V, Inc. Vizio RP56 DLP rear-projection TV Calibration and Comments
LEU has already discussed the Vizio RP56's light output and contrast ratio. The latter—at 600:1—was measured at a peak white level of about 57 footlamberts. Actually, it was more like 78fL on an axis directly centered on the screen. The 57fL reading was taken from closer to the viewing axis—several inches above the level that produced the maximum output from the screen. This variation, which results from the hot spot that's inevitable with a high-gain screen, won't affect the contrast ratio.
The RP56's color temperature was best in the Warm setting. V, Inc. informed us that the result, shown in the accompanying curve, cannot be further calibrated. (The complete lack of a service menu on a new television would be very unusual; I suspect that V, Inc. is simply being super-secret about its existence.) It's a bit short of red across the board, though thankfully it did not go into excess green (a far more visible flaw). The red and green color points were very good, while blue was bluer than the slightly purplish blue called for by the standard. But these color points were competitive with any DLP we've tested, most of which exhibit a similar small error in blue—suggesting either a creative, or necessary, compromise.
We watched high-definition material from over-the-air broadcasts recorded on a Zenith HD230 HDTV receiver-DVR and saw nothing to complain about, apart from the set's inherent limitations in black level and shadow detail. HD images were crisp, detailed, and clean, with natural-looking, well-saturated colors.
Wouldn't you know it, but less than six months after its introduction, and after this review was completed, V, Inc. announced a new model, the RP56e (for enhanced), which is said to have an improved contrast ratio and even higher brightness. Its cosmetics are also different, and the price drops to $2799. Because we can't verify the changes without a complete retest, the model reviewed here—the plain-vanilla RP56—is included in the "Discontinued But Still Recommended" category of the video section of "Recommended Components," in this issue.—Thomas J. Norton