the cost rises; at the maximum backlight level, the cost over a year would rise to about $28.36 a year to run.
Value Comparison Summary
Both displays are around the same price point: the Vizio costs about $600, while the LG is around $720. Both displays represent good value for money for 37-inch screens, but the Vizio is a bit more aggressively priced.
Blacks & Whites
Both displays have a similar weakness; bright blacks that lead to a relatively weak contrast ratio. While this may not be a problem for everyday use, it may make movies look less appealing.
There was little to choose between the two displays on color performance; both had pretty clean whites, resonably smooth RGB responses and some minor issues in the color gamut. But none of these are deal breakers: both displays had decent, if unspectacular color performance.
The LG had a slight edge when it came to motion; although neither display has particularly attractive motion, the LG looked smoother and had fewer problems. We saw issues with fast moving objects on the Vizio; edges became ragged and jerky, and faces almost unrecognizable. The LG had similar problems, but they were less intense and less annoying.
The LG was also the clear winner on viewing angle; the contrast ration between the blacks and whites held up for a significantly wider angle than the Vizio, although neither was particularly good. Bit displays would be fine for 2 or 3 people on a couch, but they wouldn't cut it as an office display that needs to be seen by a large group of people.
Both displays offer a decent number of ports to connect a number of devices, with three HDMI ports and a good number of analog video inputs. The only real difference is that the Vizio includes an S-Video port, which might be useful if you have an old MiniDV camcorder that offers this, as it gives better video quality than the composite video port.
Value Comparison Summary
The Samsung is the smaller screen (at 32 inches) and runs at a lower resolution of 720p. but it's also the cheaper screen, with a price of about $450, $150 less than the Vizio. Whether the extra size and resolution is worth the extra $150 depends on where you want to use it; the Samsung would be a better pick for a bedroom or spare room TV, but the Vizio might be worth it for a smaller living room that doubles as a movie theater, as the 1080p resolution is an advantage for watching movies.
Blacks & Whites
The Samsung has an edge here; it has a significantly deeper black and brighter whites that lead to a wider contrast ratio. This will means better looking movies and other images, because it can more accurately represent the range of shades that you see in the real world.
Both displays had decent performance in our tests of color performance, although the Samsung did have a slight tendancy for the darker greys to have a slight reddish color cast to them. We also found that the RGB curves of the Samsung were a little bumpier than the Vizio, and the Samsung also had a slightly larger error in the color gamut, with greens in particular looking rather inaccurate.
The Samsung was the winner in our tests on motion performance: it produced distinctly smoother motion with fewer artifacts. Ont eh Vizio, fast moving objects had distinct and annoying trails, but these were much less noticeable on the Samsung.
This is the one area where the Vizio is clearly better than the Samsung; the Vizio had a wider viewing angle. We measure this by looking at the angle at which the contrast ratio between the blacks and whites falls below 50% of maximum, and the Vizio performed better. However, neither display was particularly good, and we wouldn't recommend either display if you are looking for a HDTV for large groups of people.
The Vizio has the wider number and range of ports; it has 3 HDMI ports, while the Samsung only has two. It also has more analog video inputs. But this may not be an issue for many users; if you are looking for a TV for the bedroom or spare room, you aren't going to want to connect a large number of devices.
Value Comparison Summary
The JVC model offers a slightly larger display at 42 inches versus the Vizio VO370M's 37-inches. It will cost you about $200 more for that extra size, however, and the only benefit in terms of performance is slightly better motion performance. You do get one other nice extra for that extra $200, however, a built-in iPod dock on the JVC. If you use iPods and want an easy way to get the photos, music and video onthe device onto your big screen this might make it worth the upgrade. If neither the size or iPod dock matter, however, there's no compelling reason to upgrade here.
Blacks & Whites
The Vizio VO370M and JVC LT-42P300 are remarkably similar in their black and white performance, with the JVC holding a slight edge in each that produces a modest improvement in contrast ratio.
The Vizio VO370M does slightly better with RGB accuracy, meaning it should do a slightly better job of reproducing colors, but aside from that there's no real difference betweenthe two televisions.
This is the one area where the JVC model is a clear winner, with significantly less motion blurring and fewer artifacts. That's not to say that the television is an excellent performer here, rather that the Vizio VO370M is a very poor performer in this area while the JVC is just below average.
The JVC model offers a viewing angle about 50% better than the Vizio VO370M, which can make a significant difference if you've got a couple of couches sitting side by side in front of the television.
The two televisions are almost identical here when it comes to traditional A/V connections. The JVC jumps ahead with an integrated iPod/iPhone dock, however, which allows you to view video, listen to music or view photos from those devices.
Meet the tester
Alfredo Padilla is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email