Quick Review: Vizio M422i Television

So, I’ve had the same TV for around 6 years now, and Olevia (yup, off brand) 37″ HDTV, which still works, but I am getting some dark spots on the screen and when I turn it on, the speakers often go nuts with static for a couple minutes. It still works well, but it was time to upgrade. The parents hooked my up with $500 bucks towards a new set, and, after doing a lot of research, I decided on the Vizio M422i-b1, and purchased it at Best Buy. The “b” designation is important, since that makes it a 2014 model.

What I was looking for was a TV that was at least 40 inches, preferably bigger. The way the living room is laid out, the TV sits up over the fireplace, and you are about 12 feet away. I wanted at least a 120hz refresh rate. I preferred built in WiFi, though smart apps were not a big deal, as I have them on my Blue Ray player. Had to have at least 2 HDMI inputs. I also wanted great sound.

What I got with the Vizio was 240hz refresh rate, and, let me tell you, the screen is extremely clear. Perhaps too clear? Some people get upset over what is called the soap opera effect, but, so far, I mostly love it. I watch a lot of news, sports, and shows on stations like Food Channel, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Smithsonian, Destination America, and similar channels. There are very few regular TV programs that I watch. I lost interest in Haven. I’ll watch the last (and shortened) season of Continuum when it comes back. Defiance when it returns. Suits. Graceland. That’s it. And the occasional special.

Now, with said soap opera effect, it really soups up movies and some shows, perhaps a bit too much at times. Watching Predator, it might have been smoothed a bit too much. It almost makes movies and some shows feel like they are 3D. Watching The Hobbit, with it’s higher frame rate, was intense. I finally got around to watching SyFy’s Ascension, and, if you saw it, the part near the end where the lady received a bullet through the eye? Holy cow, the resolution made it intense! I’ll play around with the video settings to reduce some of the motion smoothing, you can create several custom settings which are easily switched.

For sports, the 240hz is incredible. I’ve watched several hockey and football games, and have been totally impressed. This is great for me, because, with the TV so far away, it helps my eyes. As we get older, it gets more difficult to refocus, and being that I look at computers, my smartphone, my tablet, and read a lot on my Kindle, looking up and back can be a pain. At the end of the day my eyes would often get tired and make writing on the TV blurry. Not now.

The blacks are excellent, and it has 14 active LED zones, excellent for a 42″ size TV. There are 4 HDMI inputs, 2 more than I actually need, and one of them also allows audio out. Of course, there are few soundbars/speaker systems that use HDMI in. It also has an optical audio output, as well as a regular audio output.

Things that are not so great are the audio and the station switching. When changing channels, if the station is a different resolution (480, 720, 1080), there is a slight lag where the screen goes dark for a second or two, which did not happen on my Olevia, but I do remember that happening on my much older Samsung tube HD TV. And did happen on my Dad’s older TV.

The sound quality is my only real complaint. It’s not good, especially with the HDMI cables. Strangely, sound is slightly better and louder using component cables. Anyhow, the sound is rather thin and blunted, and sometimes music can overpower speech. I have a pair of computer speakers hooked up, hasn’t helped that much. I could use my stereo, but I do not want to use yet another remote, as well as leaving it on during the entire time the TV is on. One thing about the old Olevia, it had dual 20 watt speakers, and sound incredible. I rarely ever considered turning the stereo on for movies or anything else. I’ll probably invest in a soundbar or something. Reviews of other TV’s, including much more expensive ones, are not much better for sound quality. I suspect makers want people to spend more on audio systems.

I have till the 15th to make up my mind. I’ve looked at reviews of other TV’s that I’m will to spend the money on, and while some have better sound, their video is not that great. For LG’s, supposed to have great sound, but the screens are said to have issues with blacks and with reflections. There two Samsungs which would fit the bill, except they would be 60hz. I could live with that, but, boyo, I love the resolution and clarity.

A couple minor quibbles, there is only one button on the TV itself, the power on/off, and it is on the back left on the corner. Not a big deal, I was just used to walking up to the TV and pressing the power on button, which was on the front right, and the cable box button, with the box sitting immediately to the right of the TV.

The remote is rather hard to see in low light conditions, being a black remote with black buttons with very light white letters/number/symbols. That said, there are several dedicated buttons on it, one being the input, making it easy to switch between blue ray and TV. Also, a button for the Smart Apps. It is easy to access the menu, and for those with Amazon and Netflix, dedicated buttons. Also, one for iHeart radio. Only downside is that you cannot login to iHeart like with smartphones and tablets. I won’t use it off the TV that much. The remote does have a full QWERTY keyboard on the backside, which does light up. Nice for entering search terms, user names, etc.

Many of the apps pop up in a small box on the left, so you can see them even while watching TV. For instance, there is a an AccuWeather app, I can easily launch it, see the current weather, forecast, and the radar. Though the radar is static, not active.

There is no screen mirroring nor DLNA, but there is the ability to send programming for Youtube and Netflix from a smartphone/tablet to the TV. But, really, I barely use the DLNA feature, available on my blue-ray player.

Anyhow, for a budget TV, it is an incredible value, hence being a big seller at WalMart and Best Buy. You can read a more technical review at CNET, as well as seeing more details at Amazon. Customer reviews are generally pretty darned good. The only really down side is the audio quality.

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