Vizio is a manufacturer that is not available in the UK, but the P Series just shook the industry’s approach to the ‘Smart TV’.
While Samsung is going all-in with its updated Smart TV interface and LG remains committed to WebOS, Vizio has decided to omit an operating system from its P Series – instead it has opted to include Google Cast support.
Google Cast is the underlying technology behind Google’s popular Chromecast streaming sticks and enables Android and iOS users to beam content from their smartphones or tablets directly to the TV.
Of course that works well when the user owns an Android or iOS device, but for those who don’t what does the P Series offer them? Well, it actually ships with an Android-powered remote control – spelling an end to the traditional dumb remote.
From the Android remote users can load up Netflix, YouTube, Plex or any other App to beam the content they want directly to the TV. The Android remote also ensures that people can line-up content without having to takeover whatever people are currently watching.
Vizio is also able to concentrate on the display technology, rather than the upping the TV’s processing power. With the P Series that is exactly what Vizio has opted to do – with the company promising an impressive picture quality at an affordable price point.
The Vizio P Series may only cost $1,000 (£700) for a 50in TV, but it boasts the most impressive HDR technology currently on the market – Dolby Vision. While Dolby Vision on an LCD TV isn’t as impressive as on an OLED, like LG’s G6 series, the Vizio P Series offers much better bang for buck – as OLED technology currently commands a significant premium.
While Dolby Vision is an important feature of the P Series, Vizio has also packed in full-array local dimming, as well as HDR10 and 4K Ultra HD support. The TV has not received a seal of approval from the UHD Alliance however, but that’s because Vizio never submitted it for review – citing serious concerns over the ‘Premium 4K’ standards.
Vizio is not letting its non-membership of the UHD Alliance hold it back from being a dominant player in the US television market however. In fact, the company believes that its approach to the Smart TV could one day be replicated throughout the industry – as manufacturers realise that the public largely despise the sluggishness of Smart TV operating systems.
While massive improvements have been made with Samsung and LG’s in-house systems and other manufacturers announce support for third-party operating systems, such as Sony’s adoption of Android TV and Panasonic’s love for all things Firefox OS; Vizio’s approach is probably the most technologically exciting solution.
While Samsung and LG both tout ‘smart’ remotes that you can wave like a Wii remote, the P Series ships with a full-function 6in Android tablet – completely free. That means users are getting an Android tablet and a Dolby Vision TV for just $1,000.
Vizio has not skimped on the tablet’s specs either. It has a 1080p display, a V8 octa-core processor, stereo speakers, 16GB of storage and complete access to the Google Play Store. It also comes with a handy charging dock for users to charge it in.
While Google Cast is an impressive protocol however, not all content services support it. Of course the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Spotify do – but if anyone in the household uses Amazon’s Instant Video service, the only option is to cast the screen, which is significantly worse in quality than native Google Cast streaming. The other option is to use an external set-top box, such as the Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.
While the £30 Chromecast can offer much of the same functionality as Vizio’s P Series, the company says that its ‘SmartCast’ technology is an improvement on the underlying technology found in the Chromecast. That means that while the Chromecast can’t offer 4K streams or HDR content, Vizio’s SmartCast technology can – with support for Vudu’s Dolby Vision content and 4K streams from the likes of Netflix, YouTube and UltraFlix.