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Vizio’s New M-Series 4K HDR “XLED” TVs Promise Better Picture Quality, Smart TV Changes

by on May 1, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – May 1, 2017

UPDATE: Following very recent communication with PR reps for Vizio, we have made some minor corrections to the following content: Vizio has clarified that the company is NOT to be owned by LeEco. That deal fell through due to regulatory issues and the two companies are thus partnering in different ways. Also, the 2017 M-Series models will all feature native 60Hz panels

In 2016 Vizio really impressed almost everyone who knows anything about 4K TV technology with the overall quality of their key Ultra HD TV models and the performance they delivered. This applied particularly to last year’s P-Series models, which were priced remarkably affordably while offering a whole pile of premium performance specs which put them on par with some much more expensive premium models from rival brands.

This in fact has been a tendency of Vizio’s since their first ever P-Series 4K TV models emerged in late 2014 and now in 2017, the brand is impressing us again with this year’s versions of their 4K HDR TVs.

Most importantly so far, we’re seeing some serious improvement for the 2017 M-Series “XLED 4K TVs in particular. While the 2017 P-Series has gone through only some minor changes, the newest version of the M-Series has been modertely upgraded while still sticking to Vizio’s now famous budget prices.

These new M-Series models with 4K resolution and HDR start out with the 50 inch model, with a very nice $800 price tag and go up from there to a giant 75 inch M-Series TV selling for $3000, which is still remarkably cheap for a 75 inch 4K HDR TV. All of the 2017 models come with full full-array LED backlighting and local dimming technology that consists of a robust number of local dimming zones. All of the M-Series size ranges come with 32 of them and this amounts to some very solid black level performance for HDR contrast delivery. Oddly though, considering the apparently improved black performance of the 2017 models, this number of local dimming zones is actually lower than what we saw in the 2016 M-Series editions, which came with 64 local dimming zones for the 50 inch model.

Furthermore, unlike their 2016 counterparts, the 2017 M-Series 4K HDR models all include full HDR color performance, with wide color gamut for 92%+ DCI-P3 color space coverage and 10-bit color. Last year, fans of Vizio 4K TVs who wanted these things could only get them by buying the company’s P-Series models. As for HDR format support, for the 2017 TVs we can expect to see HDR10 and Dolby Vision support make their appearance again. One further display change for 2017 is the use of VA panel display for all models, so if you want an IPS Vizio TV you’re out of luck with the 2017 editions.

vizio-2017-demo-38

Overall though, just how good is the new M-Series? Well, at a recent Vizio demonstration of their new 4K TVs in New York City, the M-Series was compared side-by-side with one of Samsung’s new QLED HDR 4K TVs, the Q7 model and surprisingly, it was the Vizio television which delivered the visibly richer, deeper black levels, though the Q7 QLED TV did show off marginally better color performance. Overall though, both TVs performed very similarly and with this the key thing to keep in mind here though is that while the 65 inch Samsung Q7 is retailing for a whopping $3,999 at current prices, the Vizio M-Series HDR model with full-array LED backlighting and superior black performance sells for just $1,500.

Then we have Vizio’s new “XLED branding strategy for the M-Series and other 4K HDR models. This might sound like some new twist on LED backlighting or fundamental display hardware but in reality it’s much more of a simple marketing term with virtually no relation to display hardware technology, which Vizio is using to describe the software and smart TV updates they’ve given to their 2017 4K TVs like the M-Series.

Speaking of those smart TV updates, the new 2017 models have taken what some users might view as a step backwards.

Vizio+remote

Both the P-Series and M-Series models in 2016 came with free included Android “SmartCast” smart TV tablets, which were where the majority of smart TV functionality and content apps access was controlled from. In the 2017 models, the SmartCast tablet is no longer included by Vizio since the company claims that many customers prefer a more classical button remote and that most buyers of their 2016 TVs were using their phones to control them in any case. Thus, in this year’s M-Series models, what we’ll get is a complex but very much normal button remote with smart functionality and more direct access to content apps right through the TVs themselves instead of via external SmartCast app on a phone or the tablet we saw in 2016.

Finally, we should mention that all of the 2017 Vizio M-Series models come with built-in Chromecast, Google Home compatibility and that they’re all 4K TVs with a native 60Hz refresh rate, as opposed to the native 120Hz refresh which applied only to 60 inch or larger 2016 M-Series models.

Here’s a breakdown of all 4K HDR Vizio M-Series “XLED” 4K TV size ranges and suggested retail prices at the time of this writing:

Model                Size                      Price

M50-E1              50-inch                 $800

M55-E0              55-inch                 $1,000

M65-E0              65-inch                 $1,500

M70-E3              70-inch                 $2,000

M75-E1              75-inch                 $3,000

Story by 4k.com

6 comments
 
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  • Sutton
    May 1, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Thank you for your review, but you got a few key specifications wrong.

    First, the buyout be LeEco was nixed and was not consummated. Vizio is still an American company, although the sets are made in China.

    Secondly, all the monitors in the M Series are now built with native 60 hz panels and not the native 120 hz panels in the larger 2016 M Series.

    Also, the P Series is the same product as the previous years product. The only difference will be the firmware, and both year models will receive the update, so the P Series is really a two year product cycle, and will not be upgraded until the 2018 product ships.

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      May 16, 2017 at 11:58 pm

      Hi Sutton, yes we corrected the news piece to explain that LeEco did not buy Vizio. Also, the error about 120Hz refresh has been corrected after verification. As for the P-Series, we make no mention of a 2017 P-Series lineup release here.

      Reply

  • Jim
    May 1, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I thought the LeEco deal went BUST?

    Reply

  • Ben
    May 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

    The deal did go bust. The author of the article isn’t very well informed.

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      May 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Ben, as mentioned in the article itself and in all other places where we mentioned a buyout of Vizio by LeEco, we’ve clarified that Vizio will remain as its own company. This was corrected a while ago. Thanks for your input though.

      Reply

  • JSS
    May 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Two comments/corrections to be made. First, the native refresh rate on the 2017 M Series is almost certainly 60Hz (compared to 120Hz for the 2016 model). It’s unfortunate, but probably mostly matters for gamers. From what I gather, it still handle 24 frame content correctly using 3:2 pulldown or something to that effect–so it may not be that significant for the more typical mass market purchaser–but that’s open to debate, I suppose. Second, the LeEco deal definitely went bust (not sure how this was missed because it was all over the news wires a couple weeks back)–Vizio remains a private independent operating entity.

    I think LeEco discovered how unforgiving U.S. consumers can be when it absolutely fumbled its initial uMax85 release, providing virtually zero volume (sold out in 9 seconds), 3-6 month delivery times for all but the earliest handful of buyers (even some people who got in on the 9 second release had to wait until February for delivery–a handful received theirs in a month or so after ordering in early November), minimal specification information (had basic specs, but staff had no answers for any more technical spec info), and slow/poor firmware updates to fix early bugs in the TVs operation–particularly its FALD and HDR performance), and pretty p*ss poor communication, in general. The fact the timing of that U.S. release coincided with a LOT of bad news about the company’s financial situation, and consumers (rightly) abandoned LeEco as an option. Which is a shame–extra competition would have been great for consumers. And by all accounts, for those who did eventually get the uMax85 delivered, it’s a solid/high-value TV. But good luck getting much support–and it seems more likely than not LeEco may just completely abandon the U.S. market, leaving consumers with a potentially very large and pricey paper weight, should something go wrong with their uMax85s. I would have bought one. I tried to get the initial release. But by the time they offered another batch for sale, the news on the company, its fortunes, and all the other smoke scared me away. And I wouldn’t touch anything from them now. Vizio (and the U.S. consumer) dodged a bullet.

    Reply

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