Vizio wants to take 4K living room entertainment mainstream, and it starts by offering a new line of Ultra HD LED smart televisions that start at less than $1,000.
The 50-inch P-Series 4K TV from Vizio is available for $999.99, a price much lower than most other 4K displays on the market. The TV was first unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January, along with four other models in the P-Series line: the $1,399.99 55-inch, the $1,699.99 60-inch, the $2,199.99 65-inch, and the $2,499.99 70-inch.
A $1,000 TV may seem too expensive for some, but Vizio's price tags effectively undercut those offered by its bigger rivals Samsung and LG, whose prices for their own 50-inch 4K TVs hover around $1,500. And in the 4K display sector where some of the most expensive models can command a price as high as $20,000, that $1,000 price on Vizio's latest offering is a bargain.
And while slashing down prices to attract a bigger market usually means scrimping on the bells and whistles, this is not the case for Vizio, which included a lot of perks to all its P-Series televisions. Prominent among these features is full-array backlight panels with local dimming, which is normally preserved for only the top-of-the-line models with astronomical price tags. The 70-inch P-Series TV has 72 dimming zones, while all the rest; including the entry-level 50-inch 4K TV has 64. This helps the LED achieve the near-perfect picture quality seen in OLED screens by eliminating light bleed to the sides of the screen and ensuring uniformity of brightness across the display.
"Our P-Series collection offers an outstanding Ultra HD picture and performance," says Vizio chief technology officer Matt McRae. "The shift towards 4K has left consumers demanding new solutions that deliver the right innovations to enhance their viewing experience."
Also included is support for HDMI 2.0 for 4K resolution up to 60 frames per second and HDCP 2.2 support for compliance with digital rights management laws, giving the new TVs ability to play 4K Blu-ray discs when they become available. The TVs are also equipped with HEVC decoding for streaming 4K content from sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, although 4K content remains minimal for now.
4K displays, also known as Ultra HD, have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160, compared to the 1920 x 1080 resolution offered by conventional high definition TVs. They have a higher contrast ratio and pack in a greater number of colors, resulting in a clear, more vivid viewing experience, although they also consume twice the power of HD TVs.