The Big View
If you see kids squinting at the classroom’s big-screen monitor to keep up with the class, it may not mean that they need glasses. It might be a case of using a monitor that’s too small for the size of room and number of children. While most experts say that a 40- or 42-inch display is plenty for the typical class of 25 students, I say bigger is always better. And, with 47-inch monitors, like Vizio’s SV47OXVT, selling for at little as $1,300, it’s never been cheaper to make sure every child has a good view.
At 44- by 29.8 by 10-inches, the SV47OXVT is roughly the size of many 42-inch displays, but it has a 47-inch screen, making it perfect for teachers who want to make the most of their valuable wall space. Capable of showing 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, the screen can display full high definition programming as well as display more than 1 billion individual colors. In other words, everything looks great on it.
The monitor can connect with just about anything that a teacher or administrator can throw at it. On top of four HDMI, a computer connection, S- and composite-video jacks, the screen has component video plugs. It’s just as good for showing a Web site or the output of a document camera as a digital microscope or camcorder. Plus, it has an analog and digital TV tuner so it can handle either broadcast or cable programming.
Even though it competes with budget displays, the SVO47XVT is one of the first TVs with a 120-hertz imaging engine that puts images on screen twice as fast as conventional displays. This makes it perfect for showing quick moving scenes in movies, classroom software or videos.
Starting the SV47OXVT takes an interminable 8.2 seconds, more than enough time for the class clown to make a joke about the school not paying its cable bill. The class is rewarded, however, for waiting with close to pinpoint perfect images and smooth motion, regardless of whether it’s showing a DVD, computer screen or analog and digital TV.
Ironically, there are so many adjustments that it’s best to leave most alone, and works fine out of the box. On top of brightness, hue and contrast you can change the color temperature and set it in a host of specialized modes for different types of video. About its only shortcoming is the screen’s inability to show the deepest shades of black.
All can be controlled with the SV47OXVT’s slim remote control, but after about a month several of its buttons stopped working. Unplugging and restarting the monitor solved this problem.
While the TV is bright enough to keep the lights on for lessons, the SV47OXVT doesn’t waste electricity. When in use, it consumes 235 watts of power, which is normal for a 42-inch display and downright stingy for a 47-inch display. In other words, the extra display space comes for free when it comes to power bills. That level quickly drops to 4 watts when turned off, less than other monitors. That translates into an estimated annual cost of $21 a year – about half that of comparable monitors – based on 4 hours of use a day.
Although the system’s pair of built-in speakers should be plenty for most classes, Vizio sells a set of wireless speakers and subwoofer for surround sound. The satellite speakers need to be within 35 feet of the TV and it adds $200 to its price tag.
Never heard of Vizio? You’re probably not alone, but the company’s products are sold primarily at discount warehouses, Sears and Circuit City stores. Vizio is the number 3 seller of flat screen HDTVs in the U.S. All told, the SV47OXVT is the rare TV that offers more screen and performance for less money while using less power, making it a good fit for schools looking for a bargain.
+ Excellent price
+ Same size as 42-inch monitor
+ 120-hertz imaging engine
+ Low power use
+ Optional wireless speakers
- Long start up time
- Can’t show deep black