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Hey AVS, I've been lurking these forums for a while for tips and calibration settings but I've never had reason to post until now because I'm at wit's end and need some direct advice. I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place for this.

I was always satisfied more with getting a good deal on a TV as opposed to caring about the utmost picture quality, until I sold my Sanyo 39" LED (which served me well for a year and a half) to a friend in order to upgrade. That's when I started going crazy and became obsessed (coincidentally, right after I started browsing these forums :mad: )

Anyways, TV #1 . I upgraded to a Vizio E420i-b2 for the perceived improvement in picture quality as well as smart features. It cost all of $350 at Walmart so I was hooked. Loved the TV after calibrating it, but then one day I noticed literally 3 dead pixels near the center of the screen off to the right slightly as I was playing Forza Horizon 2. That slight imperfection bugged me to the point that I couldn't focus on my games any more. Returned the TV.

TV #2 . There were no more E420i-b2s at any stores in the area so I went for a long shot and got a Hisense H50G5 for $500. The TV was actually pretty good except it had a considerably large lighter band on each side of the TV and the input lag was horrendous, as well as the built-in Netflix quality being really bad for some reason. Back it went.

TV #3 . Found a Vizio E480i-b2 at another Walmart in the area for the same price as the Hisense, direct exchange. Got that home and all was fine for a bit, except for three problems. 1. The motion clarity was terrible. 2. I had grown to like the "soap opera effect" available on the Hisense. 3. Playing games like Forza and GTA V (my two most played games) there was a significant amount of dark vertical banding visible towards the top of the screen. These games are basically constantly showing a sky scene that pans back and forth, so needless to say the banding was something I couldn't ignore. Call me picky, though I'm sure most of you would identify with me here. Back it went.

TV #4 . I decided to go all out and bought a Vizio P502ui-b1e for $700. Mind you this is literally twice what I set out to pay for a TV but I just wanted to be happy with my purchase. Got it home, all was well and then 10 minutes into watching a movie on Netflix the entire LCD panel went black. Nothing showed up on the TV besides the active LED zones, which would light up where the menus and such were supposed to be on the otherwise black screen. Back it went.

TV #5 . Exchanged it for another P502ui-b1e, and immediately after hooking it up there were what I perceived to be significant banding problems. It seemed like the entire TV was suffering from banding on any type of panning shots on a solid background, regardless of color. For reference, the banding I saw on the lowly e480i-b2 was limited to only gray/blue sky shots, and only towards the top of the screen, while the issues with the P seem to affect the entire screen (though still more noticeable at the edges). In addition there seems to be one lighter band towards the right edge of the screen that shows up on everything except dark scenes.

IMG_20150320_224925335 by rdubya146, on Flickr

IMG_20150320_225248754_HDR by rdubya146, on Flickr

Does this actually look bad to anyone, or am I just psyching myself out the more and more I look for these issues? I've never noticed any significant uniformity problems like these on the 3 TVs I've had previously, and I'm usually extremely perceptive to this kind of stuff. I don't think being blissfully unaware before is realistic considering how badly it bothers me now and how quickly I picked up on it with the 48" Vizio.

Also, I feel like this specific P series, being a Walmart exclusive item and also sporting the lesser 60hz native panel, is more prone to QC issues and that I might be better off going with the M492i-b2 that comes with the 120hz IPS panel. It's cheaper, just slightly, but it's also held its value while that P502ui-b1e has plummeted from $1000 to $700 over the past couple months. I really don't care THAT much about the black levels, though they are insanely good on this P-series, because at the end of the day screen uniformity is absolutely more of a priority. The only other thing that will suck is getting used to the ~40ms of lag on the M series, vs the ~19 on the P.

So, all that being said...should I just be happy with what I have, should I exchange for another P502ui-b1e, or should I return it in favor of the M492i-b2. OR should I ditch Vizio altogether and go with something else? (I'm not spending any more money though, as I've already doubled my budget in search of a solution.)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Took a video, I might be biased because I knew where to look but short of obvious catastrophic screen defects I don't see many if any videos showing banding artifacts of this caliber on YouTube. This TV is definitely going back.

 

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TV #6 : M492i-b2. Just got it home. Speakers are absolutely horrendous and tinny. Loud buzzing noise coming from panel on certain picture modes/settings. DSE on par with the P series but the backlight structure definitely isn't as visible. Native 120hz panel or not, I don't feel the motion clarity is any better than the 60hz P series. I also notice no "soap opera effect" (which I actually like) regardless of what setting it's on. Deal breaker though is that the entire screen is simply not attached to the edge of the panel. You can see the LEDs on the edge of the screen poking through and if you shake the TV the screen rattles around visibly and audibly in the housing. Picture isn't suffering as a result, the colors are actually pretty decent right out of the box but I fear for the reliability of this TV long-term, this is clearly a major defect. I'm getting pretty fed up at this point.

IMG_20150321_041619110 by rdubya146, on Flickr
 

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Your p series looked about like mine but I am ok with it. I honestly don't notice the soap opera effect either but others sure do. I guess I am used to the way my other TVs really change the pic.

Definitely looks like a pretty bad m series though...wow. That is not good.
 

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Your p series looked about like mine but I am ok with it. I honestly don't notice the soap opera effect either but others sure do. I guess I am used to the way my other TVs really change the pic.

Definitely looks like a pretty bad m series though...wow. That is not good.
Yep, definitely caught me off-guard when I moved the TV around and heard the panel banging against the housing. I thought the Walmart I bought the original P at was out of them but it turns out they actually do have a few more of them in stock, so I'm just going to return this M later today and grab another P. At that point I'm done as long as the damn thing turns on and works. The perfect TV just does not exist.
 

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TV #7 . Returned my faulty M492i-b2 and picked up another P502ui-b1e. Got it home, opened the box and it was the one I returned previously. :mad: They literally just taped up the box and put it back on the shelf for full price. I know it was mine because none of the plastic wrap was in place, the cables and screws, although present, were just rolling around loosely in the box, there were no batteries for the remote and the remote had fingerprints all over it. That's just terrible business practice. I was mad enough getting it myself, but as a customer if I would have spent $700 and gotten a used TV I would have flipped. Back it went. They offered to give me 10% off when I brought it back but I opted for a refund and went to a different store.

TV #8 . P502ui-b1e. This store, although still a Walmart location, has a much better reputation than the one I've been going to, and I finally lucked out. Got this one home and it's absolutely gorgeous. Still has some visible LED structure but it's just an inevitability with this kind of screen structure. Unlike my last P, I can only notice it if I'm really focusing on it during panning scenes and it's not terribly invasive by any means. The important part though is that there's no lighter banding visible like there was on my previous model and NO DSE that I can see. Finally got a winner. :eek:
 
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