When is a TV not a TV? When it’s an Ultra HD Home Theater Display. With the new M series, Vizio has chosen to shake up conventional expectations of what a TV should be and should do. One key change is that each M series set lacks a tuner to receive over-the-air digital TV broadcasts—hence, the company’s use of the term Home Theater Display. Another change is that Vizio has scrapped the typical full-featured IR remote control and replaced it with an Android tablet. Future-savvy or future shock? Read on and find out.
Vizio’s changes might seem random to some, but they actually make sense. With the current ATSC 1.0 digital broadcasting system scheduled for an overhaul to version 3.0 in early 2017, why saddle 2016 sets with a soon-to-be-obsolete digital tuner that few people use anyway? (It has been speculated that the ATSC 3.0 digital tuner may take the form of a dongle that will plug into a TV’s USB port, and in any event the majority of viewers still use pay TV service with a cable or satellite box.) Also, with streaming services supplanting conventional cable and satellite TV for many viewers (myself included), why not give users a high-tech device with which to organize and control their media-streaming universe?
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