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VIZIO M3D550KD Review
55" Edge-lit LED LCD 3D HDTV, $1149


Dick De Jong
November 6, 2012
HDTV Solutions

(Editor's note: When this review was originally posted, I indicated that the model was the M3D550KDE. In fact, the TV that I had was an earlier version, the M3D550KD [notice there is no "E" on the end]. As readers have alertly noticed, the newer M3D550KDE does not offer smart dimming and there is no option to directly turn off the Smooth Motion Effect. While the M3D550KDE is still a very good TV, the lack of both these features makes this current model less desirable than the earlier M3D550KD. I regret the confusion.)

VIZIO seems to be phasing out their flagship XVT line of TVs and the newer M series is assuming the mantle as the feature-rich head of the VIZIO TV family. Though the E series is garnering a lot of attention with its recent wingspan stretching, low-priced 60" and 70" TVs.

Only the M series models, like the M3D550KD, offer you VIZIO's Theater 3D feature (with passive glasses). None of the new jumbo-sized E series TVs are 3D capable. If you like the M's look and functionality but are not a 3D fan, VIZIO does offer a non 3D 55" model, the M550VSE, for $200 less.

Considering their price, the M series provides all the bells and whistles that you could hope for in 2012. As a SmartTV, the VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA) include all the major names like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. And a Wi-Fi adapter is built-in.

The picture quality from this Edge-lit LED LCD TV may not be the very best that I've seen, but it's very good. And those higher performing TVs often cost twice as much. Depending upon the size of your pocketbook, the difference may not be worth it.

(Editor's Note: At the time of this review, VIZIO no longer sells the M3D550KD on its site. Though it does make two sizes of the newer 3D M series, the 47" M3D470KDE and the 55" M3D550KDE. Except where noted in the opening paragraph, both have similar specifications and this review of the M3D550KD can apply to these newer KDE models. In fact, the features and specs are almost the same for the non-3D capable 55" M550VSE, (and the massive 65" M650VSE and the $700 47" M470VSE). This review works for these TVs also.

Our Star Ratings
Performance: 4.0 4.0 Star Rating
The VIZIO M3D550KD's Edge-lit LED technology (with local dimming) produces occasional blooming on the corners and the passive 3D exhibits those telltale lines, but neither artifact really detracts from the consistently good picture quality.

As usual, the audio quality from the integrated speakers doesn't do justice to the big screen goodness. At the very least, you should consider supplementing the TV's audio with a soundbar.

Features: 5.0 5 Star Rating
With a boatload of Internet content providers, built-in Wi-Fi, a remote control with a QWERTY keyboard and even four 3D glasses thrown in, the feature package is overflowing.
Ease of Use: 4.5 4.5 Star Rating
The VIZIO M3D550KD is not that difficult to initially set up, but with all the features expect to take some time to familiarize yourself with what this SmartTV offers.
Value: 4.5 4.0 Star Rating
At the time of this review, you could purchase the M3D550KD on the VIZIO site for $1149 which is a great value for a full featured 3D 55" TV. But the market is particularly dog eat dog right now, even VIZIO is selling their E Series 60" SmartTV (non-3D) for under $1000.
Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We give very few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.

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Reader Comments

Posted Jan 14, 2013 2:48:41 PM

By Dick De Jong


To a certain extent, we are both right and wrong.

I just checked the VIZIO website and the two 2012 E Series 3D TV models are "Out of Stock" on the site. Usually that means that those TVs are out of production.

If you go the current models that VIZIO lists on their E Series pages: http://store.vizio.com/eseries.html, you will notice that neither of those two 3D TVs are there, which confirms that they are out of production.

To that extent, when I wrote the article, VIZIO was not making an E Series 3D TV.

Since VIZIO was making these E Series 3D TVs earlier in 2012, I would not be surprised that they may still be available through sites like Amazon. And you may be able to find one for a good price.

Now, you are also correct, because if you look at the press release about VIZIO's 2013 line-up: http://www.hdtvsolutions.com/flatscreen_news_story_421.htm, lo and behold, VIZIO does list two new 2013 E Series 3D TVs, which are not out as I type this in mid-January.

Though you will notice that almost all the 3D models are in their M Series or their new (date yet to be announced) Ultra HD XVT Series.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

Dick De Jong Editor, HDTV Solutions

Posted Jan 13, 2013 11:39:28 AM

By John

In your review you stated that Vizio's E Series doesn't support 3D, but I see a number of E series 3DTVs on their website, and Amazon has at least 3 E series 3DTVs listed for sale.

Posted Nov 23, 2012 10:05:05 PM

By Dick De Jong


I actually reviewed the KD and not the KDE. I'm a fan of smart dimming, which the KD has. Many viewers may not notice the difference, but if you do then I would scour the Internet for the KD and not the KDE. You are right that VIZIO no longer sells the KD on their site.

In fact, I do not see a TV on VIZIO's site that does have smart dimming except the 58" XVT3D580CM Cinema Wide.

Posted Nov 23, 2012 9:52:33 PM

By Dick De Jong


As you can see from the opening Editor's Note that I added at the beginning of this review, I was looking at the M3D550KD, which had controls for turning on and off Smooth Motion. With your KDE, I would try playing with the different picture modes and see if one like Movie gives you some relief from that sharp smooth motion effect.

Posted Nov 23, 2012 10:55:33 AM

By Tricky

I just purchased the this TV, and have noticed there is no option to turn off the Smooth Motion Effect. Was it always there (according to your screenshots it once was)? Has Vizio removed it? Why? I hate the effect and want to turn it off, but it seems to just be a default setting I can't change.

Posted Nov 17, 2012 5:27:29 AM

By Mike

Thanks for the review Dick. I'm hoping you have an additional comment for me on the Vizio. I've done a ton of research and am ready to purchase and what I've found to be the best value (for what I'm looking for) is the M3D550KD. Sadly, I believe they've discontinued the model and seemingly have replaced it with the KDE - which seems to be a noticeable step down. Can you make a comparison/comment? Thanks for the help.
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