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Monday November 28, 2016 10:37 am

Vizio M50-D1 4K HDR TV SmartCast display review

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Features, HDTV, Product Reviews

Vizio M50-D1 review

This is the time of year where many are looking to score a new TV hopefully at a great price. This year, we have a few new acronyms that people need to take into consideration when making a purchase: 4K, HDR, and WCG. If you’re familiar, then you know I’m talking about Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and Wide Color Gamut. All three represent a very positive shift in the TV viewing experience, and if you want all three you can end up spending a pretty penny. However, if you are just looking for a nice display with a fantastic feature that supports all the latest standards, then the 2016 Vizio M-Series should be on your list.


  • HDMI cable
  • TV Stand
  • VIZIO 50" Class Display (49.5" Diag.) - LED - 2160p -
  • VIZIO XRT132 remote control
  • Wireless charging station, VIZIO XR6M10 Android Tablet Remote


  • Class Size: 50″
  • Screen Size (Diag.): 49.50”
  • Panel Type: VA
  • Smart Platform: VIZIO SmartCast™ w/ Google Cast™ Built-in
  • High Dynamic Range: Yes w/ Dolby Vision
  • Resolution: Ultra HD – 3840×2160
  • UHD Upscale Engine: Spatial Scaling Engine™
  • Display Processor: V8 Octa-Core Processor
  • Backlight Type: Full-Array LED
  • Local Dimming: Yes with Active LED Zones® x32
  • Clear Action™: 360
  • UHD Codec Support: HEVC (H.265), VP9
  • Tablet Remote

Android Tablet Remote

  • Screen Size: 6” Android Tablet Remote
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Storage Memory: 1.5GB of DRAM and 8gb Storage
  • Processor: Quad-Core
  • Audio: Dual Stereo Speakers
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Accessories: Wireless Charging Dock, USB Power Cable

HDR vs non-HDR

Vizio sent over a 50-inch M50-D1 SmartCast display for me to check out in exchange for review, and I was intrigued to see how a set that features so much of the new tech at a great price would perform in the real world. What’s changed? These aren’t your traditional television sets. In fact, “display” seems much more appropriate since they don’t even have built-in TV tuners. Instead, it relies on both its built-in Chromecast features, as well as the set-top box devices that you can hook up to it.

These sets support 4K video out of the box, and can display HDR content in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, so you don’t even have to worry about the HDR format war. If you want to watch Dolby Vision content on Netflix, or play HDR10 content on your Xbox One S, you are covered here. One thing to note, while the TV can accept an HDR signal, it does not support wide color, one of the main features of HDR. It sports a 10-bit panel to show the nuance of the high dynamic range image signal.

Vizio M50-d1 review

I mentioned the lack of a built-in TV tuner, but the Vizio M50 also lacks that whole Smart TV app platform that so many others ship with these days. Instead, this set relies heavily on the built-in Chromecast feature (formerly known as Google Cast,) which allows you to choose content on your phone, tablet, or even a Google Home device, and have it stream directly to the TV. Don’t have one? No worries, because in the box the M50 also packs in a 6-inch Android tablet that doubles as a remote control. It’s full-featured, too, so it’s much more than just a TV remote - it’s a fully functional Wi-Fi Android device.

Using this included remote (or an Android or iOS device,) you can stream content wirelessly from any of the apps that support Chromecast streaming. This includes Netflix, HBO Go, HULU, Showtime Anytime, Google Play Music, and many more. This means that you have access to a large library of TV shows, movies, as well as music services, all from the palm of your hand.

Vizio M series review

This tablet runs a basic version of Android Lollipop with 8GB of storage, powered by a quad-core processor. After logging into my Google account, I had instant access to all my content, including music, videos, and photos - all ready to cast to the display. You also have the option of watching content directly on the tablet’s 720p display, and it’s got a 3.5mm headphone jack built-in if you want to keep the audio to yourself.

The M50-D1 LCD screen features full array local dimming, or FALD. This is important because most television sets in this price range are edge lit, which simply doesn’t allow for the same level of lighting detail and nuance. The 32 active LED zones in this model (64 zones in other M series sizes) definitely contribute to this display’s excellent black-level performance.

Vizio M50-D1 review

I streamed 4K HDR Dolby Vision Netflix shows like Daredevil, and the display performed above my expectations for a set at this price point. The picture quality here is fantastic. VUDU, Amazon Prime, and YouTube all also offer 4K HDR material that you can stream as well.

If you’re looking for something larger than the 50" model mentioned here in this review, Vizio has the M-series available in other sizes as well - 55-, 60-, 65-, 70-, and 80-inch variants.

The main function of a display is to bring video to life before your eyes, and for that simple take, you can get a set at a low price that’ll do the job. What is impressive here is that for $699.99, Vizio has an inexpensive model that will do  so much more - this set dazzles the visual senses like no other at this price - and again, it even includes an Android tablet at that price as well! You really can’t go wrong here. You can pick up the Vizio M50-D1 4K HDR TV now.

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