Cue the sad panda. I had high hopes for a new 65″ Vizio M Series. But, after 10 days, Best Buy has reclaimed it. The M Series was notable for providing a solid picture at a reasonable price. And, when the 65″ dropped to $1000 during promotional holiday pricing, we pulled the trigger. Beyond “bang for buck” in regards to size and pq, Vizio is one of the few manufacturers that passes 5.1 audio — which could be a major selling point for those with a Sonos Playbar or Vizio 5.1 solution of limited inputs and prefer to use the TV as an HDMI switch. It was for me.
But, within 24 hours, we knew we had a lip sync problem when passing bitstream, versus PCM, audio from TiVo Mini > HDTV > Soundbar. While Vizio does provide some correction options for audio/video synchronization, they were in the wrong direction. Further and maddeningly, the behavior was somewhat unpredictable in regards to which channels or programming would be hit and sometimes reboots of various elements could seemingly clear it while other times they would not. Also, during the course of troubleshooting Vizio audio settings, we’d periodically completely lose audio output until power cycling things. The only way to keep things trouble free, was to have TiVo output PCM… resulting in fake surround sound and somewhat defeating the purpose of this brand set. My issues were over optical, but apparently others have experienced similar using HDMI ARC.
Supposedly there are some audio sync fixes in the hopper via a firmware update (1.6) … that had been pulled due to newly introduced local dimming issues. We frequently take our own advice – buy a product for what it does now, versus what it might do later. So, given a January 15th return window deadline, we unloaded the set. (Similarly, we can’t currently recommend the 4k Vizio P series which has been promised a firmware update to correct aggressive sharpening.)
I’m pretty bummed, as overall we quite liked the set. Yeah, maybe it didn’t have the black levels or uniformity of the 50″ Panasonic plasma it was intended to replace and the corners seemed a bit dark, but I found the picture to be pretty darn satisfying for what we’d paid and appreciated the size bump. I also quite liked the menuing system and external styling. And, tho I may not be the biggest fan of the Yahoo TV widget platform, the Netflix and Amazon direct dial apps were very responsive (and passed 5.1 audio correctly). But it’s back to the drawing board in this post-plasma world.