The Vizio M3D550SR is a solid edge-lit LED TV with excellent black levels, although its passive 3D and Smart Dimming pose some issues.
At the start of the decade, 3D is still caught in the starting blocks when it comes to home use, relegating the importance of 3D capability on Vizio's M3D550SR to "Featurette" rather than "Feature Presentation."
Meanwhile the Vizio's 2D picture quality is very good for the price overall compared with other edge-lit LED TVs, highlighted by deep black levels and well-rendered shadows. We did experience problems with the overactive Smart Dimming system and the TV's video processing, but they don't spoil our positive impressions. Vizio's VIA apps are plentiful, the QWERTY keyboard takes more than a few (beneficial) cues from smartphones, and while the TV's look is nothing special, its features are among the best available. In fact, with Vizio's failure so far to release any of the higher-endmodelsit teased at CES in January, this is the company's flagship TV for 2011. The M3D550SR isn't our favorite edge-lit LED of the year, but it still makes a strong showing against stiff competition.
For an edge-lit LED-based LCD TV, the Vizio performed very well overall. It showed relatively deep blacks and accurate color, and was admirably capable of distinguishing shadow detail--an important aspect of any TV's performance as it gives a picture depth. On the downside we did notice some blooming and uniformity issues along with improper handling of 1080p/24 content.