Updated: Vizio M series TV includes free tablet remote and Dolby Vision HDR, starts at $850

vizio-m-series-2016.jpg
Vizio

The successor to CNET's favorite LCD TV of 2015, Vizio's M series, is getting improved image quality chops and a revamped smart TV system that includes a tablet remote in the box.

The 2016 version of the M series will be shipping "soon" according to Vizio. It will be available in sizes from 50 to 80 inches, and starts at $850.

The new M series will pack many of the same features as the more-expensive P series, which started shipping March 27.

Vizio M series features

  • Full-array local dimming with up to 64 zones
  • HDR compatible with Dolby Vision support
  • 4K resolution
  • Includes free Android tablet remote (6-inch screen, 720p)
  • Google Cast compatible

Those are some pretty impressive image-quality specifications. The M series halves the number of local dimming zones on the P series, but 64 is still an impressive number (more zones generally leads to improved image quality), and twice as many as the M had last year. Vizio says "up to" 64 zones; smaller sizes will have fewer zones.

HDR is another high-end picture enhancement new for 2016, and I assume Vizio will support both formats, as it does with the P series. One difference between the P and the M, judging from the website, is that the M series doesn't get the "Ultra Color Spectrum" feature, so I doubt its coverage of the P3 color space used for HDR will equal the P series' 96 percent.

Just like the P series, the M does away with a traditional onscreen menu system in favor of the Google Cast feature and the Vizio SmartCast app. That means it too will lack native support for Amazon's streaming videos, including its 4K and HDR library. Amazon was the first with HDR streaming via the HDR10 format, and will offer Dolby Vision HDR later this year.

The M's "free 6-inch tablet" has 720p resolution instead of the 1080p found on the P series, as well as a slightly worse processor (quad-core, not octa-core) and less storage (8GB vs. 16GB). Otherwise they're very similar, and both include the slick wireless charging dock.

These TVs lack a built-in tuner, so they can't receive local TV stations available via antenna/over-the-air broadcasts. In fact, lack of a tuner means they're not technically "TVs" anymore, which is why Vizio's web site calls them "Tuner-Free Displays." If you're someone who watches a lot of TV via antenna, rather than cable, satellite or streaming service, Vizio recommends you purchase a third-party tuner.

See my write-up of the P series for more details.

Here's how the models break down.

Vizio M series 2016

Model Size Price Dimming zones Panel type
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

According to Vizio's site, the 60-inch size in the series uses an IPS panel instead of VA. In previous testing we've preferred the image produced by VA panels overall, and we expect that to be the case this time around as well.

Vizio's has also announced a new 2016 version of the less expensive E series, which lacks HDR and the tablet remote.

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Where to Buy

VIZIO M70-D3

Part Number: M70-D3

MSRP: $1,999.99

Visit manufacturer site for details.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Type 1 year warranty
  • Weight 58.2 lbs