Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vizio M801D-A3 80" Razor LED Smart TV w/ Theater 3D


That is my very first hdtv.  A 720p samsung lnr-409d 40" that cost $2700.

It's been replaced by:

vizio m801d 1080p 80" passive 3D for $3700 from costco (payed another $99 for the extra 3 years squaretrade warranty giving me a total of 5 yrs.  This is my first Vizio so I figure it was worth it).


- This thing weighs a ton.  I recommend you pay the extra $35 for white glove especially if there are stairs involved (114 lbs without stand, it's a BIG sheet of glass).
- My view distance is 12 ft.
- The remote is a bit crap and found it lackluster in responsiveness.  Not a big deal because once I programmed it into my logitech harmony 550 remote it worked just fine and significantly better than the original remote.  Just use model M551d-A2R since the m801d actually isn't in the database yet.  The remotes are the same.  I love the harmony 550 which I think is a lot better and more capable than a lot of the newer harmony remotes.  Too bad they don't make them anymore.  They can still be found on ebay though for typically less than $40.
- Came with firmware 1.05.1.0000.  I still have not received a firmware update yet.  That's one thing that sucks about vizio.  There is no manual way to just flash to a newer firmware.  You are at the mercy of vizio whenever they decide to push a new firmware to you is when you will get it.  Doing the service check trick hasn't helped at all in getting a newer firmware earlier.
- Picture quality, lighting, and such seem fine to me.  I started with these great settings found here and tweaked it to my liking from there.  I haven't really noticed much issues with backlight uniformity, flashlighting, clouding, stuck pixels, etc.  Then again I'm not the pickiest person when it comes to these things.  Screen seems to be a semi gloss and very similar to my LG 55LW5600.  It definitely doesn't seem any worse as far as reflectivity goes.
- HDMI ARC (audio return channel) works pretty well with my Yamaha rx-473.  Just make sure you enable it in the receiver and the TV and turn CEC on the TV and use HDMI 1 on the TV.  It works better if the TV turns on before the receiver.  This way you get nice 5.1 from the built in apps like amazon instant video and netflix.  A lot of netflix content that you would expect to be in 5.1 is actually only 2.0 like Hunger Games or Avengers.  These same movies though are in 5.1 on amazon.  Use Heroes on netflix if you want to verify 5.1 is working correctly.  Youtube quality was excellent.  Not sure how much I would use any of the apps since the xbox 360, ps3, and MED600X3D covers everything already.  Here are more tips on setting up HDMI ARC.  In the end I found CEC to be rather annoying when you have a harmony remote.  In the I ended up just turning it all off and went back to using an optical cable.  It's much less hassle and just works.  HDMI ARC and CEC feel gimmicky and half baked/buggy and not quite ready for prime time.  It sits right up there with HDMI ethernet channel in terms of proper implementation and usefulness.
- 3D works nicely with content streamed from the MED600X3D.  One thing it seems to lack is the ability to convert 2D content to 3D which my LG does (and the MED600X3D has this feature too).  Not a big deal since I was never really a big fan of that feature.
- Tried call of duty black ops 2 in 3D on the xbox 360.  It worked well and the 3D looked very good but I can't play like that for more than a match or 2.  Something about panning around quickly all the time makes me sick quick!
- For additional 3D glasses you can get new RealD 3D glasses sealed for a little over $1 each at amazon or ebay.  If you saved them from the theater then those work fine too.  Any circular polarized 3D glasses will work.
- Playing games on this thing is rather awesome.  I played a it bit of cod blops 2 and geometry wars for input lag testing.  It's the one game I can tell instantly if there is input lag since the controls will feel mushy and unresponsive.  On game mode there is little to no lag and gaming is great.  In other modes lag is definitely noticeable.  I can see it getting old having to switch picture modes all the time since everything goes through the receiver and into HDMI on the vizio.  According to this CNET review it seems game mode has 38ms lag vs 130ms in the other modes.  These numbers feel about right to me.  I've finished far cry 3 on xbox 360 and about half way through Uncharted 3 on the ps3.  If you are a gamer this TV will NOT disappoint.
- Furniture wise the TV is almost as wide as our  BDI Avion 8529 (espresso) stand (72").  I ended up having to use my speaker stands for the fronts.  In the back you can see the Ikea PAX wardrobes we recently built.  It holds all the rock band, guitar hero, steering wheels, wii fit, and other gaming related peripherals.  We were going to buy new seating but ended up just keeping the couches we already had and rearranged them to the back.
- One thing I found annoying is the lack of discrete remote codes for certain functions.  Heck, even the input selection isn't discrete (though this post might help).  Not too big of a deal since I only use hdmi input 1 on the TV since all the devices are hooked up through the AV receiver.  Switching picture modes between Standard and Game depending on what I'm doing is a tad more inconvenient.  One of the nice things about the older harmony remotes like the 550 is that they support macros.  Unfortunately they only support 5 steps.  There is a work around though by using the raw learning feature and learning multiple button presses to one remote command.


Now I have 2 buttons that run sequences that lets me easily switch between Standard and Game picture modes.  It works and is very reliable.
- HD Nation also did a review on this line of TVs.
- Currently what I have hooked up to this TV:
Nintendo Wii U
Playstation 3
Xbox 360
Mede8er  MED600X3D for streaming media.
Yamah RX-V473
Def Tech ProCinema 1000

Highly recommended.  So far the family is loving the TV.  We watched some Hobbit in 3D, Wreckit Ralph in 3D, Life of Pi in 3D.  It's a great theater like experience without any of the drawbacks of projection.  If you want an 80" passive 3D this is pretty much your only choice.  I'm glad I waited for this model to be released.

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