Vizio’s Brilliant, Affordable HDR Sets Come With Their Own Tablets
Vizio has been owning the home entertainment market lately by selling excellent televisions for bargain prices, putting sub-$1,000 price tags on great sets with all the latest tech packed inside.
The company is still at it: Vizio’s new 2016 P Series of TVs offer the same features found in the company’s super-expensive Reference Series, but at more affordable pricing that starts at $1,000. If you don’t need the extra dimming zones and sunshine-bright backlight systems of the $6,000-and-up Reference Series panels, the new P-series sets are a steal.
These P-Series Vizios aren’t just 4K TVs, they’re HDR 4K TVs. HDR-capable sets can produce very bright highlights, making fireballs and shimmering water appear incredibly lifelike. They can also display inky blacks, making all the details in a dim scene really pop. Basically, HDR should be at the top of the New Things You Want In a TV list.
However, the new standard is also in the midst of a format war, with Dolby Vision and HDR10 competing for market share. Normally, we’d tell you to be careful about choosing a set. Vizio, however, says it will do the smart thing by supporting both Dolby Vision and HDR10. With one of these sets, you can play both sides of the fence.
Oddly, cheap and beautiful HDR might not even be the most compelling thing about these sets. Each of them comes with its own 6-inch Android tablet, which charges wirelessly on a little stand. Each TV also comes with a standard remote with physical buttons, but the Wi-Fi slate isn’t just a generous throw-in. It powers the TV’s smart ecosystem and streaming features, as the sets have Google Chromecast built into them. You install apps on the tablet itself, then cast the contents to the screen. There’s no menu of apps and smart features on the TVs themselves.
The included tablet is a full-fledged Android device—there are no walled gardens or app sub-stores to worry about—so you’ll also be able to cast nearly anything to your TV screen.
You don’t need to use Vizio’s tablet to stream video to the TV, either. Any Google Cast-compatible app on Android and iOS devices should work. The Vizio SmartCast app, which is preinstalled on the tablet, is also available as a standalone app for Android and iOS. It’ll let you search for content across streaming services, perform traditional remote-control functions, and dive deeper into the television’s settings. Vizio also says it will have soundbars and other home-audio components that can be controlled and grouped with the SmartCast app. Things like dual-screen games and second-screen experiences for TV content are in the works as well, the company says.
What Else Do I Get?
Each of the new P Series sets packs an eight-core processor, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, and an expanded color gamut to make that HDR video all the more lifelike. Each set in the new P Series offers five HDMI ports, a component-in array, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port.
The $1,000 model has a 120Hz refresh rate and 126 zones of local dimming stretched across its 50-inch screen. For $1,300, the 55-incher in the lineup has the same core specs but boosts the refresh rate to 240Hz. At $2,000 and $3,700 respectively, the 65-inch and 75-inch versions of the set have a slightly more robust 128 zones of local dimming to accompany their larger screens and higher prices.