By Lincoln Spector
July 30, 2012
Priced at around $900 (estimated street price as of July 18, 2012), the 47-inch, 240Hz Vizio M3D470KD edge-lit LED HDTV set displays remarkably strong images, with vivid colors and accurate skin tones. Its keyboard-equipped remote control makes entering a Wi-Fi password or a Netflix search a breeze. The set has some notable drawbacks—its built-in speakers are subpar, and if you want to enjoy your own media files, you'll find the M3D470KD limited—but those shortcomings are forgivable for the price.
Lab Tests: Picture, Sound, and Energy Consumption
Vizio M3D470KD 47-inch HDTVThe five judges in the PCWorld Labs’ image-quality tests awarded the M3D470KD high marks in almost every test involving 2D and 3D images, and we gave it slightly better grades for 3D.
One judge in particular noted the TV's sharp details and accurate colors. Moving-camera shots from the Blu-ray discs of Mission: Impossible III (chapter 7) and The Dark Knight (chapter 9) showed only a little of the distortion that marred most other sets in the test batch.
With this set, I tended to be the curmudgeon of the jury. While I gave it good marks overall, I noted some troubling softness, especially in our Wheel of Fortune clip. But I also noted a very wide range of viewing angles, which is notable for an LED set.
The M3D470KD can't convert 2D images to 3D, as many other sets can. Whether you consider this a major problem depends on your taste. Personally, I don't, as I seldom find such conversion convincing, and I rarely find myself wanting to watch a 2D film in faux 3D.
Unfortunately, the M3D470KD isn't as kind to your ears as it is to your eyes. We heard noticeable distortion at a comfortable volume, and the ill effects got much worse when I turned the volume up to 100 percent (which isn't all that loud on this set). The speakers had major problems with a sudden increase in volume in Phantom of the Opera (2004 version, chapter 2). First, the music didn't get as loud as it should have. Then, it dropped in volume and subsequently rose again to the louder level. The imitation surround sound offered little surround feel.
Generally, at this point in an HDTV review, I tell readers that if they want to properly experience today's movie soundtracks, they should invest in a separate surround system. With the M3D470KD, that advice is all the more important.
However, you have another, much less expensive way to bypass the M3D470KD's speakers, albeit an antisocial one: You can plug headphones into this TV, thanks to a side-mounted 3.5mm headphone jack.
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