Recently, we covered the announcement of Vizio's XVT and E-series LCD televisions, which constitute the brand's high and low-end offerings, respectively. The XVT series is loaded with high-performance features like 240Hz refresh rates and LED backlighting, while the E series concentrates on energy efficiency and keeps prices low by eschewing frivolous extras.
The M in M series seems to stand for "middle of the road." The 17 new LCD models in the M series sit smack dab between the XVT and E-series models, an in-between line of televisions that split the difference between exorbitant and barebones.
Solid, Reasonable Specifications
The M series televisions come in sizes between 22 and 55-inches, and all offer full, 1080p high-definition resolution. In our estimation, the value of 1080p drops significantly below 47 or 50 inches, however it's nearly impossible to find a 720p television these days. The cost of 1080p has dropped so precipitously, it's hardly worth worrying about anymore.
There are a few variations the differentiate models within the series. Six of the models (VF550M, VL470M, VT470M, VT420M, SV470M, and SV420M) include 120Hz refresh rates. The remaining models use traditional 60Hz refresh rates. Increased refresh rates are intended to create smoother, crisper images. Like 1080p, 120Hz refresh rates no longer carry much of a price premium over 60Hz. For example, the 42" VT420M with 120Hz is only $100 more expensive than the similarly-sized VL420M with 60Hz.
Another point of distinction is design. Seven of the models utilize the "JAVA Stylish Finish," while the rest have more standard body designs.
JAVA "Stylish" Design
The JAVA frame design can be found on the VL260M, VL320M, VL30M, VL420M, VT420M, VT470M, and VL470M models. Simply put, it's a bezel (that is, the border around the LCD display) that has a simulated wood finish appearance, which gives the impression that the television is encased in a large, wooden picture frame.
There does not seem to be any extra cost incurred for opting for a JAVA-frame model (like the 37-inch VL370M, $799.99 MSRP) over a non-JAVA TV (the 37-inch VO370M, $799.99 MSRP). It's purely an aesthetic decision.
Conclusion: Looks Just Right
When viewed in context along side the XVT and E series televisions, the Vizio M series seems like a welcome relief from the excesses and limitations of those lines. The M series is intended for the main bulk of television buyers, people who want decent specifications at reasonable prices. They aren't luxury models like the XVT or budget models like the E; they're good, middle-of-the-road televisions that have just what consumers need. No more, no less.