If you’ve been hoping to upgrade your home theater and gaming setup, but are overwhelmed by the amount of high-quality TVs and sound systems out there, try the newly released and updated Vizio M-Series LCD TVs and sound bars. They offer excellent performance at a surprisingly affordable price tag: For under a grand, you can get a 50-inch, 4K HDR Smart TV (with all the usual apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple+) and a sound bar that boasts 11 speakers, including two wireless satellite speakers that hook up to a booming 6-inch subwoofer.
The M-Series TVs take 4K clarity to another level with technology that claims to give you over a billion colors—75 percent more than regular 4K TV—boosted brightness for better highlights, and a powerful backlight that works over 30 zones in the screen to balance brights and darks for deeper blacks and enhanced contrast. This line of TVs is also geared toward gamers, with a powerful processor that gives you less than 10ms of lag and up to 60Hz of variable refresh rate that smooths out graphics and gameplay.
The 55-inch TV I tested lived up to the marketing hype and blew away my older Vizio setup—noticeably with color. Gaming on it was also a revelation at the price point, with no stutter or lag when running graphics-intensive games like The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us Part II.
When you pair it with the 5.1.2 M-Series Sound Bar, you’ll be shocked how easy it is to outshine an older stereo receiver or lesser sound bar setup. The new sound system features two dedicated upward-firing speakers to create a dynamic soundscape that uses Dolby Atmos for immersive sound and DTS:X to add dimension to whatever’s being output. Setting it up is a breeze because it’s intimately integrated; it’s truly a plug-and-play system. The wireless sub and satellites are also key since you don’t need to run any unsightly cables all over your living room or depend on already-installed wiring in the walls.
The best part, aside from the quick and painless setup, is that it instantly filled the room with impressive, nuanced sound, putting to shame my old setup (a 20-year-old Onkyo receiver and Pioneer floor speakers). The satellite speakers and sub worked well together, offering unobtrusive rumbles that enhanced the whole a/v experience without being overwhelming.
Those looking for a simple, budget-friendly way to transform a home theater and gaming station into a modern, mind-blowing experience can’t do much better than the newly updated M-Series line from Vizio.
[From $440 for TV, $500 for Sound Bar; vizio.com]