What we'd also like to see explained is the practical purpose of a 21:9 aspect ratio HDTV. There's just about no actual content available for viewing in 21:9 format, and there don't seem to be any third-party supporters of VIZIO's hardware. Philips released the first HDTV with 21:9 capability back in 2009, but it was not widely received by the general public. We're curious to see if 2012 will yield different results for VIZIO's foray.
While we initially questioned its marketability and usefulness, we now see at least some good in the innovation of the CinemaWide. By traditional HDTV parameters--color, contrast, and motion--it's not amazing, and in fact is not as good in some areas as much cheaper TVs that don't have the CinemaWide's width. But there is one important area--3D--where the CinemaWide is king.
If there's any one reason for the average Joe to invest in this TV, it's 3D. The XVT3D580CM's 3D looks outstanding, and is definitely the best home 3D experience on the market right now. Additionally, movie lovers may go ga-ga over the chance to watch their favorite cinematic masterpieces in 21:9, though the availability of 21:9 capable discs/players is on the rather slim side.
If you're really into the idea of watching films in 21:9 aspect ratio, or want a faux IMAX 3D experience at home, then the CinemaWide might be a smart buy. But outside of these features, it's really rather average.
The XVT3D580CM has a very exaggerated, rectangular shape in order to accommodate its extended aspect ratio of 21:9. It looks sort of squashed (though not in a bad way). Its bezel and stand consist of a brushed metal, giving the TV a matching "carpet and drapes" look. The designers did a good job adhering to classic standards of proper proportion; the sides of the display panel that extend over the edges of the stand are about 50% of the length of the stand, creating a perfect 2:1 ratio between the width of the panel and the width of the stand. We think, in spite of such unorthodox width, the VIZIO XVT3D580CM is a handsome TV.
VIZIO's CinemaWide TVs feature a 2560x1080 resolution, compared to the standard of 1920x1080. The picture below illustrates the spatial difference between 16:9 (1920x1080) and 21:9 (2560x1080), but for most people, these numbers are fairly mysterious. It's easier to start at the beginning, with standard definition. Standard definition TVs display in 4:3 aspect ratio, which is referred to as 480i/480p. Modern HDTVs--those called 1080p resolution televisions--have four times the horizontal space, and three times the vertical space, as standard definition TVs, which gives them a higher resolution. You can think of modern HDTVs as containing roughly four times the resolution space of standard definition TVs. The higher a screen's resolution, the more picture data it can display, resulting in pictures with more detail and more display prowess.
The CinemaWide's 21:9 adds width to a display's available space, upping resolution to that closer to CinemaScope--the resolution we see at the movies. Thus, the XVT3D580CM is a step closer to cinema-quality resolution than standard HDTVs.
Blu-ray disc movies, displayed on a traditional 16:9 TV, are letterboxed (meaning they have black bars along the top/bottom of the picture) in widescreen mode. The CinemaWide alters this by allowing the full screen to be filled, with small portions of the picture cut off at the top/bottom so as not to compress the resolution of the film. It's a step up from the black bar experience we get on traditional HDTVs, though true 21:9 content wouldn't be cut off at all.
The CinemaWide is certainly a step in a bold direction within the realm of televisions. We're wondering if VIZIO may have taken the leap too soon by releasing this hardware to a market that's not ready for it.
The remote that ships with the 50-inch, 58-inch, and 71-inch models in the XVT3Dxx0CM series is a slightly modified version of VIZIO's standard, 2-sided qwerty remote. Rather than featuring the standard remote on one side and the keyboard on the other side, the CinemaWide remote opens to one side like a cell phone, with a slide out keypad.
It's a rather bulky affair, and feels cheaply made; there's a certain looseness to its plastic make-up that makes it seem like dropping it once might be fatal. The main remote is comprised of a series of traditional buttons: big platforms for channel and volume, a 0-9 number selection, power, wide mode, and the "VIA" (VIZIO Internet Apps) button for jumping into VIZIO's Smart Platform.
The main remote slides to the right, revealing a keypad beneath for typing. It's really only so useful, considering that VIZIO's smart TVs don't have a web browser, meaning you won't need it for punching in URL addresses.
Our biggest concern with this remote, beyond its cheapness, is that--despite a synchronization process during initial setup--its infrared functionalities (how well it communicates with the TV) are pretty lacking, and it seems to take numerous presses per button to get a signal, which is really annoying.
In the box, you'll find the display panel, stand components, 8 screws, power cable, some cable ties, an orange cleaning cloth, the slide-out keypad remote, 2 AA batteries, a big, colorful instruction manual, warranty info, and 2 free pairs of VIZIO's passive 3D glasses.
You'll find the XVT3D580CM's input and output ports on the back, left hand side of the TV, lined along an L-shaped cutout. The majority of the ports are horizontally inclined along the side of the TV, but there are also vertically inclined ports along the lower portion of the cutout (though not as many).
We feel the 58-inch CinemaWide offers decent selection. Most of the TVs we've reviewed this year have had three HDMI inputs, four if they were a flagship; the CinemaWide has five, which is almost unheard of, but is definitely a good thing. The five HDMI inputs are located in a row along the side of the port area, along with two USB inputs (for photo/music playback), an ethernet cable input for a LAN connection, an analog audio output (for headphones), and a composite/AV connection.
The vertically inclined ports are a little harder to reach, but also won't need as much accessing as the side ports. In this area, you'll find a simple selection, including a composite connection, a VGA input for connecting your PC, an audio in to wire your PC's audio through the TV, and a coaxial jack for connecting either a cable or antenna service.
We think there's enough variety here to supplement a home theater, especially with the five HDMI ports. The side inclined ports are pretty easy to get to, but since the XVT3D580CM is so wide, you'll probably want to plug your component/PC inputs in before settling the CinemaWide into one spot.
Like the VIZIO E-Series and M-Series, the XVT3D580CM tested with excellent color curves.
The red, green, and blue lines on the chart below represent those TV colors across the light input spectrum. The black line represents the gamma or greyscale. All four lines are uniform--meaning they're close to one another--and smooth, meaning they aren't choppy or bumpy. The result here is that all of your colors and greys, from darkest to lightest, are going to be represented and transition smoothly to and from neighboring shades/hues. A very good result. More on how we test color performance.
The chart below shows the CinemaWide's deviations from its standard color temperature, with the numbers representing deviations in Kelvin to warmer/cooler. Anything within 200° K warmer or cooler is imperceptible to the human eye, but there are spots where the CinemaWide's color temperature hops into perceptibility; right around 30% from brightest input, and again at the darkest inputs.
This isn't a terrible result, but it does mean that a decent amount of colors/greys will have deviated color temperature problems. The deviation in the deep shadows jumps something like -10,000° K cooler (not even fully visible on the chart), meaning your shadow details are going to be skewed into the wrong colors. More on how we test color temperature.
The chart below shows how the CinemaWide's color gamut compares to the rec. 709 color gamut, the standard sRGB gamut for HDTVs.
The white triangle marking red, green, blue, and white points shows the spatial placement of those colors within the gamut, when those colors are brightest. As you can see, the CinemaWide's green, white, and red points were very accurate, though not perfect, but its blue point was quite undersaturated, meaning it isn't saturated with enough light.
Essentially this means that the majority of your colors/greys will be perfectly or close to perfectly represented, but your blues are going to appear inaccurate. More on how we test color temperature.
The VIZIO XVT3D580CM tested with excellent picture dynamics.
Picture dynamics are a measurement of an HDTV's ability to level its whites/blacks consistently, regardless of how much white/black is currently on screen. The CinemaWide tested with vigilant black levels that stay at 0.08cd/m2 no matter how much of the screen is dark/bright, and decent white levels that only deviated by about 2.5 cd/m2 between a 100% and a 5% white screen. More on how we test picture dynamics.
The XVT3D580CM is a 3D, Smart, native 1080p HDTV. It supports all NTSC resolutions and formats.
The VIZIO XVT3D580CM tested with a total viewing angle of 55°, or 28.5° from center to either side. This doesn't offer a lot of viewing real estate compared to the three models we put the CinemaWide up against, but its screen is so wide that most viewers (at least four or five) aren't going to have much trouble viewing it from head-on, or at least somewhere within that total viewing angle.
The XVT3D580CM tested with noticeable motion problems. The details of moving pictures--faces, brickwork, latice, and background patterns--become considerably blurry. Likewise, complex bands of monochromatic pixels showed a good deal of artifacting as the TV attempted to refresh quickly enough to accurately produce those patterns during movement. Turning on the CinemaWide's motion smoothing helped this problem to some degree, but it would also mean having to put up with the widely chastised soap opera effect. Unfortunately, the CinemaWide's unassisted motion performance is poor.
The width of the CinemaWide makes for excellent 3D, but it also means uniformity issues. While the TV can handle a full white screen--the whole 21:9 aspect width--with no problems, it showed us a lot of backlight bleed-in during an all black screen, with whole corners bleeding through towards the center. The CinemaWide does not use an auto-dimming effect on an all black screen, meaning your darker movie scenes or commercial fade-outs are going to look straight up bad.
The average HDTV from Samsung, Sony, or LG contains two 10-watt speakers, usually embedded below the TV's bezel and facing downward to bounce sound forward for more comfortable acoustics and increased clarity. Unfortunately, 10-watt speakers just don't have a lot of "oomph," and the cut in volume also reduces clarity and richness in the extremities of sound, i.e., treble and bass (high and low).
This year, VIZIO's TVs have all contained dual 15-watt speakers, and the added 10 watts (30 watts from VIZIO vs the 20 watt standard) actually makes a subtle but noticeably positive difference. Not only does the added wattage boost overall volume possibility (do not turn your CinemaWide to 100 volume in a small room), it makes for richer bass tones and sparkling treble tones that aren't articulated the same way from standard 10-watt speakers.
We see a lot of talk about motion, color, and contrast; and of course, as the goal of a TV is picture--what your eyes see--this makes sense. But a brilliantly orange-red explosion that filters smoothly across a motion-competent screen is only 80% of the experience, the other 20% being the accompanying music and sound effects. The CinemaWide's 15-watt speakers add the boost to clarity and volume we desire, matching the visual experience, and for this it scored highly on our audio test.
At maximum backlight (Backlight: 100), the CinemaWide uses an average of 205 watts. If you were to watch the XVT3D580 CinemaWide for 4-6 hours a day, you'd be paying about $40 a year on your electricity bill. Turning the backlight down to 52 (which results in a brightness of about 200 cd/m2) cuts that average down to 143 watts, and will cut your yearly electricity cost to a little under $30.
Overall, this is a little more expensive than the average LCD, but isn't outrageous. The CinemaWide costs less, on average, than VIZIO's M-Series, but costs a lot more per year than the comparison models from Panasonic and Sharp.
The VIZIO XVT3D580CM proved quite easy to calibrate; for the first time this year, we didn't have to change any of VIZIO's standard settings to achieve maximum contrast and color representation. You can see VIZIO's calibration alongside ours in the chart below, both having been calibrated within the Movie video mode.
All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.
The CinemaWide has a whopping 9 Video Modes.
3D images are created when the brain receives two images, side by side, and perceives them at varying depths. Human depth perception is created by a process called parallax, which is the brain using size and movement frequency to deduce how close or far something is. The closer an object gets to your face, the more your eyes have to look inward to focus on it; this is why holding your finger against your nose looks like two ghost fingers unless you cross your eyes to focus on it.
3D technology makes use of this brain function to "trick" the brain into thinking it is seeing depth. Essentially, the farther apart the two images are, the closer they seem to be and--ideally--the farther away the background appears to be. The more width a screen has to work with, the more depth it can give to its 3D content. Enter the CinemaWide.
Outside of IMAX 3D, the VIZIO CinemaWide has the most convincing, immersive 3D we've ever seen on a TV. Despite the shortcomings of its core performance, its 3D is extremely good, and VIZIO's lightweight, passive 3D glasses make the experience even more rewarding.
VIZIO's 3D glasses are lightweight and comfortable; they're very close to the kind you get at the movies these days. Our only gripe with them is that they're difficult to fit flawlessly over a pair of standard spectacles; it's do-able, but it takes some adjusting and compromising. The 3D effects are so competent that it's worth it, though.
More often than not, a TV's 3D mode cuts its contrast ratio down by quite a bit. When a 3D signal is detected, the TV assumes that the user will be wearing glasses, which act as sun shades on the user's eyes. To counter this, the TV brightens its black level and attempts to boost its peak brightness. The result usually leaves something to be desired.
The CinemaWide, however, pulls it off superbly. The chart below shows its 2D contrast ratio and 3D contrast ratio, and the 3D ratio is actually larger than the 2D ratio, due to a deeper black level and a dim but acceptable peak brightness, meaning your contrast ratio gets better, rather than worse, in 3D. This is an outstanding result.
Just like its 2D color temperature, the CinemaWide's 3D color temperature is more or less without perceptible deviations, except for a small area on the darker side of the light input, where shadowtones begin to cool down considerably. The rest of the input spectrum is free from error, however, meaning that--for the most part--your color temperature is still pretty good about 75% of the time. Not a great result, but average.
The VIZIO XVT3D580CM's 3D color/gamma curves are alright. The red, green, and blue lines below represent those colors, as displayed by the TV. The black line represents gamma, or the greyscale.
While these curves aren't as uniform as the CinemaWide's 2D curves, they still slope and ramp up at decent speeds, and are not overly bumpy or choppy. This is a very good result within the realm of 3D, where color accuracy/integrity is usually much worse than non-3D content. It's clear that the CinemaWide is geared towards showing high quality 3D, with 3D color/contrast results that are as good as its 2D results.
The black triangle below represents the result from the 2D color gamut test, with the white triangle representing the CinemaWide's 3D gamut result. As you can see, the two are almost identical.
Despite that its 2D color gamut was not perfect, it's a very good sign that the CinemaWide's 3D gamut is spot on accurate with its 2D gamut. More proof that 3D is the major focus of this series.
The menus used by the VIZIO XVT3D580CM are the same menus used on VIZIO's 2012 E-Series and M-Series televisions: pressing the menu key brings up a 3x3 grid of titled menus, which split into sub-menus, and offer a huge variety of options to allow the user to make changes to their picture settings, picture size, sound, motion settings, network settings, or to restart initial set-up. The menus are very easy to navigate and use, but the spotty infrared/bluetooth functionality of the included remote makes them potentially frustrating.
VIZIO's smart platform, simply called VIZIO Internet Apps, is not really a smart platform, but rather a collection of apps/widgets strung along the bottom of the screen. In one way, they're conveniently accessible due to the quick-loading nature of the platform, and the fact that it takes up so little of your screen. But for the most part, VIZIO's app selection is delegated to Netflix, Hulu, and VUDU, as well as VUDU's apps store, which--even taken together--is paltry next to the smart platforms of Samsung and LG.
VUDU's apps store is well-organized, but doesn't offer as much content as first glance would suggest. Apps are divided into categories, most of which are TV show or movie apps that simply alert the user to when new episodes or updates are applied--it's really pretty disappointing. There's no other app store available to VIZIO's smart platform save for the Yahoo! Connected TV Store, which is much less expansive than the app selection found on Samsung or LG's platforms.
The wireless internet apps (pictured below) string along the bottom of the TV in a horizontal menu, offering numerous Yahoo! widgets for weather, news, and even stock information, but each widget only takes up a small third of the screen, and has very little actual, hard data to it. It's fairly clear that VIZIO's focus this year was much more on affordable, quality TVs rather than internet features and streaming content.
The CinemaWide allows the playback of personal pictures, videos, and music via the two USB inputs located along its left side. Once a USB with picture or video content is plugged into the TV, users need simply click on the "Media" widget located along the horizontal "Wireless Internet Apps" bar, and they can browse their media within the interface pictured below.
For more information on VIZIO's smart platform, apps, widgets, and media playback, click here.
VIZIO's basic menu is a 3x3 grid of sub-menus for 3D options, wide mode, closed captions, sleep timer, picture settings, audio settings, network settings, system settings, and support information.
They're easy to navigate through using the arrow keys on the remote, and load up pretty quickly when you press the "menu" button. There are ample customization options available per each sub-menu, and we think VIZIO's done a good job allowing users to fully customize their TV to personal preferences.
Users should note that, like most TVs, the VIZIO CinemaWide will default to the aspect ratio of the HDMI signal input. If you want to force a picture to take up the entire 21:9 worth of space, for example, you must go into the wide menu and select "wide aspect" rather than "auto aspect," which, for most content, will default to 16:9.
The CinemaWide is a niche television, meant for niche consumers.
From the standpoint of the average consumer, there are only a couple of huge draws to this TV. It's a mixed bag of successes and failures by traditional standards. Its unassisted motion interpolation, screen uniformity, color temperature integrity, and color gamut range from poor to just average. It's also got an astoundingly narrow viewing angle for being so wide. Yet it balances these shortcomings with good overall color accuracy, a strong maximum contrast ratio, above average audio, and superb picture dynamics.
Outside of its special features, the CinemaWide is just an average TV. It'd be better off with a high quality smart platform, but VIZIO's is still (arguably) better than no smart platform at all.
$2,799 is a fairly steep MSRP for an "average TV." What you're really paying comes from the CinemaWide's titular wideness: the ability to watch films in 21:9, and to experience the most accurately colored, convincingly immersive 3D available on a home television right now. Yet we still wonder who is willing to pay almost three-thousand dollars for a TV just to get a few extra pixel units added to the sides of their movie experience--that is assuming they have the capability to watch in 21:9 at all.
Like 3D a few years ago, there's simply nothing to watch in 21:9 format. A 2560x1080 resolution sounds impressive on paper, but it doesn't mean anything if you've got nothing to support that resolution. It's like having a basket and no basketball. We have to wonder if VIZIO is simply attempting to shift their bargain brand reputation. Between the CinemaWide TVs and their new line of laptops, their target audience is definitely becoming more specialized.
Perhaps the CinemaWide will find its audience, and be well-received. The XVT3D580CM has a couple of solid, unique features in its ability to display 16:9 aspect ratio Blu-ray discs in full, without black bars along the top and bottom of the screen as traditional HDTVs have; its above average audio; and the ability to sidle up VIZIO's apps along the left side of the screen while still watching full-pictured programming with the rest of the screen. We're not sure if those features are enough to justify the average results we found during testing, but it does help the CinemaWide to stand out in a market saturated by many very similar 16:9 televisions.
Meet the tester
Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.
Checking our work.
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