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CNET First Look
Vizio's stylish, budget TV is a performerThe Vizio M551-A2R is one of the company's best looking and performing televisions yet.
Hi. I'm Ty Pendlebury and this is a look at the VIZIO M551d TV. If there's one thing that might have prevented people from buying a VIZIO TV in the past it's that they looked cheap with massive old fashioned designs, but with the new M-Series VIZIO has finally delivered a TV that looks a lot more expensive that it really is. This has a really thin bezel and the company logo is very subtle. It looks like a tab in a browser. There are several other PC-like touches as well from the monitor-like stand to the notifications area and setup Windows, but this is a TV and while it does have an extensive app selection and wireless connectivity, it's designed to let you watch stuff. So to that end you get an edge-lit panel with local dimming for better blacks and a passive 3D system. If you're choosing between this and the slightly cheaper E-Series you'll find that the M is capable of a more natural-looking picture. Its local dimming system is less aggressive than the E-Series, and so shadow detail is deeper and more realistic even though absolute black levels aren't as good. Color is also better on the M551 if a little too saturated, but it's still better than the undersaturated tones of the E-Series. For the money it's tough to recommend another LCD TV which offers a similar picture with only Sony coming close at almost twice the price. As such the M551 is an excellent option if you want a 55-inch LCD screen with good image quality for around a thousand dollars. This has been Ty Pendlebury for CNET.com.