17 August 2012

The Vizio VBR337 Blu-Ray Player

Nice and sleek
Like many At Home Parents, I try to limit the television my kids watch. As an unexpected result, I found that my wife and I were also watching less TV. But we were paying $100 each month to have hundreds of channels available, as well as DVR capability. What a waste! So we decided to do something about it. That's when we found the Vizio VBR337 3D Blu-Ray Player with Wireless Internet Application. We actually caught it on sale at our local Target or $129.
Now, I'm not an old geezer, but I'm old enough to know what VHF and UHF mean. I remember the thunk...thunk sound of that tuner. And the fast tick, tick, tick of the UHF tuner on my Granny's "high class TV." Shoot, I was in high school before we were rich enough to have an actual remote instead of the set top box with the big switch buttons. So all this high-falutin WiFi technological stuff is foreign to me. But I'm a larnin' fast!

Front of remote
Keyboard on rear of remote
The remote is particularly handy for the full Qwerty keyboard on the back. It really makes searching for shows much easier. It takes a little getting used to, but it saves a lot of time once you do. On the flip side, the remote is actually the only complaint I have against this Vizio. Vizio won't allow it to control the volume of a non-Vizio TV, so I'm stuck having to use two remotes. And the buttons are a little stiff. Those are the only complaints I can come up with for this machine.

The player itself is so easy to set up it was surprising. I'm not a technophile, so I don't trust myself with electronics unless I've read the manual a few times first. There is NO included manual with this player! Only a simple card which basically says to connect the HDMI, connect the power and turn it on. It guided me through setting up the WiFi connection; setting up accounts for Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and HuluPlus; and setting up all the machine settings. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so all I had to do for Amazon Instant Video was plug in my username and password. From getting it out of the box to watching the first show was less than 20 minutes.

As for the quality of the machine, it's topnotch. Operation is simple and works from a main carousel type menu. The video and audio quality is fantastic. I can't speak for the 3D capabilities, as that's WAY beyond my needs (and comprehension) and we don't use it. But with my Samsung 52" plasma, it puts on a great SD or HD show. And best of all - there are no buttons or doors to be broken off, and the slot for discs is so small it's impossible to stick a peanut butter sandwich in it!

After getting the Vizio home and getting it set up, cutting off our DirecTV account was an easy choice. Between Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, the kids have access to pretty much anything they would ever be allowed to watch. I enjoy being able to go into Amazon and watch the old series from my childhood with no interruption. And for the few current shows we like (I'm an NCIS addict, and I love crime dramas), we pay for the entire season from Amazon and still save money. With the help of the Vizio, we save just over $900 per year, and have access to more entertainment options than ever before. For a redneck who doesn't even know what HDMI stands for or the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray, I think that's pretty doggone good.