Home Theater
By Scott Wilkinson
February 14, 2012

Price: $2,200 At A Glance: Excellent 2D and 3D performance • Inexpensive, lightweight, passive 3D glasses • Poor ergonomics

When Tom Norton reviewed the 65-inch Vizio XVT3D650SV 3D LED-edgelit LCD TV last year (see review here), he found it to be an excellent performer in most respects. However, its list price of $3,700 kept many potential buyers away—and, along with the few problems he did find, kept him from bestowing HT's Top Picks designation.

Fast forward a year. Vizio has now added a virtually identical set to its midrange M series, the M3D650SV, with a dramatically reduced list price of $2,200 and a street price likely to be well under two grand. If it performs as well as its progenitor—and improves on the few shortcomings—it could be a slam dunk for those who want a bigger-than-most 3D flat panel that won't break the bank.

At 65 inches diagonally, the M3D650SV's screen is larger than most flat panels these days, which is especially important for 3D. Speaking of which, all Vizio 3DTVs use the passive approach, with passive-polarized glasses that are much lighter and less expensive than active-shutter glasses and require no batteries. The M3D650SV comes with four pairs of glasses, and additional pairs are $25 each or $45 for a 2-pack. You can also use the Vizio glasses at any RealD 3D movie in a commercial cinema, but not Imax 3D.

How does passive 3D work? The TV's screen includes a layer that polarizes alternating horizontal lines, so the left eye sees every other line while the right eye sees the lines that the left eye doesn't. This presents only 540 lines to each eye, but Vizio and others—including DisplayMate, an independent video-consulting firm—claim that the brain fuses the two images together into a single, 3D image with all 1080 lines.

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