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.


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.


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

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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.


    • 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.


      • harsh shah
        May 30, 2017 at 7:50 pm

        On Vizio’s office website, it lists the 2017 M55 to have a 120hz panel. Does the 60hz only apply to some panels.

        Scroll to tech specs


        • Stephen
          June 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          Hey there Harsh, no what you saw there was Vizio’s “Effective refresh rate” for the M-Series. This is basically a type of interpolation technology which artificially doubles the real native refresh rate of 60Hz that the 2017 55 inch M-Series actually has.


          • Greg
            July 11, 2017 at 10:23 am


            Do you have any inkling as to why Vizio would scale back the panel on the M-Series to 60Hz? Seems like a step in the wrong direction. The M-Series has consistently seen an improvement in features year over year. Now they are cutting back on the refresh rate and the local dimming zones from 2016. Not saying they needed to improve it, but why downgrade?

          • Stephen
            July 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

            Hey there Greg, it’s hard to guess but based on our own analysis of both (we’re currently in the process of reviewing the 2017 M-Series) i’d suspect that the company is simply becoming more efficient with their use of lesser resources to keep maintaining quality. I say this because from the actual performance metrics we’ve seen for brightness, contrast, color performance and motion handling, the 2017 M-series performs better than the 2016 model in many, many ways. Motion interpolation is weak in the newer versions due partly to the reduction to 60Hz display but motion blur is almost equally good in both TVs. And as for brightness, contrast and local dimming, believe it or not the 2017 M-series delivers far better peak brightness in HDR mode than its 2016 cousin and better color performance as well due to the inclusion of 10-bit color, which the 2016 model lacks. Even local dimming in the 2017 model is only slightly inferior despite the reduction in dimming zones.

            In other words, you are in fact getting more with the newer model despite the appearance of watered down specs.

  • Jim
    May 1, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I thought the LeEco deal went BUST?


  • Ben
    May 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

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


    • 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.


  • 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.


  • Ray L
    June 1, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Hi Stephen,
    Let me start by saying I can go no larger than a 50″ TV. I’m seriously considering the new Sony 900E (49″) however Vizio has been on my list since my hunt started. With the improvements to the “M” (50″) in 2017 it becomes even more interesting. At current prices the “M” can be purchased for only $599.00, really incredibly priced! The Sony is $1,099.00. I don’t mind spending more money but $500.00 is a BIG difference. Am I getting $500.00 more TV with the Sony? Thanks for you input!


  • Scot Benson
    August 8, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Any progress on that review?


    • Stephen
      August 25, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Hi there Scot. it’s coming over this weekend in fact. there are two pending before it and all three will be live by Sunday the 27th.


  • Mike
    August 26, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    So with the P and M series both getting updates for an on board apps installed on the tv itself. Is it better to buy 2016 models. Also what is better in the 55″ the P55-E1 with the IPA screen or the M55-E0 with VA screen? Some people say you loose color with an IPA screen


    • Stephen
      August 26, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      Hi there Mike, I think you meant IPS and there are major differences between IPS and VA panels in TVs. Color performance will be about equal in either kind but IPS displays deliver far less contrast and black depth than their VA counterparts. On the other hand, the viewing angles of IPS TV displays are much wider in case you have a lot of living room/den seating far off to either side. IPS TVs with local dimming technology can however also deliver excellent black levels but such models are quite rare.

      As for the 2016 vs. 2017 Vizio TV models, it depends. I’d recommend the 2017 versions where possible. they’ve come with certain solid smart TV and software updates and if we’re talking about the 2017 E-Series or M-Series, they really are completely new TV editions with new specs (which happen to be better based on what we’re seeing so far in our reviews). The 2017 P-Series is identical to its 2016 version but it does have a new smart TV interface.


      • Mike
        August 27, 2017 at 10:20 am

        That helps me a lot in my decision making but With M55-E0 being only 60hz will the vizio 55″ E series being 120hz is it a better 4k tv


  • Michael
    September 8, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Recently bought an M65-E0. Streaming looks great but I do watch a lot of cable (especially sports). Several cable channels such as HBO look great while others seem to be lacking a bit. I read elsewhere that the M series lacks a little in upscaling 720p content and looks a bit “softer” when doing so than most other TV’s. I’m wondering which TV’s in the same general price range do a better job of upscaling 720p? And would the difference be significantly noticeable or negligible at best?


    • Stephen
      October 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Hi there Michael. Vizio’s 4K TVs mostly upscale at a level of quality that’s nearly comparable to that of most other major brand models. However, we have noticed that Sony, LG and Samsung’s models (all of them, premium or mid-range and budget) upscale ever so slightly better for low resolution content like 480p, and possibly 720p. So maybe give their models a try based on your budget. I also note that the content itself plays a part. Some content sources are just badly mastered and no 4K TV can really fix them completely because after all, the TV’s picture processing engine can only work with the data it’s given. It does not perform magic tricks of any kind. Feel free to let us know if you gave other TVs a try and what results you had. Thanks!


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