Vizio VP505XVT Plasma TV User Interface
The universal remote is relatively large with a nicely rubberized underbelly, and it can control up to four devices including the TV. The buttons are well-separated but rather small and mostly the same size and shape. (Interestingly, the four colored buttons—yellow, blue, red, and green—found on most remotes these days are all different shapes.) The labels are on the buttons themselves, making them identifiable in the dark when the backlight is on, though a few have multiple functions, and the secondary labels are on the body of the remote with no illumination.
Unlike virtually all other TV remotes, this one has dedicated input-selection buttons—sort of. Actually, each type of input has its own button; for example, the single HDMI button cycles through the four HDMI inputs by pressing it repeatedly. Still, this is far better than the usual single button that cycles through all inputs or calls up an onscreen list.
I really like the Vizio's menu system—simple, straightforward, and well organized, with each menu's main controls in the topmost level. The menu disappears when you select a picture parameter to adjust, but the control doesn't drop to the bottom of the screen; instead, it's about 25 percent of the way up from the bottom, which can obscure some important areas of what you're trying to tweak. Also, when the control times out after 30 seconds of inactivity, the entire menu does not return, so you have to re-enter the menu if you're not done.
The aspect-ratio controlcalled Wide modeand the Overscan control are separately adjustable, an arrangement I like. However, the Wide mode is fixed at 16:9 with high-def HDMI or component signals; this is also true with DTV channels from the TV's internal tuner. The Wide mode can be adjusted with 480i/p signals via HDMI and component as well as analog channels from the tuner. This shouldn't pose a problem as long as any 4:3 material on Blu-ray or a DTV channel is properly formatted at the source, though I've seen examples of stretched 4:3 in broadcast DTV, in which case you're stuck with it.