The Vizio VBR231 Blu-ray DVD Player is a mid-level player that has many things going for it. One: its retail listing of under $200.00 makes it one of the cheapest Blu-ray Disc Players. Second: you get a very good set of features including cutting edge technology in its built-in dual-band wireless – 802.11n. The player is not without its flaws and it may not be one of the better “known” brand name manufacturers. But Vizio has given us a mid-level player for those who want to add extra features to their Home Theater like a wireless internet connection, BD-Live Content and Online Streaming Media Services that will give you movies, TV shows, music and much more.
Slightly unique in its design, the VBR231 is thicker than most other Blu-ray DVD Players from places like Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. Mainly due to the Vizio raised top panel. There is a glossy black finish for the front panel with a chrome like plastic lid for the disc tray. It has touch sensitive control buttons for the on/off power, eject, stop, previous, play/pause and next chapter/track. A USB Port can be found to the right on the front panel. Under the disc loading tray is a LED light indicating if the Wi-Fi is in use. One flaw with the design of the front panel is the missing LED screen to display track numbers and time. This may not be a big problem for most, but it is a strange feature to be missing from the front panel.
VIDEO QUALITY:The Vizio VBR231 has the standard video connections located on the rear of the player. You have the HDMI, Composite Video Outputs and Component Video Outputs. With the HDMI connection the video output is 1080p when playing back Blu-ray discs. Vizio even includes a HDMI cable in the packaging. Very rare for a Blu-ray DVD Player to have this included, but definitely a great added accessory. The VBR231 will also up-scale standard DVDs to 1080p resolution, however like most other Blu-ray Disc Players the pictures will not be as vibrant and clear as they are when playing a Blu-ray disc.
AUDIO QUALITY:Audio connections for the Vizio VBR231 are the HDMI, 2.0 Analog Audio Outputs, Optical Audio Output and the Coaxial Audio Output. The VBR231 does have support for the latest HD audio formats Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio. And can send these audio signals in their native form to a A/V receiver to decode. This has to be done with the HDMI cable as the VBR231 lacks any multichannel Analog Audio Outputs.
The setup and user interface of the VBR231 is easy to use and you will soon be enjoying the features of the player in no time. The Remote Control is well designed and buttons are laid out in a convenient pattern. Some users have complained the buttons are hard to press and therefore to activate. But once you are ready to use the VBR231, it has many features to choose from. Beside Blu-ray and DVD playback you can playback MP3s and JPEGs from the USB Port.
You can also connect the VBR231 to the internet by the Ethernet Port or use the Integrated Dual Band Wi-Fi – 802.11n. The VBR231 is equipped with a dual-band wireless the operates at both 5GHz and 2.4GHz. (5GHz is optimized for streaming of HD video and 2.4GHz handles all other types of content). A great feature to have if you want to take advantage of Vizio Internet Apps (VIA). When connected to the internet it provides easy access to streaming online movies, TV shows, music, and other data. Streaming Services such as Netflix, VUDU, Pandora Internet Radio, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, AP and The New York Times and so many more are available!
This is only the second year Vizio has manufactured Blu-ray DVD Players. But the VBR231 is a nice entry to their growing line-up. It does lack some features such as 3D Blu-ray support, DLNA support and internal memory for BD-Live content. But being one of the more affordable priced players with built-in Wi-Fi, many will fine the Vizio VBR231 an appealing option.
THE PROS:The Vizio VBR231 is a solid Blu-ray DVD Player. It is capable of 1080p video output on Blu-ray Discs. Has 7.1 Digital Audio Output via HDMI. Great Internet Apps allow you to access many online streaming services such as Netflix, VUDU, Pandora Internet Radio, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Associated Press and The New York Times. One of the few Blu-ray Player that has built-in Simultaneous dual-band 802.11n wireless (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and is less than $200.00. It even throws in a HDMI cable.
THE CONS:The Vizio VBR231 does not have any internal storage memory. To access BD-Live content a USB memory device is needed. It lacks any DLNA support. Some find the Remote Control hard to press. Some excessive popping noises occurs when switching video formats with chapter changes.
THE FINAL WORD:The Vizio VBR231 has Full HD 1080p playback on Blu-ray Discs when connected with HDMI. Along with internal decoding of audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It gives you the basic features a Blu-ray DVD Player should have and will provide you with great images and sound on Blu-ray discs. Add Wi-Fi capability and a nice set of online streaming services, the VBR231 is a very acceptable Blu-ray Player.— Price you should look for when purchasing — $200.00