A Vizio 2016 M-Series Display

Vizio officially announced Wednesday that it is delivering a new firmware update (v2.0.13.13) to its 2016 SmartCast P-Series and M-Series Ultra HD HDR “displays,” providing those models with support for the HDR-10 format metadata shipped to the display by new Ultra HD Blu-ray players.

The update brings support for the HDR-10 format standard that was selected as mandatory by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) as part of the official specifications for Ultra HD Blu-ray player compliance.

Read more about the Vizio P- and M- Series firmware update after the jump:

Vizio originally elected to launch the P- and M-Series models only with support for the rival Dolby Vision HDR format, which is a standard left to the voluntary discretion of Ultra HD Blu-ray player manufacturers for inclusion in their products. To view movies with Dolby Vision HDR, Vizio display owners were limited to streaming specially encoded movies from supporting streaming services like Vudu, Netflix and others.

Support for Dolby Vision is not included in either the Samsung UHD-K8500 or Philips BDP-7501/F7 dedicated Ultra HD Blu-ray players currently available on the market.

Ultra HD Blu-ray players output content at significantly higher bit rates than streaming content for improved picture and sound quality. They also are not subject to buffering or downscaling resolution due to bandwidth constraints.

The release did not include mention of similar support for Vizio’s high-end Reference Series 4K Ultra HD TVs released last year.

High dynamic range (HDR) in either format delivers boosted brightness elements (spectral highlights) in bright objects and areas of a picture, adding and preserving colors while elevating contrast levels that are often not achievable in standard dynamic range. With either HDR format, details in dark black and bright white areas of an image are visible and not crushed or washed out by the changes in light. The result is a picture that appears more dynamic and natural to the eye.

Although the statement specifically called out support for the Samsung and Philips dedicated Ultra HD Blu-ray players, Vizio did not mention if the firmware update supports the new Xbox One S gaming console, which plays 4K Ultra HD movies with high dynamic range.

According to the statement: the company “is continuing to work to further expand support for additional players as they become available in the market.”

Curiously, although the statement was clearly released to announce new support for HDR-10 in the two Vizio display series, the company used the occasion to further promote Dolby Vision over the highlighted HDR format in the upgrade.

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The HDR-10 format was selected by both the BDA and the Ultra HD Alliance in their respective compliance criteria, the latter for “Premium Ultra HD” displays and players. Vizio displays do not carry the Ultra HD Premium certification logo.

According to the statement from Vizio: “HDR-10 is based on the Rec. 2020 color space format, but restricted to a P3 color space and a maximum of 1,000 Nits in a 10-bit format.  Dolby Vision is a theatrical format, featuring the Rec. 2020 color space but capable of offering up to a 12-bit format.  Where the HDR-10 standard is limited, Dolby Vision content is mastered in Rec. 2020 and boasts 4,000 Nits with the potential to expand even further for more finely-tuned dynamic content.”

To get the firmware update, Vizio said 2016 SmartCast P-Series and M-Series users should ensure “the display is connected to the internet. The display will then automatically search for the new firmware update and download it to the display. Once the display has been updated, to enable HDR playback from your HDR-enabled UHD Blu-ray player, open the Vizio SmartCast remote control app, tap `Settings’ and press `Inputs’ then `HDMI Color Subsampling’ and then enable subsampling for the HDMI port the HDR-enabled Blu-ray player is connected to.”

By Greg Tarr


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