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VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR Display Review

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VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 4K UHD HDR Display Review

By Olin Coles

Manufacturer: VIZIO, Inc.
Product Name: 2017 SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD HDR XLED Plus Display
Model Number: M50-E1
UPC: 845226014567
Price As Tested: $548 (Amazon | Newegg)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by VIZIO.

Not all that long ago, high definition 1080p image resolution was heralded as the biggest entertainment improvement since the DVD. Technology continued to tick ahead and, before Blu-ray ever truly became a household standard, ultra high-definition 4K (2160p) displays arrived on scene, and later High Dynamic Range. With Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming video content now offered in Ultra HD, it makes sense to upgrade. In this article for Benchmark Reviews, we test the 50″ VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD HDR home theater display with Google Chromecast built-in.

If you’ve followed with the progression, standard definition cathode ray tube analog televisions displayed the equivalent of 0.31 megapixels, compared to 0.92 MP for early 720p HD display technology. Later panels produced full high-definition 1080p for 2.1 megapixels, making digital displays the industry standard. Ultra High-Definition panels later offered 8.3 megapixels, and most recently, 4K displays with better backlighting and deeper black level performance have added High Dynamic Range. Paired together, 4K UHD and HDR have set a new standard.

Simultaneously, the means of media delivery has also evolved. VHS cassette tape media was typically paired to CRT televisions, delivering up to 0.16 megapixels. DVD disc players eventually replaced tape, and offered 0.35 megapixels to better match the capabilities of late CRT technology. Blu-ray discs pushed demand for HD 1080p displays, while streaming 4K sources such as Netflix and the latest Ultra HD Blu-ray technology now deliver media at 3840×2160 (2160p) resolution. This is where the benefits of High Dynamic Range shine, via Dolby Vision.

VIZIO SmartCast M50-E1 UHD Display Front

Why Dolby Vision?

(Feature description provided by VIZIO.)

Today’s cameras capture a wide dynamic range of light and color. However, SDR TV delivery standards limit the range of contrast and colors that can be broadcast, streamed, or distributed on Blu-ray Disc. Because of these standards, certain colors or brightness in an image are discarded in the production process to “fit” the delivery method. The current SDR standards limit maximum brightness to approximately 100 nits (more formally known as candelas per square meter or cd/m²) and minimum brightness to approximately 0.01 nit (cd/m²), while also limiting the color gamut that can be displayed to the Rec. 709 standard. In order to adhere to this standard, all content that is distributed is graded and prepared on displays that exhibit the Rec. 709 color gamut and dynamic range. Consequently, this limits the artistic intent to the grading range.

Dolby Vision allows content creators to maintain more contrast and colors by providing technology that allows them not only to see in postproduction what the camera has captured but also to allow for transmission of HDR content, regardless of HD or 4K resolution. Furthermore, every Dolby Vision enabled TV has been carefully calibrated by the manufacturer and Dolby engineers. The result is that the content is displayed as the creator intended, supporting a peak brightness up to 10,000 nits and a color gamut up to the Rec. 2020 standard.

SmartCast M50-E1 Display Features & Specifications

(Specifications provided by VIZIO. SmartCast Product Page.)

  • Class Size: 50 Inch
  • Screen Size: 49.50” (Diagonally Measured)
  • Panel Type: VA
  • Smart Platform: VIZIO SmartCast with Chromecast built-in
  • High Dynamic Range: XHDR Plus – Dolby Vision / HDR10 Support
  • Wide Color Gamut: Ultra Color Spectrum
  • Resolution: Ultra HD 3840×2160 (4K 2160p)
  • UHD Upscale Engine: Spatial Scaling Engine
  • Display Processor: 8-Core Performance
  • Backlight Type: XLED Plus
  • Black Level Performance: Xtreme Black Engine Plus
  • Local Dimming Zones: 32
  • Clear Action: 360
  • Built-in Wi-Fi: 802.11ac Dual Band
  • Bluetooth: 4.1 LE


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