on July 16, 2012
Let me start off by giving you some background. I have owned 3 Sony HDTV's since 2006. The first was a rear projection LCD model that I purchased for about $3800 in mid-2006 and had a design defect with something called the "optic block" that ended up as the subject of a class action lawsuit. Sony extended the warranty for a year because of it. Some people got new flat panel TV's for free or extreme discounts. Mine was repaired once and by the time it broke again, which was inevitable, It was out of warranty and Sony wouldn't help me. I have bought Sony all my life and thought that sometime you just get a lemon, so I gave them another chance and in mid-2009 bought a KDL-52V5100 for about $2000. I had nothing but problems right out of the box. The TV's auto dimming feature would make the screen so dim that it went very dark in movies and video games and you couldn't see anything in dark scenes, EVEN WITH SMART DIMMING TURNED OFF! Sony sent me a firmware update, which didn't fix it. Then they sent me a new TV, same problem. It was obviously a software/hardware design issue. They sent me a KDL-52W5100 as a replacement, which was a slight upgrade. I was fairly happy with that TV other than the 8-bit panel which did cause noticeable banding at times. Then, in May of 2012, roughly 3 years old it started exhibiting a picture problem where the whole left side of the screen would turn green and horizontal lines covering the rest of the screen appeared along with a terrible high pitched squealing noise. Sony, of course, refused to help me as this TV only had a 1 year warranty. I found out from a local shop that it needed a new LCD panel for about $1600, which of course meant that my 3 year old TV was now a big door stop. The Sony name used to mean quality, but after spending almost $6000 in roughly 4 years and then having no working TV is ridiculous. I decided I was done with Sony. It's really too bad. I've been buying Sony my whole life.
Before this I didn't really consider Vizio because it's always been a pretty low end brand. I did some research and found the M3D550KD, which had the same features as the $2400 Sony KDL-55HX850 (except for Gorilla Glass). In fact it scored better than the Sony by far in native contrast ratio and black level. A review from PC Magazine gave it 4 out of 5 stars and the editor's choice award. See review on pcmag.com.
**After connecting to my WI-FI and turning the TV off for about 10 minutes, when I turned back on it had updated itself to the latest firmware.
First thing I did was calibrate the TV using Digital Video Essentials HD - DVE HD Basics Blu-ray. The settings I came up with are below.
User Menu Settings:
* Picture Modes
o Picture Mode : Custom
o Color Temperature : Normal
o Aspect Ratio : Normal/Wide
* Picture Settings
o Backlight : 55
o Contrast : 50
o Brightness : 42
o Color : 55
o Tint : -1
o Sharpness : 8
* Advanced Video
o Smooth Effect : Off
o Real Cinema Mode : Smooth
o Noise Reduction : Off
o Color Enhancement : Off
o Adaptive Lumina : Off
o Film Mode : Auto
o Smart Dimming : Off
o Ambient Sensor : Off
**XBOX360 Users Note: One thing that kind of freaked me out when I first hooked up my XBOX was that if you set resolution to 1080p most of the advanced picture settings disappear from the menu. Not just greyed out/unavailable, the menu actually changes. If you set the TV to the input your XBOX is connected to, bring up the TV settings menu, then power on the XBOX you can actually watch the picture settings menu change! The picture mode (Custom, Standard, Movie, Etc.) in gone, the advanced picture menu is gone and the only options available are Contrast, Brightness, Backlight, Game mode and Ambient Light Sensor. I called Vizio and after finally getting hold of a engineer rather than tech support he verified that it was by design. Apparently the XBOX can communicate with the TV and takes over all these settings. It knows what the TV can and can't do and takes full advantage of the TV's capabilities. If I set the resolution to 1080i it didn't do this. I was a little worried about this at first, but after setting to 1080i and using my tweaked settings I could not make it look nearly as good as the XBOX controlled settings when set to 1080p. The picture was amazing! The PS3 does not exhibit the same behavior when set to 1080p although still looks amazing with my custom settings.
* Verifiable 10-bit panel, so no banding (most companies are not disclosing anymore).
* Very complete set of advanced customizable picture settings.
* Audio was surprisingly better than I expected and better than other LED backlit super thin TV's I've looked at.
* Excellent color and black level.
* Bluetooth Remote with built-in QWERTY keyboard.
* 3D is excellent, it really pops and the TV comes with 4 pairs of glasses (So far, testing with 3D Blu-ray and XBOX 3D games the TV auto detects if you turn 3D on and I haven't had to set the mode manually in the TV menu).
* LG panel (So basically it's generic LG)
* Inexpensive 3D glasses because of passive 3D. ($4 for a pack of 2 on Amazon)
* Lots of built-in web apps. (haven't had any crashing as others have reported)
* Better than expected Standard Definition picture quality.
* Customizable EQ audio settings are a plus. (Not quite as customizable as my old Sony but still very good)
* Screen is more on the glossy side than the matte side so it's semi reflective which makes room placement more important (more so than my old Sony) but not full glossy like most of the Samsung's I looked at.
* No 2D to 3D conversion.
* Noticeable blooming on really dark scenes (common in all edge-lit LED/LCD's).
* Noticeable "electronic" smell for about the first 3 or 4 days. It's gone now (common in new electronics also).
* As with all Vizio's I've seen, the menu and Apps are a bit slow and clunky (especially compared to the Sony, but it's literally half the price of the equivalent Sony!)
* No manual firmware updates check that I can see and none to download on Vizio's website (although it automatically updated itself almost immediately after I connected it to my WI-FI)
* No DLNA or web browser, which most brands include in a TV of this caliber (possible firmware update in the future?)
* Uses more power than most LED/LCD TV's this size (108 Watts).
The best "bang for your buck" TV out there! At this price, you will not be disappointed! This is my first Vizio and I love it. 3D is great, lots of features, and great built-in internet apps.
on July 1, 2012
I wanted to order this from amazon, but they were out of stock, so got it on Costco.com. I was hesitant to get a vizio, but I already spent good money on 60" Panasonic plasma for our finished basement, so this TV was for the family room. So I figured I would risk the better quality for features, size and price. Now that I have it, I dont feel I risked too much! The picture on this vizio is awesome. It took some time to fiddle with the settings (no suggested calibration on any websites as its a new model). I am shocked at the picture quality, especially after reading all the videophile reviews about plasma vs. led. My Panasonic St30 is awesome, but this picture is nearly the same. To be picky, the contrast/blacks might be slightly better on the panny, but it's hard to tell. Not only that, my family room where this tv is located has two large windows FACING the tv! I thought the screen was a pure matte, but I would call it a dull semi gloss. A first I was upset and thought it would ruin the daytime viewing experience. My family laughed at me saying, "what are you talking about?". They see no glare. I see some when shows go to commercial or screen is black.
Once you find your settings to your liking, the picture, color is exceptional. I don't quite understand all the talk about judder/motion blur/etc. only thing I've seen is the occasional ghosting of a baseball on some throws from outfielder to home plate. But nothing during other parts of game. Watched some football replays on nfl network...no issues..
Have only used 3d to test it with avatar bluray. Insane picture and really pops. The remote with slide out keyboard is a bonus. Easily synced it with cable box and bluray player. My family loves only using one remote. Sound is so much better than you hear about with new TV's. I still have it hooked up to receiver and klipsch surround speakers, but rarely used by family so far. SRS surround is actually pretty good at some surround effect sound.
The apps are good, but a bit sluggish. Won't use much other than amazon video. Watched African cats on amazon and picture was crazy good. Some pixelation, but mainly due to my crappy Comcast Internet.
All in all, I highly recommend. And I wont say a good value for budget HDTV. It's a great deal regardless. Picture will rival much more expensive TV's. Now only time will tell in regards to longevity.
on June 20, 2012
I've owned this TV for a month and I love it! Setup was very easy. The built in WIFI works great! The picture is bright and clear. I left everything set the way it was out of the box and we are very happy. Our room has three windows facing the screen and even on the brightest days, I don't have any problems with glare or the picture not being being enough. We even have light about two feet away from where it's mounted on the wall. No problem with that either. The sound for a flat pannel TV is pretty good. In fact I haven't even seriously considered upgrading sound yet. It's adequate for regular veiwing. The 3D is very cool. I bought Underworld Awakenings with my new 3D Blu Ray player. Again the picture was outstanding and the 3D works very well. The only problem I have is the keyboard on the remote doesn't always register the keys I push. One out of ten letters will be lost. This is not a problem for me and if I had to have a problem, this is what I would have picked. You simply can't beat the value with this TV. It has every current feature there is and in my opinion, works very well. I'm very pleased with this purchase.
on August 12, 2012
I'm not a brand-new 3-D TV owner I've had a 3-D TV model before so I can use that my experience is what you get this TV with it's passive 3-D technology is far superior to the active 3-D technology used by most TVs. The difference between active 3-D and passive 3-D is that the active 3-D uses shutter glasses that cost $75-$150 and passive 3-D uses the glasses you find in the movie theater which run between $5-$20 dollars. Active 3-D technology supposed to produce a superior 3-D picture from my experience at least with this TV and the Samsung TV I find that the passive 3-D actually produces a better 3-D technology picture. This TV also doesn't suffer from what other 3-D TVs suffer from which is a very dim picture when you go to the 3-D mode, it's actually very bright and almost movie theater like quality. I have no complaints about this TV the 55 inch size and the reasonable price make this a Best Buy for most consumers.
on August 26, 2012
Have had this TV for a few days now and although there are issues you can't beat the price. I've got two Samsung UN55C8000 55" I got two years ago for about $1600 more and yes they are a better TV but I can buy two Vizio's that are of acceptable quality. Got this TV for the kids game room. Some of the Pros:
- Decent picture.
- Lots of Widget apps for network access. Much better than Samsung.
- Plenty of interface jacks. Much more than you need given most people would connect stuff to a home theater system if you have that much stuff to connect.
- WiFi works like a charm. Already streamed a movie from Amazon Prime and Vudu.
- Audio isn't the best, you have to play with it to get rid of the tinny sound but then OK. Will probably get a sound bar at some point.
- Very glossy screen.
- In a dark room you can see brightness at the corners, black isn't as black. Not that big a deal.
- SD looks poor but does on most HDTV's. This one is worse than my Samsungs.
The biggest problem I had with this TV (which cost is a star) is when I powered it up the logo would flash an error code and then there was a black screen. Figured, great, it is a dud. Code was 2, 5, 11 flashes for anyone else that see's it. Once the setup screen appeared but remote would not work (could only turn/on off scroll arrows would not work). I never call tech support as they tend to be useless so tried a bunch of stuff. Turned the TV on with the manual buttons and the setup screen appeared, then used the manual buttons to scroll work through the menus and there is one to sync the remote. Once that was done all worked great and have never had the dreaded flashing logo again. This really isn't acceptable given there is nothing in their guide about it and nothing on a Google search either (that was recoverable). I guess ask again in 6 months and see if it occurs again.
As a side note I used a $16.50 video mount (VideoSecu Ultra Slim), works great (had similar mount for my Samsungs but paid $100 for them). Spacing on the back of the TV is about 16" on center which makes using them a bit hard to hang but with two people and some slack in the wire you can get it to work.
Even with the flashing logo error you can't beat the price and right now it is working great. If things change you'll definitely see an Edit here.
on August 9, 2012
At first I thought the screen would be too big for my New York apartment. But then I plugged in my seven year old Sony laptop into the RGB input and used wireless keyboard and mouse to view my computer screen from my easy chair about nine feet away. While movies and TV shows are the obvious use of a big 55" screen, it was super to surf the web on this screen and watch any stream video on the internet this wonderful way. I recommend anyone who is thinking of getting rid of their old and working laptop, to plug it into your large flat screen (get cheap wireless mouse and keyboard) to enjoy the internet with the whole family on the large screen. There are ways to access the internet within the Vizio software.....HOWEVER .... I want to reach the WHOLE internet through my laptop/browser and I want to use a regular keyboard rather than a thumb-keyboard connected to the remote.
I also bought the SKYPE camera so I have had my family video conference using the Vizio. That was fun.
Also, if you have and AMAZON PRIME account, you will love watching your FREE movies on the Vizio. I used to watch on my Kindle Fire. but the quality on a full 55" screen is great. Of course, a fast internet connection is always a requirement.
It is also wonderful to play your HDTV videos and HI-RES stills from your vacation on the big screen. I have a phone/camera that does huge panorama pictures and that's a treat to blow up on the large screen and then pan across the panorama.
Since the Vizio HDTV comes with internet plug-ins it is possible to get a SKYPE, Facebook or Twitter message notification suddenly appear in a corner of the TV show you are watching. You can then move your TV show image over a little while you look at who was messaging you in the left quarter of the screen.
That's why I call this set a real multi-media center in your house. I love it. (See the photo I added of the New York Times web page on the Vizio screen.)
on July 13, 2012
Just had my TV delivered. This is the first part of my review, since I did a lot of research to buy this TV. Originally, I was going to buy the 3D, 1080p, LG or Samsung TV. Then I researched and researched and researched and saw this TV. Originally came out in late 2011, this TV is comparable to the quality of LG and Samsung on a budget. Before I go too far, little bit of back history. I'm tech savy and had a Samsung 55" LCD before, my sister has the 60" Sharp Aquos, and I'm a designer, and my eyes are pretty sharp when it comes to quality of pictures, since that's how I make a living (I'm use to 27" LED monitors with 2560 x 1440 dp).
The thing that I hate about the modern 120 or 240 hz TV is that you can't watch old movies and still have that feeling of nostalgia, since everything looks like it's too real to life.
Anyway, here it is:
1. 3d is amazing.
2. comes with 4 pair of good non-shuttering 3d glasses and they fit big heads
3. Branding logo could be 'on' or 'off', which is great. A lot of the companies don't offer this option for an obvious reason, but by offering this option, I think the company respect us
4. Excellent 2d pictures
5. Excellent internet web apps, specifically Youtube and Amazon instant watch. I haven't tried Netflix, because, I don't subscribe to them anymore since a while ago, and Amazon Prime instant watch double as free two day shipping on stuff you buy on Amazon and it's only $75 or so
6. Remote is very well designed with its piano black surface and nice feel buttons, that you don't have to press so hard to make it work. Sliding keyboard is pretty slick
7. Setup was easy
8. Going through the options are easy
9. Equalizer for this price?? 3D? 1080? 240hz? I thought it was a scam until I got it today
10. I really appreciate the semi-anti reflective surface of the tv. It's really nice.
11. I thought this thing was going to be massively thick, since there are no picture of it sideways, but this is a slim design model.
12. The base is heavy and sturdy and the polished metal connector tend to add a little something something.
13. This TV has lots of connecting options that you usually find in something that costs about $500 or more.
14. The delivery was excellent. They were on time, and the people who delivered actually took real good care of the tv while they were assembling. 15 minutes and bam, it was running and they were out the door. They didn't even stick around for a tip. They even offer to take the box to the trash (I live in the 4th floor).
15. I hate these high definition TV's since the movie you watched as a child looks like a reality TV show... But I found out if you turn off the "smooth motion effect", your old movies will look just like how you saw it when you were a kid, but in a lot better resolution than before.
1. No 2d to 3d conversion, which is not a big deal. At this price level, I think the 3d quality is excellent. At $500 more, the 2d to 3d conversion tend to suck
2. The 3d Glasses don't look anything like what's on marketing (specifically the big chrome V on the side of the legs). But they're really comfortable and they will go over your glasses.
3.It takes exactly 10 seconds to turn on, then it takes about another 10 seconds to open your internet apps. But really? Every time I have one of these first world problems, I remember Louis CK. "You're sitting in a chair in Sky!"
4. I think when the black space is empty, without any fillers, like in film, and it's just black for the purpose of being black, not dark, you could see some blooming on the sides, specifically 4 on each side, exactly.
5. The internet web app's UI/UX could be better, but I'm not complaining. There is a 55" TV that is connected to my TV and it brings me free videos from the internet!
6. Remote is filled with my finger prints. You only notice it when you see it up close, and honestly, it doesn't bother me. But it is only infrared, and I wish they were wifi based like Samsung or LG or Sony, so I could get an android app on my phone for it. Youtube remote is available for Androids.
7.I had my external hard drive connected with full of movies via USB onto the TV, but it didn't register when I was setting up, so I think you have to connect your computer to access your external hard drive library.
8. I wish they used more of the color coded buttons as options. I'm still confused about "back" vs "exit", since back doesn't work sometimes, and exit sometimes exit you out of the apps.
9. Equalizer takes some time to configure. Good thing is that they work without confirming or selecting first.
10. The screen still reflects a little bit, but I don't notice it that much. But you can see your blurry lamp in the background. I try to put a custom made lamp behind the TV, about 5 inches away from the TV's back plate, but that created a wavy motion on the screen after 15 minutes, so I had to move the lamp. I'm sure the LED lights work a lot better, although my lamp was at 45watt, and was surrounded by an aluminum body.
11. The fit and quality of the frame is questionable. They try to save money by putting two panels together on top of the screen instead of having a long and single panel of plastic. Plus the shiny frame is too reflective and distracting. I wish it was matte finished.
12. The base is shiny too, so it collects every tiny hair from my dog and cats. But it's not a big deal.
13. The apps do crash, so your Youtube will crash, then you have to turn the TV off and on and again.
14. For some reason, the apps tend to load for a long time, each time you start the TV.
15. No upgrade, or update firmware options. I hope it's automatically done...
16. First world problem : A lot of features that I have to learn...
17. I heard this TV lasts about 8 months and dies. Well, at this price, that's not such a bad thing. You could do worst.
Really good 3D quality, 2D is very good, a lot of options, and internet apps work great. If you don't think too much about the little things, you'd probably enjoy this tv.
on August 1, 2012
I keep finding cool stuff about this T.V. the longer I have it. Having it's own media player is great if you download different types of video this TV plays all formats. 3d is great played nba2k12 and it's crystal clear, 3d channel on direct t.v is dope, movie trailers really show how 3d is supposed to work. I got this on sale at Costco and it's the best T.V. I've ever owned and I wasn't looking to buy a 3d t.v. People say the sound isn't too good but if your not hooking this up to a stereo why are you buying it, lights up the whole room. 4 HDMI ports, yeah got the ps3, macbook, and directv hooked up no problem acts as a great 2nd monitor if you edit like me or multitask. Internet apps are ok for checking weather, Facebook or a quick tweet with the bluetooh remote. It also depends how good your intenet connection is because my mac is a lot faster for youtube. Optical port for the stereo and ya good ta go no complaints just praise for a really good 3d T.V.
on July 24, 2012
I purchased this TV from Costco, since I could not wait for this to be delivered and the price point was a mere $1 more. After mounting the TV to the wall and turning it on, I was AMAZED with the picture before even calibrating it. I have always owned Vizio TV's, but the picture on this model has blown my mind. The 3D is an added bonus, although I don't think I will be using it often, if at all.
In order to get the best picture quality (colors, contrast, tint, sharpness, etc.) looking the best on the TV, I would recommend picking up the Disney WOW: World of Wonder [Blu-ray] Calibration blu-ray disc. It may take you a good hour or two to setup your picture right, but man it makes a HUGE difference. You know your picture is beautiful when your wife starts to make comments. :)
I like the fact, although I have surround sound, that the speaker was placed at the bottom of the TV and not on the sides, that and it blends in perfectly with the black outline of the TV.
The only issue I saw, and this was during the MLB 2012 Home Run Derby, was that when the ball was going into the stands you could see a little bit of ghosting on the baseball. I did not see this, however, watching a hockey game on NHL Network from this past season. I have yet to watch a football or basketball game on the TV. It will be nice to watch this with the upcoming Olympics to get a real feel for all sports. The ghosting was not enough for me to deduct a star though.
For as low of a price as this TV comes, with the added bonus of 3D, if you're into that type of thing, you are getting a HUGE BANG for your dollar!
Edit 8/6/12: After watching the Olympics for a little over a week now, I have not seen any ghosting relating to any sports, this includes soccer. So unless it was the broadcast on ESPN for the MLB 2012 Home Run Derby, I do not see any issue at all with this TV.
Edit 9/4/12: I have watched a couple other baseball games on Comcast sports net and on MASN and did notice that the baseball still ghosts with the ball. Still not enough to have me deduct a star.
on October 19, 2012
The Vizio M3D550KD is an excellent buy and this review will explain to you why. If you are looking for a new TV set for size, 3D, or value make no mistake this is the one for you. The best thing is you do not have to sacrifice quality as well. This review will go over just the video aspects of the TV set as if you are getting this you can get a sound system with the money you saved.
Pros: Let's talk about the good thing this set has to offer.
* Smart Diming = Deep blacks. Many of you may know this is an Edge lit LED set now most edge lit set do not offer this great to have feature. What this does is allows the LED's on a region to turn off and not shine light to offer you more true blacks.
* Color Balance = Life like Picture. After calibration this set will offer you SUPERB colors among the best out of competing sets released this year.
* 3D Passive = ReadD at home. Last year Vizio was the first to market in the USA with a Passive 3D TV set. This is the same technology used in your local 3D theaters (non IMAX 3D) that that give you is an already used and cheaper 3D format. If you would like to obtain more glasses just go a local show and keep the set the theater gives you. Also some may argue you get half the resolution due to the image being filtered out by half for each eye in order to see 3D but science has shown us this is incorrect. If you want to know more about Active VS Passive here is a there is a non-bias test that has been run by the site DisplayMate [...].
* Uniformity = Same quality throughout. You will not notice that this is an Edge lit display it will give you the same great image even in the middle of the screen which is often an issue with other edge lit LED TV's.
* Smart TV = Bye Bye cable TV. This set comes with an app center that has over 150 apps available and they include all the top dogs one of the few to have all these noted NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu and YouTube.
* Value = Money in your pocket for Blu-Rays. This set will save you a lot of money for an amazing TV. With that money I would recommend you get these Blu-Ray Disk as they will show you why you purchased this set. #1 Prometheus 3D this has set the bar of what a 3D movie set should include with great audio and video packed with extras galore #2 Avatar 3D not no.1 due to Prometheus recent outstanding release but it is great none the less, no extras just the movie with this set #3 The Dark Knight this movie is another reason why you own an HDTV with its constant use of IMAX footage to make you say WOW #4 Alien Anthology this is Fox's definitive release of the Alien saga time to test your blacks #5 Life make sure you are smart and get the version narrated by David Attenborough, this will make you take a second look outside and say wow real life doesn't look as good as my TV.
Cons: As always with the good comes the bad.
* Blooming = Light leak. This is a small issue only when the screen is completely black with a logo in the middle of the screen. Think PS3 boot logo. In lemans terms it causes you to see what appears to look sort of like light leak toward the edge of the bezel. This can be a deal breaker for some. However you should think about all the good that came before. Also may be an issue when viewing 4:3 content.
* Long boot times = Are we there yet? This is an outstanding TV set however TV's are not just TV's anymore they are PC's and this PC, I meant TV takes long to boot. About 60-90 seconds however switching inputs is a snap.
* Solid Stand = No turn or tilt. The stand that comes with the set does not move to accommodate seating locations in the room of the primary viewer and others, that said you will have to pick a location to make ever one happy and able to see the set.
* No 10 point grey scale = 2 point will have to do. The lack of 10 point is a con but the 2 point delivers better than some 10 points as mentioned above with the color and uniformity.
All in all this set is deal that is hard to believe. I am a long time HDTV enthusiast and have had all the major HDTV technologies CRT, Plasma, CCFL LCD and now LED LCD. They all have their drawbacks however this one is my current favorite. I have calibrated this set with the AVS HD 709 HDMV Calibration disk here are my settings
---Picture settings menu---
Picture Mode: Custom
---Size & Position submenu---
---Color Temperature submenu---
Colour temperature: Custom
Red Gain: 48
Green Gain: 49
Blue gain: 50
Red offset: 49
Green offset: 48
Blue offset: 50
--Advanced Picture submenu---
Smooth motion effect: Low (Low only for 24Hz content, off for 60Hz)
Real Cinema Mode: Off
Noise Reduction: Off
MPEG NR: Off
Color Enhancement: Off
Adaptive Luma: Off
Film Mode: Auto
Smart Dimming: On
Ambient Light sensor: Off