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First Look: Vizio M series: great picture for a great price, but that's not the whole story

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First Look: Vizio M series: great picture for a great price, but that's not the whole story

3:15 /

Excellent picture quality, well-thought out features and distinctive design make the Vizio M series seem like a much more expensive TV than it really is.

[MUSIC] Hi everybody, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET and next to me is Vizio's 2014 M-Series. This is their mid range TV for this year. It's a 60-inch model right next to me, but the series goes from 32 all up to 80-inches this year. So it's a nice large range of sizes. This TV is a little bit different from the step down E-Series that we looked at recently. One of the biggest differences is the styling. The set has a sort of silver look around the edge. There's also a matching silver stand. Slightly cooler styling than on the E-Series which is all black, if you actually like that silver look. Another big step up is the remote control. It's a lot better than on the E-Series. The button arrangement on the top side is really nice, but when you flip it over is the real story. It's got a full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom, so you can actually turn that remote over and type in passwords and searches and things like that. It works really well. A couple of great things about that keyboard, a, it's backlit and, b, it actually works with Netflix. You can search Netflix something that, some keyboards don't actually work with all apps. This one doesn't work every one, but at least it works with Netflix. The TV does have a lot of smart TV functionality. It's just like the E-Series. You can click on the smart TV button and get a little line of apps along the bottom. You can customize it. Rearrange that line of apps. It doesn't really interfere with what your watching. Select any app from there. You can also double click on Vizio's app button and it will bring up a full screen interface, gives you a lot more space to navigate and find different apps that you want to, and again customize that little strip that pops up. All told it's an excellent selection of content, you don't get HBO GO, but then again that's not found on any other TV except for Samsung. You do get Amazon, and it actually it's the new updated Amazon app which is little bit again an improvement over the E-Series. Around back, there's ample connectivity, including 4 HDMI inputs and a single USB port for photo, video, and music. There's also a single component video input, and of course, an ethernet jack. Of course you can also connect the TV via Wi-Fi to the internet. Speaking the internet, one of the things this set doesn't have is a built-in web browser, found on a lot of other TVs at this level, plus side I'm not really a fan of those built-in web browsers, usually you get a lot better results using your phone or a tablet in conjunction with a TV. Vizio does promote the improve picture quality of the M-Series compared to the E, but when we took them to the lab, the two were very similar. The M and the E are both excellent performers. This set can get extremely deep black levels and it also gets a slightly brighter area in highlights compared to the E-Series. That's probably thanks to it's additional local dimming zone. Although you don't get really all that much improvement, so again the E and the M very similar in terms of picture quality. One little advantage on the M-Series is we did get slightly better color out of this TV, but again it's really difficult to see the difference unless you're looking at it side by side. The M-Series does have improved motion specs, but again, in the lab, you really could only get that improved motion if you turned on soap opera effect. Of course, the flip side of that, is that everything kinda looks like a soap opera and looks really smooth. So, if you wanna get the best film like picture out of this TV, you're gonna have to turn all that off and deal with slightly lower motion resolution that's found on some of the competitors. Picture quality also features excellent bright room capability and very good picture uniformity, so all told, one of the better LCD performers we expect to see this year. That's a quick look at Vizio's M-Series TV. Mid range price, excellent picture quality, and pretty good styling. Again, one of the better TVs we review this year for 2014. I'm David Katzmaier for CNET. [MUSIC]

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