Vizio’s 2016 P series is not based on Google’s Android TV. In fact, it has no user interface or TV tuner. Instead it relies on a 6” tablet and deeply integrated Google Cast. The P series also boasts Dolby Vision and local dimming. It starts at $999.
Vizio’s 2016 P series
Vizio has started over. With the new P series the company has abandoned everything it knows about “smart” TVs and asked Google to help create a new type of simple, connected TV.
Everything on the TV is controlled via the included 6-inch Android based tablet. A new app named Vizio SmartCast allows you to search for content and cast it wirelessly to the TV. You can also open your favorite apps such as Netflix and YouTube and press the cast button. There is no user interface on the TV. Everything is based on Google Cast.
Normally, partnering with Google means adopting Android TV like Sony and Philips have done. Vizio has went in opposite direction and in the process also abandoned its previous Opera-based TV platform. This is also notable because it is the first time Google has allowed a TV manufacturer to integrate Google Cast without adopting Android TV. A new trend?
To be clear; there is no built-in tuner in Vizio’s new P series. There is a standard remote but it is meant to control only volume, video input switching and a few other things. Everything revolves around the tablet. You can use Google Cast to the TV from your Apple devices, too.
Vizio has also adopted Google Cast for a range of new wireless speakers.
Dolby Vision and local dimming
As for the hardware, Vizio will offer the 2016 P series in four sizes ranging from 50 to 75 inches.
All four models come with full-array local dimming with either 126 or 128 dimming zones. This effectively means that the TVs can control light in zones, enabling the TVs to do HDR. For this purpose Vizio has partnered with Dolby to integrate Dolby Vision. Yes that’s right, Dolby Vision has trickled down from Vizio’s pricey Reference series to the mid-range P series.
So what is missing compared to the much more expensive Reference TV? It is hard to tell. Vizio says its new P series also supports wide color gamut. The TVs cover 96 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which should make those Dolby Vision movies pop. However, the TVs are not “UHD Premium” certified.
Vizio says that the TVs will have access to more than 30 Dolby Vision titles from Warner, including Mad Max: Fury Road, via the Vudu streaming service. Netflix and Amazon will launch Dolby Vision streaming very soon. However, Amazon does not yet support Google Cast.
The TVs naturally also offer Ultra HD resolution. There are 5 HDMI ports, four of which are HDMI 2.0. Vizio will release a firmware update later this year to enable HDMI 2.0a, which is required to receive HDR10 material from UHD Blu-ray players. One of the HDMI ports is optimized for gaming (low input lag). All models, except the 55” with an IPS panel, use VA panels.
Prices start at $999 and the TVs go on sale on March 27.