Introduction

Vizio initially fabricated their mark by being one of the beginning companies to offering a plasma panel that was both affordable and a expert performer. Since then they have connected to serve this niche by offering products that have very proficient performance for the price, but likewise accept branched out to offer some truly high end home theater equipment. Equally Blu-ray players go more and more than mainstream, I thought it was time to have a look at their VBR231 thespian to meet how it performs compared to the more than established brands. Recall when Blu-ray players first came out, they were all at least $500? The Vizio VBR231 sells for merely $179. How does a < $200 Blu-ray role player perform? We put it to our new Blu-ray Benchmark tests to notice out.

Specifications

  • Design: Blu-ray Actor
  • Sound Codecs: DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD (via HDMI)
  • Connections HDMI: 1.4a, Component Video, Composite Video, Optical Audio, LR RCA Audio, USB, Ethernet
  • Online Features: Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa, Facebook
  • Dimensions: 2″ H 10 xvi.9″ Due west x eight.nine″ D
  • Weight: v.seven Pounds
  • MSRP: $179.99 Us
  • Vizio


Design and Setup

Compared to some of the other players that have come my way recently, the VBR231 is a good scrap larger than models from Samsung or Sony. It’s nevertheless a proficient bit smaller than a thespian from Oppo but it is closer to the size of a regular AV component than some competing models. The front panel is very clean equally it uses touch sensitive buttons, simply it’southward finished with a plastic that says affordability more than than build quality. There is a front mounted USB port for playback of your mp3 and JPEG files from a flash drive.

vizio-vbr231-blu-ray-player-rear-panel



The rear has the standard Blu-ray thespian connections, plus a few others: HDMI ane.three, Ethernet, Component and Composite audio, Stereo RCA jacks, Optical and Coaxial digital audio outputs, and a little protrusion that is the Wi-Fi antenna. In a nice surprise, the Wi-Fi is a dual ring that operates at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. While v GHz routers aren’t as common, the band is less prone to interference than the two.4 GHz band, though the range of information technology is typically a little shorter as walls tend to interfere with information technology more. Quite annoyingly, the setup for the Wireless asked me to hit Enter one time I accept entered my Wi-Fi password, but there is no Enter button on the remote. Select is the button that they meant, just it is an issue they could fix with a firmware update if they wanted.

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Setup of the Vizio was very quick, equally your only choices were your display resolution, display aspect ratio, and if you want to enable 24p playback. Audio options let you enable bitstream output if y’all have a recent processor or receiver, or it tin can do internal decoding to PCM of the lossless audio formats. Once yous have completed these you can use the network setup to become your player online (with either wired or wireless connections) and you lot are gear up to go. Unfortunately, with so few settings to keep it unproblematic, there is no manner to accommodate the color space output of the player (it uses four:4:4 our testing plant), or to enable or disable Deep Colour support, and no Source Direct style. I understand Vizio wanting to proceed information technology uncomplicated for users, but adding these in an advanced menu is always preferred.

It is as well important to notation that while the Vizio volition practise 1080i playback of Blu-ray discs over component video, with DVDs it only scales to 480p so your display volition need to do another conversion to its native format too. As component video will be limited to 480p for all media this coming year, it is something that we should go used to as HDMI will be the only way to view content at its full resolution before long.


In Use

Once the Vizio was up and running in my organisation, I went ahead and began my testing with Netflix. The Vizio implementation of Netflix allows for 2.0 sound and HD image support, but it does not allow you to search for titles. It uses the common Instant Queue and Category Browse navigation that most players have used for the past couple of years and we are familiar with. Once I started to watch my usual examination clip (The Atomic number 26 Behemothic) there was a good amount of stuttering and flickering over horizontal pans. Item was good and I didn’t find any noise beyond what is usual for Netflix, merely information technology would perform better with dramas than with action films with this effect. Watching an episode of Arrested Development, the Hard disk image was nice and detailed for streaming, and I didn’t find the motion stuttering that I practise in The Iron Behemothic.

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Vizio likewise included support for Vudu, which isn’t as pop every bit Netflix but offers superior image and audio quality. Browsing the trailers that they had bachelor in HDX, the 1080p image with Dolby Digital Plus audio looked and sounded better than anything from Netflix, only you also need to have a higher quality Internet connection to watch without a lot of buffering. I found operation over wired Ethernet was good, but over wireless I ran into more buffering issues, though this has been true of all wireless players I have found. If you like to use Vudu for high quality streaming films, and so the Vizio will make a nice actor for it.

Vizio VBR231 Home Theater Blu-ray player

Moving onto Blu-ray content, I watched the contempo release of the archetype Fiddler on the Roof. Information technology’due south certainly not a moving picture you volition be dragging out to show off how amazing your home theater is, as they purposely went for a diffused look to the image, but information technology did win the Oscar for Cinematography in 1971. The image here came across well, with the Vizio outputting 1080p24 and the warm, rich colors of the Technicolor process coming across. It also sent over the new seven.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack to my processor perfectly in bitstream or PCM formats. Compared to players from Oppo or Sony, the Vizio was a bit slow to load, though still much faster than players from a couple years agone.


On The Bench



The Vizio is one of the first players to be subject to our new HDMI bench tests as well as our standard suite of DVD and Blu-ray benchmarks. The Vizio just outputs in the iv:four:4 colorspace, merely it has no errors nowadays in that data. If your display supports 4:4:four properly and all devices between the Vizio and your display (receiver, processor, HDMI switch, etc.) back up iv:iv:4 correctly, and then yous should be fine with this.

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Overall on the Demote Exam the Vizio did pretty well, and over component video is did remarkably well with the resolution on some of the wedge patterns. With the PF Alt wedge design it was often as well tedious to lock on which caused it to fail. Similarly with the Super Speedway clip information technology would be slow to lock, or lose the lock for a fraction of a second, also causing a fail. With the Mixed Wedge over HDMI, when dropping into video mode from film, it would remain stuck in film deinterlacing fashion for a bit causing combing of text that shouldn’t happen.

On the Hard disk tests, the 1080i to 1080p conversion with the wedges failed equally at that place was some detail enhancement going on that caused visual artifacts in the wedge patterns that shouldn’t have been in that location, and was not able to be defeated past the end user. It as well failed on racket reduction, as there was no control for it and it seemed to do no reduction of either musquito noise or cake video noise. There is no video frequency response graph considering of the lack of 1080i output for DVD video.


Conclusions

The Vizio is a well performing Blu-ray player on the bench and in full general utilise. Blu-ray and DVD performance was good overall, and the color space conversion was perfect, though with simply one format supported. The online streaming support from Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora was prissy and worked as advertised with the dual band Wi-Fi helping to insure the best wireless operation yous can go. If you know that the four:4:4 color infinite will work with your equipment then giving the Vizio a look for a Blu-ray player is a very affordable selection that provides good quality playback.