Blu-ray Players

Vizio VBR231 Blu-ray Player with Wireless Internet Apps


Design and Setup

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


The rear has the standard Blu-ray player connections, plus a few others: HDMI 1.3, 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 band that operates at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. While 5 GHz routers aren’t as common, the band is less prone to interference than the 2.4 GHz band, though the range of it is typically a little shorter as walls tend to interfere with it more. Quite annoyingly, the setup for the Wireless asked me to hit Enter once I have entered my Wi-Fi password, but there is no Enter button on the remote. Select is the button that they meant, but it is an issue they could fix with a firmware update if they wanted.

Setup of the Vizio was very quick, as 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 you have a recent processor or receiver, or it can do internal decoding to PCM of the lossless audio formats. Once you have completed these you can use the network setup to get your player online (with either wired or wireless connections) and you are ready to go. Unfortunately, with so few settings to keep it simple, there is no way to adjust the color space output of the player (it uses 4:4:4 our testing found), or to enable or disable Deep Color support, and no Source Direct mode. I understand Vizio wanting to keep it simple for users, but adding these in an advanced menu is always preferred.

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