Vizio Unveils 2016 P-Series UHD Displays With SmartCast
Vizio revealed Tuesday the next installment of its step-up P-Series 4K Ultra HD displays with support for two high dynamic range (HDR) formats, full-array LED backlighting and a new SmartCast-enabled streaming platform.
The “entertainment” monitors will also offer either 126 or 128 zones of local dimming.
Vizio said the new Vizio SmartCast streaming ecosystem in the displays swaps out a traditional smart TV platform and tuners (making these monitors instead of TV sets) to let users stream content from SmartCast and Google Cast connected tablets, phones and PCs. The SmartCast system will also work across supporting sound bars and standalone speakers coming this summer, Vizio said.
The system works much as a TV connected to a Google ChromeCast device would, but without the need of another out-boarded device. A supporting Android Lollipop tablet with SmartCast app installed is included as the displays’ remote.
The series, which is available on Vizio.com starting today and will ship to other retailers next week, includes: the 50-, 55-, 65- and 75-inch screen sizes, with suggested retail prices ranging from $999.99 to $3,799.99.
Read more on the 2016 Vizio P-Series displays after the jump:
Like the previously launched Reference Series, the new P-Series 4K UHD displays will be equipped to accept and display Dolby Vision HDR metadata from specially produced 4K Dolby Vision streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray content. Further, Vizio said a firmware update will be provided this summer to enable the monitors to accept and display HDR10 metadata as well, so that like some of LG’s and Philip’s new 2016 4K UHD TVs, Vizio P-Series displays will present both available HDR formats available today.
The new P-Series models will include: four HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2,2 inputs, plus one additional HDMI that handles 4k/60p at 4:2:0, although it is listed as HDMI 1.4, Vizio told us. The HDMI 2.0a inputs will allow the Vizio displays to connect to new Ultra HD Blu-ray players to stream 4K with HDR10 metadata, something earlier Vizio 4K UHDTVs have lacked.
Vizio said it has chosen to debut Vizio SmartCast on its Premiun (P-Series) Ultra HD HDR displays, to set the table for other fully integrated Google Cast-enabled devices. The P-Series models will ship with an included Android Tablet Remote, pre-installed with the Vizio SmartCast Google Cast-enabled app that allows users to cast music, videos and other entertainment from favorite apps using smartphones or tablets to TVs and speakers.
A Vizio spokesman told us that Vizio SmartCast will support 4K streams from Netflix, YouTube, Vudu and UltraFlix, plus Vudu 4K content with Dolby Vision HDR, and Netflix HDR, when available.
Of course, the P-Series models will also stream HD 1080p and lower resolution content from many of those same services. However, Amazon Instant video is not supported by Google Cast, requiring the use of another outboard media adapter, like a Roku 4 or Fire TV to access the service, but neither of those supports HDR streaming.
The included 6-inch Android Tablet Remote has 1080p screen resolution (pictured at top). Other features in the supplied tablet include, a V8 octa-core processor, stereo speakers, 16GB of storage and the ability to be used as a free-functioning tablet in addition to a remote control. Vizio supplies a charging dock.
Users are able to navigate content searches on the tablet menu without the need to look at a menu on the big screen from across a room.
Vizio said its new SmartCast app will transform any mobile device screen into a remote control. The app lets users search and browse content for various criteria, starting with genre, across multiple apps, and then select the app or source providing the selected content.
The new P-Series models feature many of the same picture quality benefits that first appeared in Vizio’s high-end Reference Series 4K UHD HDR TV models last year.
In addition to HDR, the P-series models will support what Vizio calls “Ultra Color Spectrum,” which is its name for “a wider color gamut” that produces more color shades and hence more accurate color representation from newly produced Wide Color Gamut content. The Vizio models will not carry the UHD Alliance’s “Ultra HD Premium” certification and logo. The color gamut is said to be around 96 percent of the P3 color space and 72 percent of the Rec. 2020 color gamut. Peak luminance is said to be about 600 nits and the LCD panels are said to meet the UHD Alliance’s 10-bit minimum.
Vizio continues to be one of the only manufacturers supporting a broad assortment of models with full-array LED backlighting. The 50- and 55-inch models both feature 126 zones of LED back lighting with local dimming while the 65- and 75-inch models support up to 128 zones.
Full-array back lighting generally produces deeper black levels, greater contrast ratios and better control of things like HDR by adjusting for brightness and dimming at the light source. In many applications, full array back lighting produces richer colors, and the higher the number of local dimming zones, the better the performance.
The three largest models feature 240Hz “effective refresh rates” (12oHz native refresh) and the 50-inch model has a 120Hz “effective refresh rate” (this generally means 60Hz native refresh). Higher native refresh rates generally produce the least amount of motion blur and other motion-related artifacts.
Note: Frequently, HD Guru readers have commented that Vizio TVs they have purchased in the past have been prone to failures for a variety of reasons. The product warranty period is one year, and readers have said Vizio service support has typically not offered repairs after the warranty period. Instead some representatives have suggested the customer purchase a refurbished model at a discounted rate. HD Guru recommends its readers take this into consideration when shopping for a TV brand or considering the additional purchase of a reasonably priced extended warranty, such as a Square Trade warranty from Costco.
The 2016 Vizio P-Series models are available at participating retailers and include the following:
Vizio SmartCast 50-Inch P-Series Ultra HD HDR Full Array LED Monitor (P50-C1) and VA panel, $999.99 suggested retail.
Vizio SmartCast 55-Inch P-Series Ultra HD HDR Full Array LED Monitor (P55-C1) and IPS panel, $1,299.99 suggested retail.
Vizio SmartCast 65-Inch P-Series Ultra HD HDR Full Array LED Monitor (P65-C1) and VA panel, $1,999.99 suggested retail.
Vizio SmartCast 75-Inch P-Series Ultra HD HDR Full Array LED Monitor (P75-C1) and VA panel, $3,799.99 suggested retail.
By Greg Tarr
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