I have long admired Vizio for their high-quality TV and audio books. This year there is no exception, with improvements across the board. The company announced for the first time many of these products in CES in January, but now they are beating the market with prices that are sure to satisfy consumers.
Vizio invited journalists to get close and personal with the 2019 series during two product exhibitions events in May, one in New York City and the other at the company's headquarters in Irvine, California. I attended the Irvine event, and I was quite impressed with what I saw and heard.
Vizio offers 21
The start of the top, the new PX series, officially, the P-Series Quantum X, offers two screens sizes: 65 and 75 inches. (PQ was only available in a 65-inch screen size.) As PQ, PX uses quantum dots in backlight to achieve very high brightness and wide color array. In fact, the peak brightness has increased from 2000 nits in PQ65 to 3000 nits in PX65 and 2,700 nits in PX75. Similarly, the color group has increased from 80 percent to 84 percent of BT.2020.
Also, the number of local dimmer zones has increased from 192 in PQ65 to 384 in PX65 and 480 in PX75. In fact, each LED in the backlight is its own dimension zone, which is much better than having multiple LEDs per zone.
Pricing shows PX75 for $ 3,499.99, while PX65 has an MSRP of $ 2,199.99. It is incredibly low for such high performance in these sizes.
Step down The P-series now uses quantum dots in backlight, as opposed to last year's P-Series, which used phosphorus-based white LEDs. As a result, color coverage has increased from 71 percent to 80 percent of BT.2020. Available in screen sizes of 65 and 75 inches, the 2019 P Series increases its peak brightness from 1000 nits to 1100 nits in 65-inch P659 and 1200 nits in 75-inch P759. In addition, the number of local dimming lights zones increased from 192 in 2018 to 200 in P659 and 240 in P759. And as PX, each LED in the backlight is its own dimming zone.
And the prices? P759 lists for $ 2,499.99, and P659 is $ 1,399.99.
Quantum pots have even pulled down to the two new lines M-Series TV, informally called M8 and M7. The 65-inch M658 ($ 999.99) and 55-inch M558 ($ 799.99) both have a peak brightness of 600 nits and 90 local dimming zones, up from 48 in last year's M-Series. They also cover 80 percent of the BT.2020 color range; The M8 series in 2018 showed no wide colors.
The M7 series is available in four screen sizes: M657 (65 inches, $ 899.99), M557 (55 inches, $ 699.99), M507 (50 inches, $ 549.99) and M437 (43 inches, $ 399.99) ). These models have a maximum brightness of 400 nits, and the number of local dimming zones varies from 12 to 20, depending on the screen size.
The entry level is represented by two new V-series lines: V6 and V5. These lines are taken from the previous E and D series, and they do not use quantum points. The V6 line is available in three sizes: V656 (65 inch, $ 629.99), V556 (55 inch, 469.99 USD) and V436 (43 inch, 299.99 USD). These models have 400 rivets with maximum brightness and 10 to 12 local dimming zones.
The V5 line contains eight sizes: V755, 7070, 7070, V705, 6565, 599.99. V605, V555 (55 inch, 449.99 USD), V550 (50 inch, 329.99 USD), V43 (43 inch, 299.99 USD) and V405 (40 inch, 259.99 USD). These models do not offer local dimming, and their brightness is 300 nits.
Vizio SmartCast 3.0
Vizio's smart TV platform is called SmartCast, which is developing into version 3.0 in 2019. Fortunately, all Vizio SmartCast TVs from 2016 can be updated to the new version.
SmartCast 3.0 has a redesigned, content-centered user interface with a blend of curated and collaborative items on the home screen. Currently there is no individual recommendation function. The system is based on HTML 5, so there is no need to download and install apps; It seems more like a browser. That's not to say is no apps – the available apps are provided by Vizio, but there is no app store.
Among these apps are WatchFree, Vizio's free TV streaming service in collaboration with Pluto TV. The service offers more than 100 live channels that do not require subscription or login. There is another electronic program guide, such as cable or satellite service, and a dedicated WatchFree input along with HDMI and other inputs. However, there is no DVR functionality. Other programs include Netflix, Hulu and Hulu + Live TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, NBC and many more.
Details page for any movie or TV show now shows all providers that offer it as well as the cost from each vendor. It also indicates whether a title is 4K from any vendor, although it does not yet specify whether the title is HDR or not. In addition, you can see trailers and clips from the detail page.
The platform is already compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands using external devices to control basic functions such as power on / off, channel and input options and volume. But SmartCast 3.0 will soon offer new opportunities, such as searching for titles, genres, cast members, etc. This feature should be available for weeks.
SmartCast 3.0 is currently compatible with Google Nest Hub. When you launch an app, Hub displays contextual controls, such as games / pauses, volume, etc. You can also use voice commands to change image mode, display closed caption, and other features. In addition, the Google Chromecast is embedded, as SmartCast first debuted.
Another feature that will be added to SmartCast 3.0 in the coming weeks is support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. You can ask Siri to launch content, play music throughout your home on AirPlay devices, and share photos and even a slideshow with music on the TV screen. In addition, HomeKit will display a "remote" for the TV on the phone.
In addition to TVs, Vizio is known for its affordable sound beams. New for 2019 are five models that improve performance by allowing the form to follow the function. Vizio optimized the performance of the audio tapes with reference quality audio products as a reference, which dictated the size and shape factor of the audio bar category.
One result of this approach is a single size to accommodate most televisions, rather than multiple widths for different screen sizes. So, four of the five new models measure 36 inches wide. They include the SB36514 ($ 699.99), SB36312 ($ 469.99), SB3651n ($ 249.99) and SB3621n ($ 149.99).
The model number indicates the size (36 inches) along with the audio configuration-514 indicates 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos, 312 equals 3.1.2 Atmos, 51 means 5.1 and 21 indicates 2.1.
All four models come with a wireless subwoofer; The bottom of the SB36312, SB3651 and SB3621 is a newly designed slim model that can fit under a sofa or bed. Like some previous Vizio sound beams, the SB36514 also includes two wireless surround speakers with Dolby Atmos uplift drivers along with two more uplifting drivers in the main bar. Interestingly, Vizio got a deviation from Dolby to let users adjust the level of the overhead channels in their Atmos-compatible models.
Also new for 2019 is the SB2020n ($ 69.99), a 20-inch dual-channel model that also acts as a Bluetooth speaker. At the exhibition event, the Vizio SB2020n placed beside an equally large Bose Solo 5 ($ 249), which is a best-selling small audio bar. Vizio played the same music and switched between them, and had much better bass, and the guitar's low mass body was excellent.
Vizio also demonstrated some of the other models under a TV. The SB3621 sounded good, with very good bass from the slim subwoofer. Next up was the SB36514, which Vizio compared to a Sony HT-Z9F ($ 899.99), a 3.1 soundproof with DSP-based Dolby Atmos simulation. Looking at the opening of Mad Max: Fury Road, I didn't hear any overhead from Sony, but overhead channels were easily apparent from Vizio.
The final demo marked SB46514 ($ 999.99), which was introduced late last year. This 46-inch audio station has a separate woofer and treble for each of the three front channels, with passive radiators for the LR channels and a port for the center channel. Included are also a 10-inch cube subwoofer and surround speakers with boost drivers that are a rise in quality compared to the surrounds that come with the SB36514.
This demo was a video game-Star Wars: Battlefront and the sound was very impressive. The base was quite deep and there was a lot of overhead action with Tie and X-Wing fighters whizzing around.
Other features common to all 2019 soundbars include DTS Virtual: X, a DSP based virtualization system that spreads the sound field well beyond the limitations of the audio beam cabinet. It seemed pretty good in the clips I heard.
Another common feature is the built-in Chromecast, which provides access to streaming services such as Spotify, Google Play Music, Tides and iHeartRadio. Also, all Vizio soundbars can stream audio from mobile devices via Bluetooth. Finally, the SB36514 and SB36312 offer support for Google Assistant voice control using an outboard module.
Vizio has obviously raised the bar for value and performance with its 2019 TVs and sound beams. I look forward to trying some of them soon in my own environment.