Not sure where they rank in terms of reliability but I will say that LG HDTVs seem to have a better picture when comparing between the two in stores. I have a friend that bought a Vizio last year and has had it replaced under warranty after 6 months already. He said that the tech support for Vizio was pretty good and they got him a new TV right away too. Not sure if that helps you.
What I really want to know is how they compare to Sony or Samsung or the bigger name sellers. I like the prices on Vizio and LG because they are cheap but I don't want to have to use the warranty in 5 months.
We bought a Sony Bravia and we chose it because of its superior ability to show the color black (rather than dark gray) and the audio quality from its onboard speakers. The ability of a TV set to represent the color black is especially important when viewing old 'Silver Screen' movies that are not in a widescreen format.
A friend of mine has purchased a few Vizio TV's recently & I have been impressed with the picture quality. He just purchased an LED model, but I don't feel the picture is as good as the LCD. The color accuracy, sharpness & contrast are noticably better on both of his LCD's even after spending an hour tweaking the LED.
One thing I don't like about all Vizios is the lack of a signal strength meter & the inability to manually add OTA channels. You must also enter the entire channel number to switch channels (ie; to get channel 9 you can't just push 9; you must enter 9.1) Of course you can still surf channels normally.
Aside from the currently remembered menu, the same thing you wrote as to having to enter DOT channels is how Sony works --- sometimes. I have a new subchannel and no matter what I try, I cannot manage to get it established on my standard menu.
I have read I am not alone with this frustration situ on another Forum. Hopefully, someone will figure out a 'fix', soon.