Vizio TV 2016 Reviews & Prices – Ultimate Buying Guide for Vizio 4k TVs
Vizio is one of the most quality oriented budget 4K UHD TV makers on the market today, and what makes them so special among many other manufacturers of highly economical 4K televisions is that unlike many other such brands we’ve seen, Vizio also throws an enormous amount of quality into the mix. This means that while Vizio 4K TVs are consistently more affordable than most of their name brand counterparts in each size category they’re available in, they usually offer either very good or even highly competitive levels of quality to accompany their price range. In other words, when you buy one of this company’s 4K ultra HD televisions, you’re not only saving a decent amount of money, you’re also getting plenty of real value in return.
Of course, as 4K TV prices have dropped across the board for the entire industry, the offerings from Vizio are no longer as amazingly cheap as they were in late 2014 when the company’s first 4K UHD television sets emerged in the form of the now discontinued (but still sold) P-Series but this is a manufacturer which still delivers lots and for an extremely competitive price, even if they have also now moved into the premium television market with their latest and no longer budget-oriented models, the Reference-Series.
With Vizio’s 4K Televisions, in any of the company’s three major 2015 and 2016 series, what a consumer gets their hands on is a robust and fully fleshed out package of excellent connectivity, good to great display specs, full web access and even some above-average premium specs like full-array LED backlighting and some superb HDR specs, which definitely add a touch of exceptional value.
Vizio currently manufactures three types of 4K ultra HD LCD TVs, which have been released in two different editions across 2014, 2015 and 2016, of which we’ve done reviews of several types, the M-Series, the 2014 P-Series and the absolutely superb 2016 HDR-equipped P-Series. Among the M-Series, D-Series and 2016 P-Series TVs, the absolute best performers we’ve seen so far are the 2016 P-Series models and they are impressive not only by budget 4K TV standards but also hold their own when compared to other premium name brand 2016 4K TVs with HDR
. Like Sony and a few other manufacturers, Vizio has stayed cleanly away from curved TV screen design in all of its budget 4K TV models.
The following is a brief overview of each type of 4K TV made by Vizio:
2016 M-Series HDR 4K TVs
The 2016 Vizio M-Series 4K HDR TVs are the successors to the company’s 2015 M-Series models and offer many of the same specs, including full connectivity, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, HEVC decoding and full-array LED backlighting in the larger models. However, going beyond these core essentials of the 4K content experience, these new 2016 M-Series models take the quality of their 2015 cousins to a whole new level in terms of black performance, peak brightness and vibrancy. Additionally, the quality of their overall motion handling specs and control of judder in 24p content has been majorly improved over how it stood in the 2015 models. On the other hand, while the 2016 M-Series TVs do offer support for Dolby Vision HDR standards and are thus considered to be HDR TVs, they lack the wide color gamut and 10-bit color of their pricier and more sophisticated P-Series HDR cousins (covered below). The 2016 M-Series models also don’t have quite the same number of local dimming zones in their backlight array, resulting in a lower quality of local dimming. However it should be noted here that even the weaker local dimming of these M-Series TVs is superior to that found in even premium Samsung HDR televisions since these otherwise superior and more expensive models are only edge-lit.
Finally and most drastically changed, there is Vizio’s new and superbly improved Smart Cast mobile device-based smart TV platform in the 2016 Vizio M-Series models, with better interactivity, more content access and a wider range of user interface features making it into a superior piece of 4K TV smart technology than the 2014/2015 Vizio Internet Apps Plus ever was.
The 2016 Vizio M-Series 4K UHD TVs are sold in a number of sizes, from the smallest at only 50 inches to the largest at a very hefty 80 inches with different sizes spaced apart in between at a wide range of prices and size preferences. All Vizio M-Series TVs with a screen of 60 inches or more come with a native 120Hz refresh rate while the 55 inch and smaller models offer native 60Hz refresh rates.
Here is the breakdown of the 2016 Vizio M-Series range:
M50-D1 50 inches $849 32 VA
M55-D0 55 inches $999 64 VA
M60-D1 60 inches $1,249 64 IPS
M65-D0 65 inches $1,499 64 VA
M70-D3 70 inches $1,999 64 VA
M80-D3 80 inches $3,999 64 VA
2016 P-Series 4K HDR TVs
Vizio’s 2016 P-Series 4K TVs are without a doubt the very best the company has yet produced and they deliver like nothing else on this years market when cost is taken into consideration. We consider these models to be the second best 4K LCD HDR TVs we’ve reviewed so far in 2016 and that’s quite an achievement from Vizio considering how affordably they’re being sold.
The 2016 P-Series models offer full blown Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range specs. Along with this, they deliver superb 1100+ nit peak brightness. deep rich black levels and some spectacular color delivery through HDR 10-bit color standards that have been integrated into their full-array LED display panels. Even the simple fact that the entire 2016 P-Series offers full-array LED backlighting is impressive when you keep in mind that only the most expensive of Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TV models offers this particular spec while the other edge-lit TVs cost a lot more than their Vizio counterparts.
For this year, the new P-Series models came out in several different sizes, with a 50 inch VA model with 126 local dimming zones, a 55 inch IPS model with 126 local dimming zones and the 65 inch and 75 inch models which offer 128 local dimming zones and high contrast VA display panel designs. All of the 2016 P-Series TVs offer the fulHDR package and we love how it turned out in their screens.
2014 P-Series (Discontinued)
These were the very first 4K UHD TVs in Vizio’s line of televisions with 4K resolution and when they were first released in October of 2014, their features and pricing meant that they were truly revolutionary arrivals on the 4K scene. With the P-Series, Vizio offered up a TV with superb display specs, fully integrated connectivity, a great smart TV platform and the premium feature of full-array LED backlighting for a ridiculously low price range (for the time) that resulted in a 70 inch P-Series model costing well below $3,000 with full-array LED backlighting built into it. This was thousands of dollars less than the retail price of any similarly sized 4K TV from a major brand at the time.
The Vizio P-Series TVs can still be found on sale with some retailers despite their discontinuation and they come in 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 inch screen sizes, with a native 120Hz refresh rate across the board.
The Vizio D-Series 4K UHD TV models are the company’s most recent budget 4K UHD models and while they lack some of the features found in the M-Series, they still have plenty of value to offer while selling at a truly rock bottom price for fully connected 4K UHD TVs. Some of the smallest D-Series 4K UHD models have been found on sale for prices as low as less than $500 while still delivering full connectivity and compatibility with most 4KUHD content sources on the market today.
The Reference Series Vizio 4K UHD TVs are the very newest televisions of all by this brand and while they haven’t yet been reviewed by 4K.com, we do know that these models represent a very firm move away from budget 4K TV technology and into the premium television category. The Reference Series models in Vizio’s fleet come in only two sizes, one measuring a conservative 65 inches and another measuring out at a monstrous 120 inches and selling for roughly $100,000 USD. The 65 inch model is much more reasonably priced and comparable in cost to a flagship Sony 4K UHD TV like the X940C or one of LG’s OLED televisions.
In return for this hefty price, buyers get their hands on the absolute best Vizio can offer, including HDR, full-array LED backlighting and hundreds of distinct dimming zones behind the TV’s screen.
The following are some of the core features found in Vizio’s 4K ultra HD TVs. We’re focusing here primarily on the M-Series models because they’re the ones we’ve reviewed most and the most popular models on the market today but some of these key specs are also found in all of the other 4K TVs made by Vizio.
- Full-Array LED backlighting
Vizio is most famous even now for its generosity with the inclusion of full-array LED backlighting in its 4K TVs. This is the spec which we think did the most to make Vizio’s original P-Series 4K TVs so famous given their low prices and it’s something we continue to respect quite a lot about the company. Unlike most other name brand TV makers, Vizio includes full-array backlighting in all of its 55 inch or larger M-Series and P-Series models despite their highly affordable prices and also obviously offers the technology in their premium Reference-Series TVs. The only variation on the technology (where it’s included) lies mainly in the number of Active LED zones found in the different sizes and types of TVs.
Thus for example, with the M-Series, the number of individual LED zones tops out at 32 and for the older P-Series, the largest models offered as many as 70+ active LED zones. As for the Reference Series premium TVs, as many as 384 LED zones are available.
With full-array backlighting, Vizio’s 4K TVs offer superior levels of contrast control and brightness while also augmenting the vibrancy of onscreen colors.
- This is the trade name for the technology behind Vizio’s non-4K content upscaling engine and in the case of the models we’ve reviewed to-date in both the P and M-Series lines, Vizio does a great job of upscaling 720p, Full HD and even SD content. While 4K TVs from both Sony and Samsung upscale even better, Vizio won’t leave any normal viewer disappointed with how well their 4K TVs expand HD content in particular so that it looks sharper spread across the 8.3 million pixels of a Vizio 4K screen.
- Vizio’s Reference Series 4K TVs and all of the company’s 2016 4K TV releases offer HDR. Vizio’s version of high dynamic range is based on Dolby technology, making it slightly different from the standard used by most other name brand HDR TVs.
VM50 Ultra HD Engine
- Vizio’s VM50 Engine is the company’s version of similar processors like the X1 processor 4K found in Sony’s 4K TVs. Thus, the VM50 works to continuously sharpen the level of detail in the onscreen 4K graphics while also adjusting color and contrast for greater realism. Furthermore, this processing engine helps along the Ultra Upscaling process of the M-Series and other Vizio 4K TVs.
Smart TV Platform
2014 and 2015: Internet Apps Plus
Vizio’s older 2014 and 2015 smart TV platform with VIZIO Internet Apps PLUS is definitely not our favorite among the 2014/2015 4K UHD TV OS designs. It’s not bad but it remains pretty basic and hasn’t changed much from 2014 to 2016. Access to a wide range of 4K content apps is there but with some notable exclusions as far as 4K UHD content is concerned. Most specifically, we’re talking about the lack of 4K content from any source which compresses it using Google’s VP9 compression codec, since this isn’t supported by Vizio. Thus, while the smart TV platform in Vizio’s main 4K TVs does let you access Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Ultraflix 4K content, it won’t give you YouTube 4K videos as some other platforms do.
Furthermore, the design and interactive features of the older Vizio platform are relatively limited in comparison to say the features found in LG’s excellent webOS 2.0 (and now webOS 3.0) or in Samsung’s Tizen smart TV OS.
2016 Smart TV platform: SmartCast
For 2016 however, Vizio completely revamped their smart TV design paramaters in a way we’d almost call revolutionary, not just for Vizio TVs but for the 4K TV industry as a whole. The 2016 version of smart TV in this year’s Vizio TVs is called SmartCast and it’s featured in all three releases that have come out –the D-Series, M-Series and P-Series TVs.
Unlike all other existing smart OS designs, SmartCast does not get run from the TV display itself and instead exists on an included tablet remote control with a native Android OS. With SmartCast in the external mobile device, users can download movies, browse media apps, use Google Cast and access all the key 4K content apps that 2016 Vizio 4K TVs come with. Furthermore, the app isn’t restricted to just the tablet it comes preinstalled on with one of Vizio’s M-Series or P-Series TVs. It can be downloaded to nearly any other compatible mobile phone or tablet and allow you to essentially never lose your TV remote, since nearly any touch screen phone or device can be turned into a remote with a simple free download.
Along with the SmartCast tablet remote, Vizio has also included a small and very basic button remote for essential TV controls.
While the smart TV layout of Vizio’s 4K UHD TVs may be no frills, their display characteristics generally are not. In simple terms, Vizio offers up some very good display specs in all of its 4K TVs and delivers particularly excellent visuals in its larger M-Series TVs and the 2016 M-Series and P-Series 4K TVs, almost all of which come with HDR displays. As for the Reference Series models, the visual specs and other key display characteristics are simply stunning by any measure, even when compared against the very best that other name brands have to offer.
In the case of Vizio’s more commonly sold M-Series 4K TVs, models in the 60 inch and larger range offer what we’d call very good display specs. Their contrast is reasonable, their colors are very decent and while the active LED/dimming zones aren’t spectacularly effective at offering up precision local dimming with rich dark colors, they don’t do a bad job of it either. On the other hand, colors in the M-Series and the older P-Series look wonderful indeed.
As for motion handling and judder control, Vizio’s older 4K TVs are not nearly as solid performers as what you’d note in any Sony or Samsung 4K UHD TV from 2015 and this is what we’d consider to be one of the main display weaknesses in the 2015 M-Series in particular. However, for the 2016 M-Series and P-Series models, motion handling and judder control are entirely different animals, with superb performance that in the P-Series in particular is virtually perfect across the board. The improvement has been downright impressive in 2016 on this front.
In terms of connectivity, the Vizio line of 4K TVs offers across the board access to most of the core essentials for basic 4K UHD and non-4K content viewing. HDMI 2.0 is represented along with USB 3.0, all of the usual digital and analog audio/video connections and all of the brand’s TVs offer up Ethernet and WiFi connectivity. Furthermore, HDCP 2.2 content copy protection and HEVC (H.265 for 4K) content compression are both supported.
On the other hand, at least with the non-Reference 4K TV models from 2014 and 2015, Vizio has failed to include web browsing capacity and there is not support for VP9 4K content compression, which excludes some sources of native streamed 4K content. This is however changing in 2016, with this year’s
The Best Models
Vizio’s best overall range of 4K TVs when both price and quality are taken into consideration is without a doubt the 2016 P-Series and its larger 60 inch+ models are particular winners as far as we’re concerned. They offer superb value, mostly good specs and some very robust display features at some of the most affordable prices today, even now after serious across-the-board price drops in all name brand 4K TV retail prices.
As for the Reference Series premium 4K TVs, these are without a doubt the very best that Vizio has to offer in terms of physical quality but their limited range of sizes (65 and 120 inches) and their very heavy to outright monstrous prices make them less than ideal choices for most users.
To summarize here, we’d have to also mention again the 60 to 80 inch 2015 M-Series 4K TVs from Vizio to be the best overall models from this brand. For anyone looking for a mostly no-frills, affordable and high value 4K TV, the M-Series offers some great choices.
Pricewise, the Vizio TV range is spread very widely across the scale. While some of the smallest D-Series and M-Series 4K TVs cost less than $600, the monster 120 inch Reference Series premium 4K UHD HDR TV is selling for over $100,000! That said, the majority of Vizio’s most popular and highest value M-Series 4K TVs retail for between $548.00 for the 43 inch model and $3,998 for the 80 inch model, at least on Amazon.com. Below the 80 inch model, the price drops considerably to $2,798 for the next largest 75 inch M-Series 4K TV.
Positives, Negatives and Final Opinion
Overall, we definitely recommend the Vizio M and P-Series 4K UHD TVs as great value options for buyers who want decent to very good quality on a budget price. The 4K UHD D-Series TVs in the Vizio line are less recommendation worthy but for the M and P-Series models, you’ll get some of the connectivity frills cut out while enjoying some very reliable display specs. Vizio’s more consumer friendly budget 4K TVs have their downsides to be sure but for their prices, they’re not at all bad offerings.
- Extremely wide selection of 4K TVs in all price and quality ranges
- Very good price flexibility
- Full-array LED backlighting in all larger models
- Solid color performance
- Decent connectivity specs
- Elegant design
- Great upscaling engine
- No web browser in the M-Series
- The Reference Series TVs are ridiculously expensive
- Contrast could be more precise in the M-Series and D-Series TVs
- No VP9 compatibility in the M-Series TVs
Click here to see our Rankings of the Best 4k TVs of 2016 and see how Vizio stacks up against other Manufacturers!