Originally Posted by MacdaddyPS
Yet one can go into Sam's Club and buy a brand spankin' new 553!
Things that make u go Hmmmmm........
My opinion, for what it's worth, is fairly similar to what another poster said several comments earlier. Let me expand on it a little bit.
The 553 got the Editor's Choice award for LCD sets from CNET last year, which is a big deal. This means that, essentially, if CNET wanted to buy a LCD set, the 553 is the one they'd buy. CNET didn't review the 554, except to say it was similar to the 553 but for for the 3D, and it was a little faster but that probably wouldn't be noticable. They didn't mention the clearer screen.
Then there were the Consumer Reports ratings. They still show the 553 as their top-rated LCD TV. This really does make a market for a TV, and the 553 gets a lot of mileage out of it.
Because of these things, the 553 is still a best-seller and Vizio can still sell a ton of them, and so continues to make and sell them.
The 554, however, as I said, wasn't specifically reviewed by CNET, and because of its mediocre 3D performance, it finishes in the middle of the pack in the Consumer Reports ratings for 3D sets (3D sets are a separate rating category with Consumer Reports). Other than the 3D performance, Consumer's test results for the 554 are identical to their results for the 553. In any case, due to these factors, continued production by Vizio of the 554 wasn't justified.
Those of us who own the 554 and who know the background, know that the 554 has at least as good 2D performance as the 553, and most likely, slightly better. It has a faster refresh rate, and the clearer screen likely gives it a bit better contrast. And, at least in 2010 and early 2011, based on AVS Forum comments, the 554 appeared to be significantly more reliable than the 553.
Bottom line is that, although the 553 continues in production for the reasons stated, the 554 was a better buy, particularly if 3D performance was way down on a person's list of features. Personally, I have owned my 554 for almost a year, trouble-free, and have yet to even try 3D. Like most folks, I bought the 554 for its 2D performance, and I know that in that category it's even slightly better than the top-rated 553, which puts it at the top of the pack.