Vizio might be a company best known for value—you can score one of its HDTVs for a very nice price at Costco or Walmart—but at CES 2014 the company was showing off new UHDTVs with tech-forward features that rivaled anything else on display in other TV makers’ booths.

 Reference Series UHDTVs

The highlight of Vizio’s off-site exhibit was its new Reference Series UHDTV line, which will arrive in 65- and 120-inch screen sizes (pricing and availability TBD). What’s notable about the Reference Series sets is that they are capable of High Dynamic Range display via an 800-nit backlight (about twice the brightness of regular LED-lit LCDs) with 384-zone full-array local dimming. They also have a 10-bit panel and Active Pixel Tuning for “intelligent luminance level adjustment.”

The company also seized upon the opportunity provided by CES to demo Dolby Vision content, showing a 65-inch Reference Series set side-by-side with a same-size Samsung UHDTV. While it’s true that such trade-show comparisons are generally unreliable, there was something special going on with the Vizio model: highlights displayed a wide range of detail, making the image “pop” in a way that left the Samsung looking flat in comparison.

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Vizio’s 65-inch Reference Series model

The 120-inch Reference Series UHDTV also looked great in Vizio’s display, though I imagine it will end up priced at a level that many will find way too expensive (don’t go looking for it at Walmart). Along with HDR capability, the Reference Series’ feature set will include HDMI 2.0 inputs, HEVC decoding, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Quad core GPU/Dual core CPU and Vizio Internet Apps Plus.


Vizio’s P Series UHDTV 

P Series UHDTVs

Vizio’s main Ultra HDTV line for 2014 is the P Series. These sets also looked impressive in the Vizio booth screening 4K content from a Redray 4K player. P Series sets will ship in 50-, 55-, 60-, 65-, and 70-inch screen sizes. Details on pricing and availability hasn’t yet been announced, but Vizio’s specs state that they will have many of the same features found in the Reference Series, the main exceptions being no HDR and a full-array LED backlight topping out at 64 local-dimming zones. P Series models will also ship with a Wi-Fi Direct universal remote control.


Vizio’s M Series (above) and E Series (below) HDTVs

M and E Series HDTVs

Vizio also showed off its regular M and E Series HDTVs at CES. The M Series will be available in 32- to 80-inch screen sizes priced from $330 to $3300. Features include a full-array LED backlight with local dimming (32 zones), Active Pixel Tuning, an ultra-narrow 8 mm bezel and Vizio Internet Apps Plus. As for the E Series, screen sizes range from 23- to 70-inches and prices from $160 to $1600. Astonishingly for such a low-priced line,  E Series models have a full-array LED backlight with local dimming (16 zones). Vizio’s E Series is available now, while availability for the M Series is TBD.


—Al Griffin/ Email
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