Customer Reviews: VIZIO M261VP 26-Inch 1080p LED LCD HDTV, Black (2010 Model)
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on November 6, 2010
Wanted a bedroom TV that had full 1080p, network interface and Yahoo! Widgets (or similar capabilities). Most other TV manufacturers offer this combination of features only in models of 40 inches or larger -- I wanted a smaller size for a simple bedroom TV.

First, the good things... Very nice picture that remains clear and viewable even from way off angle -- this is its strongest feature. Also, the built-in Yahoo! Widgets include being able to view movies or listen to music ordered from services such as Netflix and Pandora without an outboard box. Further, one of the Widgets brings in TV Guide over the Internet, which is helpful if your cable company can't seem to successfully transmit a TV Guide (or similar function) over their own cable. I also found the remote control to actually be pretty good in the sense that the different buttons are of different shapes and sizes that you can actually find the correct buttons to push by touch without looking at them.

Second, the OK thing... I have to echo, to some extent, some of the other reviews that criticize the audio -- it's not really that bad, but I've had other LCD TVs of similar size that did better. I must say, though, that the audio is clear, so you won't find yourself unable to understand what someone is saying when they're speaking softly, and the speakers output a full enough range that you won't find yourself wondering where an instrument disappeared to when listening to a piece of music. I have encountered other small TVs (both old CRT types and current-day LCD types) that have had audio far, far worse than this -- some were so bad that the whole casing of the TV would vibrate when certain instruments were played in a piece of music -- this TV definitely does not have anything like that problem.

Third, the problem... It actually crashes! This has to be the weirdest thing I've ever experienced or have ever said about a TV, but this thing actually crashes to the extent that it completely ignores the remote and its built-in button controls, and can only be brought back under control by unplugging it! I'm guessing, but I think it's a simple case of overheating, because the crashes occur after it's been on for a number of hours to the point where the back side feels awfully hot. The heat is a little surprising, since this is an edge-lit LED TV, and not one that uses CCFL backlighting. Also, it doesn't seem to matter whether you use any of the Widget applications, or not -- the crashing occurs even when you do nothing more than feed it video from a cable box or other source. So, the crashing doesn't seem to be precipitated by running any particular Widget application.

Fourth, some missing information... It is not made clear on Vizio's website or even if you download a PDF of the user's manual, but this TV comes with an external brick-type power supply. This item caught me by surprise as most LCD TVs of this size (in my experience) have the power supply built in. This is not a big deal, unless you intend to wall-mount it, in which case, you'll need to decide what to do with the brick power supply.

All-in-all, I would be perfectly happy with this TV if I didn't occasionally need to unplug it in order to bring it back from crashing. It's this weird crashing behavior that is actually causing me to consider returning it.
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on October 18, 2010
Let me preface my review with the following. I'm not an audiophile and this purchase was made for a bedroom TV.
The picture quality is fantastic; and by fantastic, I mean better than my 42in Samsung Plasma. The sound is less "tinny" than the previous model, but it still lacks in the bass which gives it that Laptop Speaker sound quality; though at a moderate volume, the quality appears to sound better (at least to me); Otherwise, for a bedroom TV, it's superb.

WiFi is easy to set up (built in, and supported 128bit encryption). I found the settings/menu system to be extremely well done and easy to use with their remote control.

Tried netflix and with only 2 bars for WiFi (due to distance from router), the picture quality was awesome and never "readjusted" due to signal degradation.

The controls are located on the back of the TV, which makes it little cumbersome for the fly by power on, but I like it because my 3 year old likes to push buttons. Besides...we have remotes, right?

The remote is a little cheap, but easy to use.

Vizio apps load fast on my network (ymmv).

-.5 for not so good bass (or lack there of at low vol)
-.5 for lack of more possible sound options in the menu.

You're definitely paying for picture, built in wifi & internet apps over sound quality with this purchase, so if you if you go into this purchase knowing this (as I did), then you should be happy and you could always hook up some external speakers to boost the sound quality.
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on November 5, 2010
We bought this to replace the 19" LCD that was in our kitchen and we absolutely love it. It was easy to connect to the internet (although I am good with computers and electronics). The picture we get when streaming netflix is awesome. Everyone that has been over comments on how thin the TV is and what a great picture it has.

Other reviewers have commented on poor audio quality, I don't agree with them. I guess there is room for improvement as far as the speakers go, but do you people really expect home theater sound out of a $400 high def razor thin TV? Also the TV is in my kitchen where there is usually so much background noise and other stuff going on that the quality of the sound isn't really an issue. Lastly no one who has come over has ever made a comment on the sound quality and these are friends, not visitors who are trying to be polite.

The internet apps all work great and entertain the kids for hours (I just need to figure out how to block the less appropriate content and it would be perfect). I would buy this TV again in a heartbeat.

Edit on 12/18/2010: We have used this TV everyday for the past two months and we still love it. Pandora is great for Christmas music while we decorate and wrap presents. The internet apps work great and still no comments (good ones or bad ones) on the sound quality. We are still very happy with our purchase and I would definitely buy this TV again.
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on December 28, 2010
I purchased the VIZIO M261VP for the bedroom. The following key specs attracted me to this TV: LED backlight HDTV, 1080p resolution, built-in WiFi with 802.11n, and Netflix streaming. I had read the dozen or so reviews on this TV before my purchase knowing the picture quality would be excellent but the audio would be sub par. I knew that I would need to hook up external stereo speakers based on all the negative audio reviews.

I made the purchase in mid December after this TV went on sale at Sam's Club for $289. The price on this TV will regularly go on sale at Office Max or Sam's Club for less than $300.00. Even if you need to drop $40.00 on a Sam's Club membership, which I did, it is still a bargain.

I have been using this TV for a week now. The picture quality is EXCELLENT and I am very satisfied. However, the audio quality is as bad as every negative review out there. It is well known the smaller flat panel HDTV's on the market today have poor sound quality. But, the VIZIO M261VP takes it to a new low. The sound quality is hysterically horrible. I found there were no audio setting adjustments to the SRS TruSurround and/or SRS TruVolume that improved the sound quality. Do not buy this TV without knowing, which I did, you will need external speakers (even if it is for use in a bedroom or kitchen).

There are only two ways to connect external speakers on this TV: through the headphone jack or through the digital optical connection. Unfortunately, standard RCA audio output jacks are not included on this TV which is what most stereo and home theatre systems use. To improve the sound quality, I first hooked up an old pair of Altec computer speakers and subwoofer using the headphone jack connection on the TV. The computer speakers actually produced very good stereo sound quality that would be acceptable for regular TV viewing for most people. But, if you plan to stream movies from the internet, it is important to know the sound will not come through the headphone jack to your external speakers. The audio output signal from streaming is a digital signal and this signal cannot be transferred through the analog headphone jack. No sound will come out to the external speakers. The TV speakers of course will work, but the sound quality will be very poor on this TV.

Instead of using the headphone jack connection, I recommend hooking up external speakers - a soundbar, or a home theatre system that have an optical digital connection. I ditched the Altec computer speakers and purchased the ZVOX 550HSD sound bar system (28" width) from ZVOX Audio. It uses an optical digital TOSLINK cable to connect the soundbar to the TV. The sound quality is amazing...Wow! I now have incredible sound to match the awesome picture. The Netflix and Amazon Movie streaming quality and experience on this TV have been excellent!!

Bottom Line: I recommend the VIZIO M261VP 1080p HDTV due to its price, features, and amazing picture quality. However, due to the very poor audio quality, external speakers of some kind (soundbar, home theatre system) with an optical digital connection is a MUST.
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on April 24, 2011
I almost didn't buy this TV because of the negative reviews on sound quality. I'm so glad that I did! I love it - the design, the quality, and the incredible-ness of having sooo many software apps built in to the TV and working flawlessly over a wireless connection! Netflix has some great features like a search function and a web-like preview while seeking that make it identical to a PC experience. See the video review for more details and visuals of the interface - highly recommended.

Edit 5/31/11: About a month has passed and I still love this TV. I've shown it to friends and family who are amazed at how simple the interface is and how everything is built-in. New widgets get released regularly, Vimeo is one of the latest. I've had the TV crash just once (pressing a bunch of buttons when it was unresponsive, and it rebooted), recovered fine. Very happy.

Update 7/14/11: Still very happy with this TV. Despite the other review on crashing, mine has only crashed twice since I've owned it (buttons become unresponsive, TV shuts down), and does not need to be unplugged but turns back on just fine from the remote power button. Maybe newer firmware has corrected the earlier issues. New discovery though: this TV does *not* support 5 GHz 802.11n. It only supports 2.4 GHz. What does this mean? It can't take advantage of the higher speed, less congested (5 GHz) networks on newer routers. This is unfortunate (and not clear at all in Vizio's specs), but on my network, even 1080p movies from Vudu (HDX) are currently working fine on 2.4 GHz.

Update 5/5/12: This is my bedroom TV and it's still working great. Youtube has been added, which is the one thing the TV was lacking before. This model isn't that popular anymore, but newer models will have similar firmware to what's the video here.
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on February 6, 2011
Picture quality is excellent. The stand is flimsy...required a little shim added to the base before screwing it in to get the set level. I suspect that those reviewers that have complained about the sound quality haven't properly used the available adjustments. Try this:

1. Menu
2. Audio
3. Audio Mode...Flat
4. SRS TRuSurround HD...Off
5. Equalizer Settings
6. Audio Mode...Flat
7. EQ Mode...Basic
8. Bass..increase to 20

The sound will be just fine.

I highly recommend this TV. It's not a Sony, but then, you're not paying Sony prices,
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on December 4, 2010
I've had this TV since August and have been perfectly satisfied - until last night, when it would not respond to any command, either from the remote or back side buttons, even after unplugging/replugging the set. I called tech support and was pleasantly surprised to be connected to a very knowledgeable gent located in So. Dakota! He had me back in business in no time. (For those interested, the fix is to unplug the TV, hold the on/off button in for at least 30 secs, then plug it back in). The most painless TS call ever! Thanks Vizio for keeping things local.

As for the TV itself, I couldn't be happier. Outstanding picture, can't complain about the sound, but I never turn it up past 25 on their volume scale. If you're not happy with the sound, and you don't adjust it much, you can remedy the problem with some computer speakers plugged into the headphone jack. Connection to my network went flawlessly. The widgets that I've tried work well (Netflix streaming, FaceBook and a couple of others) as Yahoo! adds more, they are displayed on the app screen as new and you have the option of adding them or not. The various picture modes are explained well, unlike some other TVs manuals. Actually, the whole manual is well written and informative, with the exception of where the power line plugs into the set. The LED back lighting is adjustable.

A couple of things could be an issue for some. As mentioned, the 'brick' power supply, along with the side mounted cables. This could be problematic for those wanting a clean wall mount. Also the lack of a functional USB port.

If you're in the market for an ultra-thin smaller screen internet capable TV, this merits serious consideration.
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on November 10, 2010
Vizio M261VP. I guess you really can't have it all, can you? This TV has a really gorgeous picture (no kidding!) and the wi-fi functionality is awesome for streaming Netflix. Bloody fantastic.

The sound, however, is really tinny, so much so it is like listening to a soup can on a string.

Also, Vizio advertises an USB port on the box, but this port is actually disabled, except for Vizio service purposes. Why pimp it on the package if it is not active?

I won't bore you with my extensive search for better sound and USB input/output, but this is the only worthwhile solution really, to supply the missing electronics:

Philips HTS3371D/372D $99.00. This is routed in my house through a cable TV box via HDMI cable. The unit came with optical cable to export from the Vizio, though.

The only output from the TV is an optical-cable sound connection, and mini-stereo jack for headphones. All other jacks are inputs (only) to the TV.

Vizio did a great job with the picture. I'd like to see all the Philips sound/multimedia functionality in the same unit as the TV.
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on November 26, 2010
Just bought the TV, and it is working great so far. Easy to connect to wireless. I found this at Office Max for less ($299) as listed in previous review. I also found (and purchased) it at Costco for $289.
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on August 31, 2011
Don't expect to get better sound by plugging in speakers to the headphones jack. There was a firmware update that pretty much killed that port. It works, but it sounds terrible. The sound used to be fine on both the built in speakers and by plugging in headphones or speakers. Not anymore.

It's great as a PC monitor for gaming and watching movies, the viewing angles are fantastic! But the pixel pitch is too large for any reading. Also, about text, there is a problem with subpixel rendering that the TV does on its own. It sometimes interferes with subpixel rendering done by the operating system, for example ClearType on Windows. The problem is obvious with red text on black, but noticeable with many other color combinations.

Since the sound is terrible, and it's not suitable as a PC monitor, the only scenario that this TV would be a great fit for is as a dedicated HTPC monitor in a very small space. I don't see how it can be viable as a TV with the awful sound that can't be corrected.
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