Remember when Vizio promised to make an Ultra HD TV something regular people could actually afford when they unveiled a model in January that cost less than $1,000? That’s finally happening with the launch of the company’s P-Series of sets.
To be clear, there are Ultra HD or 4K TVs that cost less than Vizio’s 50-inch model, but you’d be hard-preseed to recognize the brands, and they may be lacking in cruicial hardware.
Vizio calls its UHD sets “P” for performance, and they range in size from 50 to 70 inches, at 5-inch increments. The company says it spent a lot of effort making the sets as user-friendly and future-proof as possible.
Besides having a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 (technically different from the cinematic 4K format, which is 4,046 x 2,160), the TVs are equipped with HDMI 2.0 inputs, which can accept 4K/UHD signals at 60 frames per second. They also support HDCP 2.2 (meaning they’ll play copyrighted content) and include 802.11ac Wi-Fi for getting those 4K streams from Netflix, YouTube and (soon) UltraFlix.
But in the 4K world, that’s really table stakes. What Vizio says it’s really gotten right with these TVs is the upscaling. What Vizio says it’s really gotten right with these TVs is the upscaling. Realistically, when you buy a 4K set today, you’ll be watching sub-4K content on it more than 90% of the time. Vizio says its upscaling engine, powered by a quad-core GPU, will ensure your DVDs and Blu-rays look great.
To my eyes, the 4K on Vizio’s TVs looked great at a Tuesday evening demo in NYC, with great color and incredible contrast right out of the box. The TVs unfortunately default to “medium” picture smoothing, which can make film material look like video, but a quick adjustment in the “advanced” picture settings fixed this.
The most exciting thing about Vizio’s push into Ultra HD is that it’s a key part of taking the format mainstream. The 50-incher starts at $999, but the 70-inch model is $2,500 — not bad, as 4K/UHD goes.
Vizio is a go-to brand for many consumers thanks to its dedication to selling decent TVs at the lowest possible price. If you want to go 4K and thought it was too pricey, you just lost that excuse.