4K TV’s are here, and they are here to stay, as Samsung would say “the next big thing is here”. But do you need one right now?
Shitty TV gimmicks come and go all the time. Every year you hear fancy new TV “buzzwords”. In the past it was Plasma, then it was 120Hz, followed by 240Hz, then it was smart TV, don’t get me fucking started on 3D, the list goes on and on. This year, you will be hearing three new “buzzwords”. 4K/UHD (Ultra High Definition), OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and curved 4K/OLED. Note: The terms “4K” and “UHD” will be used interchangeably in this review. If you are in the market for a new TV, you may want to seriously consider putting your money behind one or possibly two, if you are rich as fuck (say hello OLED 4K), of these new “buzzwords”. The other, curved screens, is yet another gimmick and can eat a dick.
So what is 4K/UHD? If you already know what 4K is, you can skip this shit. For everyone else, 4K is the next iteration in HDTV, a big bump up from the now standard 1080P. Don’t freak out, 1080P is not going anywhere, but 4K is the next step up, and will someday become the new standard. When you are talking about 4K, you are talking pixel density. How many pixels are crammed into a certain area of the TV, usually a square inch. 4K TV has a much higher pixel density (4X) than your normal 1920 x 1080 picture. An average 60 inch 1080P HDTV, has a pixel density of roughly 37 PPI (1369 pixels per square inch). 4K TV has a pixel density of around 73 PPI (5329 pixels per square inch), as you can see, that is roughly 4X more pixels per square inch. So what the fuck does all this math shit mean anyway? What it all equates too, is a much better picture. Does this mean a better viewing experience? Probably, but you should keep reading, more on that in a bit.
4K resolution is like squeezing 4 standard 1920×1080 TV’s into one.
The first 4K TV’s were released just a few years ago, but unless your name is Bruce Wayne, you didn’t get one. Pre-2013, they were far too expensive for the average Joe. UHD prices have steadily declined over the past few years. In 2014, UHD began to go mainstream. At this years (2014) CES Vizio unveiled their plans to introduce their first 4K television series in late Q3. Vizio promised amazing picture, advanced features, and an unbeatable price to boot. Did Vizio deliver on it’s promise? Is a 4K TV worth the extra coin? Lets find out.
The set up process is a fucking breeze. You get your shit out of the box, install the stand, insert batteries into the remote, plug your shit into the TV and voilà, you are done. The Vizio set up process will walk you through a few steps to connect you to your wired/wireless network, and figure out if your broke ass has an OTA TV antenna, or a cable/satellite receiver. The whole process is about as simple as it gets. Boom, just like that you are ready for some Ultra HD Porn flicks.
The biggest reason for anyone to purchase a UHD/4K TV is the picture. The Vizio P Series does not disappoint. A 4K TV displaying 4K content, is something you really have to see to believe. The clarity and detail of 4K video is so far superior to standard HD, there is absolutely no comparison. When watching 4K from the TV screens optimal viewing distance (depends on the size of your screen) watching TV is almost a surreal like experience. It is like looking through a window and seeing a movie in your backyard. The detail is so great that everything looks like you can reach out and touch it. This effect diminishes the farther you get from the TV, but the same is true of TV’s with any resolution. The farther you sit from the TV, the larger TV you will need in order to reap the benefits of 4K. My review unit is the 60 inch model (Model #P602ui-B3, which is the smallest I recommend you go) and I typically sit anywhere between 7-10 feet from the TV. Just within the limits of 4k advantages. Take a look at this chart to see if you will benefit from a 4K picture. I upgraded from a 47″ LG LED TV, so the difference for me is obviously night and day. The larger picture alone makes a world of difference. Am I able to see the benefits of 4K? It’s hard to give a definitive answer, because of the lack of 4k content (more on that later) but I think so. The picture is far better than my old 47″ piece of shit, which goes without saying.
One of the best things about the P Series picture is it’s use of local dimming. If you don’t know what local dimming is, here is the gist of it. Local dimming helps make your whites, whiter and brighter, and your blacks, blacker and darker than a standard edge lit TV. It is essentially fucking laundry detergent for your TV. It does this by controlling individual sections of the TV’s LED backlight array one at a time, up to 72 LED zones. Vizio has a kick ass demo on their website. Local dimming can cause a bit of a blooming effect when viewing some images. For example, if you have white text on a black background, like at the beginning of a movie, you may notice a white glow emanating from the source text. This is simply the LED backlight attempting to better illuminate the section of the TV where the text appears. This is something I can only notice in these particular scenarios, but it is something I felt I needed to address. But if you just cant fucking stand it, you can always turn local dimming off.
The Vizio P Series is sure to draw attention from just about anyone. The bezels are incredibly thin at just 8.8mm, making for an ultra sexy, all screen appearance. The stand is a sturdy metallic/plastic piece the bolts securly into the bottom of the TV. The stand takes up very little room compared to a lot of today HDTV’s. A lot of manufacturers are going with an ultra wide stand approach (the stand is as wide as the TV) which I cannot fucking stand (get it). This sucks for those that do not have a god damn dining table to sit their TV on. Luckily the Vizio has a small footprint, and I can’t say I am too worried about it suddenly toppling over.
It’s not the thinnest TV on the planet, but it’s not a chunky bitch either. If you want the thinnest TV on the planet, your gonna have to go with an OLED. That’s assuming you have $3,500 and want a curved TV. Vizio list’s its thickness at 2.2 inches, which seems just about right if you ask me. Overall it is a sexy TV.
User Interface & Apps
The interface and menu system for the P Series is alot like that of their newer smart TV’s. In fact, I think they are basically identical. The Vizio M Series is basically a P Series minus the 4K and several other notable features, but features mostly the same design throughout. The P series menu system is unobtrusive, and very easy to use. You can see most of the TV while you play with your
In today’s world, a TV just aint a TV without some damn apps. Luckily, Vizio’s app selection is actually quite useful. You can browse app’s in one of two ways. If you press the Vizio Icon button in the middle of the remote, it will bring up a quick app selection menu at the bottom of the screen. These quick selection apps can all be customized to add app’s you like and remove those you never use. Press the Vizio Icon again and you get the full app selection. This layout includes all available app’s. From here you can pick and choose favorites to display on the quick nav, or launch them right from there. The remote has dedicated buttons for Netflix, IHeartRadio, and Amazon VOD, which will certainly come in handy if you subscribe to any or all of those services. Other notable apps include Vudu, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and YouTube. Did you know you can access your purchased Google Play movies and TV shows from YouTube? Just sign in and go to purchased content. I don’t think your movies and shows are available in HD from YouTube, but if you don’t have a Chromecast, its you best option. I would love to have a Google Play Movies and TV app, but I’ll keep on dreaming.
Over the years I have come to appreciate well thought out industrial design. Vizio’s controller is one such example. It looks great and the buttons are arranged in a nice logical order. The buttons have a rubberized texture, similar to almost every remote you have ever used. The buttons have a very nice, tactile feel to them. The buttons give you a good physical and auditory “click” to indicate that the button has been pressed. It’s a very small addition, but something I wish more manufacturers would think about when designing their products.
We have already talked a little about the front of the remote, and that is really all there is to it, save for volume and miscellaneous picture, and channel controls. Now lets see what the remote has on the other side. If you were thinking nothing, wrong, you fucking fail. Step into my office, cause you’re fucking fired. The opposite side of the remote features a full QWERTY keyboard! Okay, not all that exciting, but it is quite useful. If you have ever used a smart TV, or a Roku for that matter, how many times have you thought to yourself, I wish I had a damn keyboard instead of this on screen shit! Calm your tits, your prayers have been answered. Anytime there is a search, form, or info field, you can use the remotes physical keyboard instead of the onscreen variety. You can still use the onscreen keyboard if you would rather torture yourself. All that being said, the remote is fucking awesome.
Where the fuck is all the UHD/4K content?
This is probably the biggest dilemma facing 4K TV manufacturers. What the fuck can I watch in 4K? Short answer. Not a whole hell of a lot. So far the TV technology far surpasses that of content delivery, and availability. As of this writing, 4K Blu Ray players and disc’s are not available to the public. 4K Blu Ray players said to release sometime in the spring/summer of 2015, if all goes well. But you can bet your balls that 4K Blu Ray players and movies, are going to be expensive as fuck when they are first released. As of right now, the only way to watch 4K content is through Netflix, Amazon (soon), and a few other proprietary HDD 4K devices, like this expensive fucking thing from Sony. If you need true 4K content right now, the Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player is probably your best bet, but for me personally, I am going to wait. Hopefully Netflix and Amazon can build up their 4K libraries.
So can I watch 4K via cable or satellite? As of right now, that’s a big hell no. I don’t believe there is a cable company in America currently offering 4K broadcasts. I am sure the cable companies are currently working on designing new hardware. I am also sure that they are working even harder on developing new plans to fuck over 4K TV owners. My guess is a $20-50/month “4K technology fee”, whenever it is introduced, you know that shit isn’t going to be a free add on. HDTV wasn’t free when it first launched. So what about when 4K content comes mainstream? Will this TV be compatible with newer 4K technologies, like HDMI 2.0? Vizio has you covered. They have included one HDMI 2.0 port so you can display your future 4K content at 60 fps. All other HDMI ports can only display 4K at 30fps.
Without 4K Blu Ray players and Sony’s media player, the only other 4K source right now is Netflix. Neflix UHD streaming requires an upgraded Netflix account. Basically, it will take you from $8.99/month to $11.99/month, whether or not it is worth it depends on your cheap ass. Oh yeah, UHD Netflix also requires a speedy internet connection. Netflix says 25 Mbps minimum, but it all depends upon your setup. I can successfully stream 2160P (4K) content with my 18 Mbps AT&T U-verse internet connection. That is over WiFi, very close to the router. I cant say that will work for everyone, but it works for me. The Netflix 4K library is quite small, with just a few notable shows and movies, so hopefully they can add new content quickly.
So you have this fancy new 4K TV with nothing to watch, right? Not entirely true. Almost all 4K TV’s include some kind of upscaling. This magically takes your lower resolution 1080P or 720P video and upscales it to 4K. TV companies want you to believe that this creates an almost 4K like picture, but it does not. Upscaling simply makes the 1080/720P picture presentable on a 4K TV. The quality is nowhere near true 4K, but it does the job for right now. The picture still looks great, I would say better than standard 1080P, but 4K it is not.
Should you buy at 4K TV now? Do you need a 4K TV? Fuck no. Does anyone ever need a big ass T-Bone steak? No, they get it because they want it. The same should go for your HDTV. If you are happy with your current setup, don’t upgrade. I don’t see any real reason to rush out and buy a 4K TV. But if your current TV is broken, old, or lacking all them fancy schmany smarty features, then absolutely. I upgraded from a 2008-2009 LG 47″ 1080P LED TV. I wanted a bigger TV, a smart TV, and a better picture. So I sprung for the better TV. The premium I paid was quite significant. A comparable 60″ Vizio 1080P TV (M Series) sells for around $1050, while the 60″ P Series cost right around $1650. For the extra $600, I received a significantly better picture (6,000,000 more pixels) better local dimming, and a TV that is future proof and ready for future 4K devices. The Vizio P Series is the best value in 4K, period.
Verdict: The Vizio P Series is a kick ass 4K TV for a kick ass price.