"Hands down, the best TV at this price point!"4.5 starson by BizwizMB
Pros: See Review
Cons: See Review
Summary: 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 broken 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 year old it started exhibiting a picture problem where the whole left side of the screen would turn green and horizontal line 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 now 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 I 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 because of passive 3D.
• 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.