Vizio 2018 4K HDR TVs with SmartCast Announced

Vizio has charted it own path to success, emerging from the TV aisle at wholesale clubs to establish a cachet as an affordable way to get premium picture quality. It was the first major TV brand to adopt Dolby Vision as well as to fully embrace FALD. The company recently unveiled its 2018 lineup of E-series, M-series, and P-series TVs, including the new  P-series Quantum 65″ flagship, at a press event in NYC.

Vizio is known for designing TVs with a high performance/price ratio and its 2018 offerings are no exception. Perhaps the greatest stir was caused by the unveiling of the P-Series Quantum, a 65″ TV that features quantum dots for a wide color gamut and is capable of 2000-nit peak brightness with its 190-zone FALD array. However, there was much news about each of the four series shows at the event: E-Series, M-Series, P-Series, and P-Series Quantum.

All the 2018 Vizios feature tuners, so they truly are TVs, unlike last year. Of course, they are smart TVs, too. The latest SmartCast system can recognize voice commands directed at both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Furthermore, the system can find free, live streaming content (for example, from networks that simulcast on the web) and arrange it as if it were traditional TV channels. The result is a very cord-cutter friendly TV that you can interface with traditionally (i.e., using a candy-bar remote) or via state-of-the-art voice recognition. Check out this video for a full overview of the smart tech in the latest Vizio SmartCast update:

On the HDR side of things, Dolby Vision is now available in the affordable E-series models, which also feature HDR peaking brightness up to 400 nits. The 2018 D-Series, which was also announced but not shown, features a wide variety of TV types but no Dolby Vision. The M-Series and P-Series, including the Quantum, also support Dolby Vision as well as HLG HDR.

Here’s a video with a display-technology rundown that addresses the differences between the various series. One obvious trend is an increase in both zone count and peak brightness as you go up the line:

FALD (full-array local dimming) is a transmissive display technology that puts a grid of LEDs behind the LCD display. By selectively dimming those LEDs, FALD TVs can achieve high contrast. However, there’s a catch—the more zones, the better, but more zones cost more. In this intriguing demo, John Hwang, Senior Director of Project Management at Vizio, shows how having more zones—the P-Series Quantum has 192 while the E-Series 65″ has 16—lets a FALD-LCD TV achieve higher peak brightness and avoid uniformity issues in deep shadows.

Vizio is so enthused about the performance of its P-Series Quantum, the company showed it side-by-side next to an LG OLED. For this demo, both TVs were uncalibrated and in Vivid mode, the idea being to max out each display’s capabilities while showing the demo material. Side-by-side comparisons such as this are always controversial, and it’s always impossible for a YouTube video to convey what was seen in person, especially when dealing with HDR TVs; in this case, the Vizio’s highlights are clipped.

The idea behind the following demo is to show that the Vizio P-Series Quantum holds up in a dark room, with blacks that are not as deep or consistent as OLED but still good, and with other qualities such as high peak brightness and color volume that allows it to look better than the OLED on some scenes.

It would not be Vizio if the price was not part of the appeal. Here are the MSRPs for the D, E, M, and P-Series TVs, including the P-Series Quantum:

2018 D-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs

43″ D43-F1: $349.99
50″ D50-F1: $429.99
55″ D55-F2: $499.99
60″ D60-F3: $649.99
65″ D65-F1: $779.99
70″ D70-F3: $999.99

2018 E-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs

43″ E43-F1: $349.99
50″ E50-F2: $439.99
55″ E55-F0/E55-F1: $499.99
65″ E65-F0/E65-F1: $799.99
70″ E70-F3: $1049.99
75″ E75-F1/E75-F2: $1549.99

2018 M-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs

55” M55-F0: $699.99
65” M65-F0: $999.99
70” M70-F3:  $1499.99

2018 P-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs

55″ P55-F1: $899.99
65″ P65-F1: $1299.99
76″ P75-F1: $2499.99

2018 P-Series Quantum 4K HDR Smart TV

65″ PQ65-F1: $2199.99

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