I’ve lengthy admired Vizio for its high-value TVs and soundbars. This yr isn’t any exception, with efficiency enhancements throughout the board. The firm first introduced many of those merchandise throughout CES final January, however now they’re hitting the market with costs which might be certain to please shoppers.
Vizio invited journalists to rise up shut and private with the 2019 lineup throughout two product-showcase occasions in May, one in New York City and the opposite on the firm’s headquarters in Irvine, California. I attended the occasion in Irvine, and I used to be fairly impressed with what I noticed and heard.
Vizio is providing 21 new TV fashions for 2019 in six strains, all of which function 4K decision and the power to simply accept and decode HDR, together with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. In addition, all Vizio TVs use full-array backlighting—no edge lighting in any mannequin—and all however the entry-level V5 line present native dimming, which typically improves perceived distinction.
Starting on the high, the brand new PX collection—formally, the P-Series Quantum X—affords two display sizes: 65 and 75 inches. (The PQ was out there solely in a 65-inch display dimension.) Like the PQ, the PX makes use of quantum dots in its backlight to attain very excessive brightness and extensive coloration gamut. In reality, the height brightness has elevated from 2,000 nits within the PQ65 to 3,000 nits within the PX65 and a pair of,700 nits within the PX75. Likewise, the colour gamut has elevated from 80 % to 84 % of BT.2020.
Also, the variety of native dimming zones has elevated from 192 within the PQ65 to 384 within the PX65 and 480 within the PX75. In reality, every LED within the backlight is its personal dimming zone, which is significantly better than having a number of LEDs per zone.
Pricewise, the PX75 lists for $3,499.99, whereas the PX65 carries an MSRP of $2,199.99. That’s amazingly low for such excessive efficiency at these sizes.
The step-down P-Series now makes use of quantum dots in its backlight, in contrast to final yr’s P-Series, which used phosphor-based white LEDs. As a outcome, the color-gamut protection has elevated from 71 % to 80 % of BT.2020. Available in display sizes of 65 and 75 inches, the 2019 P-Series additionally will increase its peak brightness from 1,000 nits to 1,100 nits within the 65-inch P659, and 1,200 nits within the 75-inch P759. In addition, the variety of native dimming zones has elevated from 192 in 2018 to 200 within the P659 and 240 within the P759. And just like the PX, every LED within the backlight is its personal dimming zone.
And the costs? The P759 lists for $2,499.99, and the P659 is $1,399.99.
Quantum dots have even trickled all the way down to the 2 new strains of M-Series TVs, informally referred to as M8 and M7. The 65-inch M658 ($999.99) and 55-inch M558 ($799.99) each have a peak brightness of 600 nits and 90 native dimming zones, up from 48 in final yr’s M-Series. Also, they cowl 80 % of the BT.2020 coloration gamut; the 2018 M-Series didn’t exhibit extensive coloration gamut in any respect.
The step-down M7 collection is on the market in 4 display sizes: M657 (65 inches, $899.99), M557 (55 inches, $699.99), M507 (50 inches, $549.99), and M437 (43 inches, $399.99). These fashions have a peak brightness of 400 nits, and the variety of native dimming zones ranges from 12 to 20, relying on the display dimension.
The entry degree is represented by two new V-Series strains: V6 and V5. These strains are derived from the earlier E and D collection, and so they do not use quantum dots. The V6 line is on the market in three sizes: V656 (65 inches, $629.99), V556 (55 inches, $469.99), and V436 (43 inches, $299.99). These fashions provide 400 nits of peak brightness and 10 to 12 native dimming zones.
The V5 line consists of eight sizes: V755 (75 inches, $1,199.99), V705 (70 inches, $799.99), V655 (65 inches, $599.99), V605 (60 inches, $529.99), V555 (55 inches, $449.99), V550 (50 inches, $329.99), V43 (43 inches, $299.99), and V405 (40 inches, $259.99). These fashions don’t provide native dimming, and their peak brightness is 300 nits.
Vizio SmartSolid 3.0
Vizio’s smart-TV platform is named SmartSolid, which evolves to model 3.0 in 2019. Happily, all Vizio SmartSolid TVs from 2016 onward may be up to date to the brand new model.
SmartSolid 3.0 contains a redesigned, content-centric consumer interface with a mixture of curated and partner-promotional objects on the house display. Currently, there isn’t any individual-recommendation perform. The system relies on HTML 5, so there isn’t any must obtain and set up apps; it acts extra like an online browser. That’s to not say there are no apps—the out there apps are supplied by Vizio, however there isn’t any app retailer.
Among these apps is WatchFree, Vizio’s free-TV streaming service in partnership with Pluto TV. The service affords greater than 100 stay channels that require no subscription or sign-in. There’s even an digital program information, very similar to cable or satellite tv for pc service, and a devoted WatchFree “input” together with the HDMI and different inputs. There isn’t any DVR performance, nonetheless. Other apps embrace Netflix, Hulu and Hulu + Live TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, NBC, and plenty of extra.
The element web page for any film or TV present now signifies all of the suppliers that provide it in addition to the fee from every supplier. It additionally signifies if a title is 4K from any supplier, although it doesn’t but point out whether or not the title is HDR or not. In addition, you possibly can watch trailers and clips from the element web page.
The platform is already suitable with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice instructions utilizing exterior gadgets to regulate fundamental capabilities like energy on/off, channel and enter choice, and quantity. But SmartSolid 3.0 will quickly provide new capabilities—for instance, looking for titles, genres, solid members, and so forth. This function must be out there in a number of weeks.
SmartSolid 3.0 is presently suitable with the Google Nest Hub. When you launch an app, the Hub shows contextual controls, reminiscent of play/pause, quantity, and so forth. You may also use voice instructions to alter the image mode, show closed captioning, and different capabilities. In addition, Google Chromecast is inbuilt, because it has been since SmartSolid first debuted.
Another function that might be added to SmartSolid 3.0 within the coming weeks is help for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. You’ll have the ability to ask Siri to launch content material, play music all through your house on AirPlay gadgets, and share pictures and even a slide present with music on the TV’s display. In addition, HomeKit will show a “remote control” for the TV in your cellphone.
In addition to TVs, Vizio is well-known for its inexpensive soundbars. New for 2019 are 5 fashions that enhance efficiency by letting type observe perform. Vizio optimized the efficiency of its soundbars utilizing reference-quality audio merchandise as a benchmark, which then dictated dimension and type issue throughout the soundbar class.
One consequence of this method is a single dimension to accommodate most TVs, fairly than a number of widths for various display sizes. So, 4 out of the 5 new fashions measure 36 inches extensive. They embrace the SB36514 ($699.99), SB36312 ($469.99), SB3651n ($249.99), and SB3621n ($149.99).
The mannequin quantity signifies the scale (36 inches) together with the audio configuration—514 signifies 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos, 312 equates to 3.1.2 Atmos, 51 means 5.1, and 21 signifies 2.1.
All 4 fashions include a wi-fi subwoofer; the sub for the SB36312, SB3651, and SB3621 is a newly designed slim mannequin that may match underneath a sofa or mattress. Like some earlier Vizio soundbars, the SB36514 additionally consists of two wi-fi encompass audio system with upfiring drivers for Dolby Atmos together with two extra upfiring drivers in the primary soundbar. Interestingly, Vizio obtained a waiver from Dolby to let customers modify the extent of the overhead channels in its Atmos-capable fashions.
Also new for 2019 is the SB2020n ($69.99), a 20-inch two-channel mannequin that additionally capabilities as a Bluetooth speaker. At the showcase occasion, Vizio put the SB2020n subsequent to a equally sized Bose Solo 5 ($249), which is a best-selling small soundbar. Playing the identical music and switching between them, the Vizio had significantly better bass, and the low-mid physique of the guitar was glorious.
Vizio additionally demonstrated a few of the different fashions underneath a TV. The SB3621 sounded nice, with superb bass from its slim subwoofer. Next up was the SB36514, which Vizio in contrast with a Sony HT-Z9F ($899.99), a 3.1 soundbar with DSP-based Dolby Atmos simulation. Watching the opening scene of Mad Max: Fury Road, I heard nothing overhead from the Sony, however the overhead channels had been simply evident from the Vizio.
The closing demo highlighted the SB46514 ($999.99), which was launched late final yr. This 46-inch soundbar contains a separate woofer and tweeter for every of the three entrance channels, with passive radiators for the LR channels and a port for the middle channel. Also included is a 10-inch dice subwoofer and encompass audio system with upfiring drivers which might be a step up in high quality in contrast with the surrounds that include the SB36514.
This demo was a online game—Star Wars: Battlefront—and the sound was very spectacular. The bass was fairly deep, and there was a lot of overhead motion with Tie and X-Wing fighters whizzing round.
Other options widespread to all of the 2019 soundbars embrace DTS Virtual:X, a DSP-based virtualization system that spreads the sound area properly past the confines of the soundbar’s enclosure. It appeared to work fairly properly within the clips I heard.
Another widespread function is Chromecast built-in, which offers entry to streaming companies reminiscent of Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal, and iHeartRadio. Also, all Vizio soundbars can stream audio from cellular gadgets through Bluetooth. Finally, the SB36514 and SB36312 provide help for Google Assistant voice management utilizing an outboard gadget.
Clearly, Vizio has as soon as once more raised the bar for worth and efficiency with its 2019 TVs and soundbars. I look ahead to attempting a few of them out in my very own surroundings quickly.