Out of the box the TV is set to the Standard picture mode and looks blue and murky. VIZIO’s calibrated daytime preset picture mode on the other hand is too warm and should be calibrated to match the room that it’s in for best results. VIZIO’s local dimming Active LED function can be turned on or off by the user. The “off” setting produces the brightest picture, but it’s inferior to the deep black levels that the TV delivers with the feature turned on. The TV exhibited outstanding performance after calibration with very little grayscale error. I started by watching the Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release of Rapture (1965), a disturbing psychological film, in black and white, set in France. Grayscale looked correct throughout the full video range, without any noticeable colour shifts from banding. Colours measured fairly close to the BT.709 spec with the exception of the most saturated points that were a little more vibrant than they should be. I’m astounded that VIZIO is able to produce such an accurate picture at this price point.
The M65-C1 has the capability of producing a bright picture to compete with sunlight, a common trait of LCD displays. With the local dimming feature turned on, the picture was superior compared to my four year old Panasonic plasma which retailed for about the same price for a smaller screen. The VIZIO easily beat out the plasma with its contrast when watching Blu-rays of the original Star Wars Trilogy. The starships against the black background of space have always been a great visual indication of a TV’s black level performance and the M65-C1 easily passed this test. The image didn’t have the noisy picture of my plasma and its colours were far more accurate than what LCD TVs of just a few years ago were capable of.
The highlight of the M65-C1 however is its performance with 4K source material. While 4K Blu-ray players and discs aren’t available just yet (they’re coming in early 2016), there are a few online services that stream 4K content. At the top of VIZIO’s remote are direct access buttons to streaming services from Amazon Prime, Netflix and M-GO. All three streaming services’ 4K content is built around either pay per view (M-GO), monthly access to all content (Netflix), or a mix of both (Amazon). Each service requires a minimum internet connection speed to get 4K working smoothly. Netflix demands the highest download speeds (a minimum of 25MBPS) and a hardwired internet connection to the TV for best results. I first watched Marco Polo since I heard great things about this story based on Marco Polo’s written adventures. Truth or lie? His adventures speak for themselves in full 4K and look incredibly detailed as we are brought back to the 14th century of greed, betrayal, and sexual intrigue. There was hyper realism with native 4K material. The texture of clothing, the details on the sets, and the visual effects all came through with exceptional clarity. I can’t imagine watching this series in 1080p after witnessing it in 4K. I felt the same with episodes from the hugely popular series Breaking Bad, and the half-real, half-computer generated film Smurfs 2. Even though these 4K images are quite compressed and offer a low bitrate (to allow them to be streamed), the images are still very good and the quality will only get better when 4K Blu-ray arrive.
The up-conversion of 1080p material to 2160p looked great on this set. Ghost lines along edges of buildings and landscapes were absent, an artefact I’ve seen in other 4K TVs. Motion resolution using test patterns showed highly detailed images as they moved across the screen. I don’t always watch polished up “reference” Hollywood films because the overuse of computer graphics looks a little fake to me. Since I reviewed this TV in and around Halloween, I sunk my teeth into some ‘70s and ‘80s horror by watching Scream Factory’s Blu-ray releases of Goulies 1 & 2, The Vampire Lovers, and Anchor Bay’s Hellraiser. By staying true to the Blu-rays, the M65-C1 proved that you can enjoy even the most challenging films on this TV. The experience reminded me of watching late night films in the local theater, and I became so immersed that I forgot I was watching TV. Skin tones looked very natural, as did the rest of the colours, with just the right amount of saturation. I did not spot any noisy processing and the 4K pixel grid was hardly noticeable at my 7 foot sitting distance.
As with any other TV that I’ve reviewed in the past, I did spot a few shortcomings with the M65-C1. This is an LCD panel and so image quality will decrease (the picture will look slightly washed out) when viewed from the side, or if the TV is mounted higher than eye level. Also, LCD is a transmissive display technology which means that light travels through the LCD panel to create an image and as a result there’s always some light leakage that reaches your eyes, even when local dimming is employed as with this VIZIO. This creates an artefact called haloing because it creates a light halo around bright objects within the adjoining dark backgrounds. The amount of haloing is determined by the location of the bright items on the screen relative to VIZIO’s 32 LED zones. This artefract can be reduced by utilizing more LED zones as is done with VIZIO’s P-Series and Reference Series TVs. Nevertheless, the fact that VIZIO offers 32 LED zones in a TV at this price point is a great achievement.
In contrast to other TV manufacturers who continue to boast about new features every year, many of which most consumers don’t need or use, VIZIO is clearly focused on offering a great picture performance at a price that’s friendly to just about every size of wallet. A 65” 4K TV like this M65-C1 is a remarkable achievement and should definitely be on your shortlist if you’re shopping for a 4K TV. It impressed me and I’m sure it will impress you as well.
VIZIO M-Series 65-Inch LED-backlit LCD TV (Model M65-C1)
Price: $2,199 CAD