Skip to main content

We take our first look at Vizio’s 4K/Ultra HD P-Series televisions, starting at $1,000

vizio 4kultra hd televisions announced start at 1000 p series
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Vizio today officially announced pricing and availability on its 4K/Ultra HD P-Series televisions, and the news is sending shockwaves through the consumer electronics industry.

The company’s first effort at an Ultra HD TV lineup starts with a 50-inch model at $1,000 and tops out with a 70-inch monster going for $2,500. Each year, Vizio aims to disrupt the market by introducing high-performance televisions that sell at unprecedentedly low prices. With its P-Series, Vizio has outdone itself, bringing what many still consider to be a fledgling technology to the masses far earlier than was anticipated, even as recently as this past January, when the company first showcased its P-Series prototypes at CES 2014.

Updated on 9-24-2014 by Jeffrey Van Camp: We had a chance to see the new TVs in person. My first impressions are now added below.

Extremely low pricing is frequently associated with lower product quality — and for good reason —  so, without seeing Vizio’s new wares in person, it might be easy to assume they won’t stack up well against premium, tier-1 competition from the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG.

By the numbers

Sizes (inches) 50, 55, 60, 65, 70
Resolution   4K
Backlighting Full-array direct LED
Refresh rate 240Hz
Dynamic contrast ratio 50,000,000:1
Price range $1000-$2500
Included in the list of the P-series’ impressive specs are a quad-core processor for quick navigation and app loading, HEVC (h.265) decoding for 4K/Ultra HD streaming from services like Netflix, the forthcoming 4K Amazon Prime Instant offerings, Ultraflix, and, soon, even more services. The TVs will also come equipped with HDMI version 2.0 for Ultra HD resolution at up to 60 frames per second, and HDCP 2.2 for future DRM (digital rights management) compliance — in other words, they’ll be ready for 4K Blu-ray discs and players when they come available later next year.

Perhaps the most impressive specification featured in all of Vizio’s televisions (sized 32 inches and larger, including the high-value E-series and premium M-series) is full-array direct LED backlighting, with varying degrees of local dimming capability. While mounting LED lights along the edges of LCD TVs allow for extreme thinness, the practice comes with significant sacrifices to picture quality, most notably “bleeding” at the edges of the screen, and poor uniformity of brightness across the panel. By placing an array of LED lights directly behind an LCD panel, the bleeding effect is mitigated, and screen uniformity is vastly improved. Meanwhile, local dimming allows specific zones of these LED arrays to be controlled (dimmed) to achieve better black levels (and therefore, contrast), improving overall picture quality significantly.

For example: Let’s say you have a big bright sun or star in the middle of an otherwise black-as-night scene. You would only want the LEDs in the middle (where the sun is) to be cranked up. The rest of the LED backlights you’d want to turn off almost entirely to get the best possible blacks, so it looked like dark space, not a dirty gray blanket. As Vizio’s best for 2014, the P-series tops out with 72 active zones of dimming, allowing very precise backlight control.

Eyes on with the P Series (By Jeff)

In person, the TVs appear to deliver — mostly. We saw the whole lineup in action in New York, where Vizio put its 65-inch P Series head to head against the 65-inch model from the Samsung 8500 series, both with the same settings turned on. Vizio noticeably outpaced Samsung in these demonstrations, but more importantly, its picture quality looked very good, especially considering the price. Motion on the P Series has much less blur than we’re used to, and the local dimming zones (there are 64 in the 65-inch and more/less depending on the size of the model) give a brighter, more detailed image across the whole screen. Scenes from The Hobbit were shown off and had beautiful depth on Vizio’s screen.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Blacks were surprisingly deep for a non-plasma TV as well, and were most noticeable when watching letterboxed movies — a common thing these days. Vizio’s 1080p upscaling is also impressive, showing a lot of sharp detail. For example, I have seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (both parts) a few times before, but some of the details picked up by the 4K upscaling was enlightening. Did you know that Daniel Radcliffe sweats a lot during filming? I never noticed before.

On the downside, because of the emphasis on image quality and price, these are not the thinnest LED TVs by a long shot. They popped out several inches from the wall. It’s a small sacrifice for a good image, in our opinion, but you’ll have to make up your own mind. On top of that, the interface of the TV was sluggish and low-res — not what you’d expect from a quad-core processor and 4K display. Poor interfaces are, sadly, the norm so it doesn’t ruin the TV, but don’t expect to throw out your set-top box or Chromecast any time soon.

Vizio moving up the ladder

This latest news further cements Vizio’s move up the ladder from tier-2 manufacturer to tier-1 — from “Costco brand” to industry leader. Just a few short months ago, consumers and media alike were complaining that 4K/Ultra HD televisions were too new a technology to be taken seriously, but with so much 4K content on its way and prices on high-quality 4K/Ultra HD televisions clearly on their way down, perhaps public opinion will soon turn the corner.

Find a full listing of the P-Series with pricing below (prices are MSRP):

Editors' Recommendations

Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
Don’t miss your chance to get a 50-inch 4K TV for $150 on Prime Day
The Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K TV on a white background.

Prime Day deals are getting pretty exciting now with Amazon Prime Big Deal Days coming up. Right now, you can register your interest for an Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K TV for just $150, saving you a huge $226 off the regular price. What you need to know is to head to Amazon through the link below then click the alert button so you'll receive an invite on the day if you're eligible to buy the deal. Do that immediately as there's nothing to lose here. Alternatively, keep reading while we tell you a little more about one of the best Prime Day TV deals coming up.

Why you should buy the Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K TV
While the Amazon Fire TV 50-inch Omni Series 4K TV isn't made by one of the best TV brands, it offers all the essentials you need in a budget-range TV. There's its 4K panel of course which means you can enjoy 4K programming and gaming over an older HD image. It also has support for HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus so it's a cut above much of the budget competition.

Read more
TV deal: Get this Vizio 50-inch 4K TV for under $300 (selling fast)
The Vizio V-Series 4K TV in the living room.

If you've always wanted to upgrade your home theater setup with a large TV, then you may not want to miss Walmart's offer for the 50-inch Vizio V-Series 4K TV. It's down to just $248 after a $71 discount on its original price of $319. The bargain is one of the retailer's most popular TV deals with more than 500 units sold over the past 24 hours, which means you're going to have to hurry with your purchase as there's a chance that stocks don't last long.

Why you should buy the 50-inch Vizio V-Series 4K TV
The Vizio V-Series 4K TV offers 4K Ultra HD resolution, which will let you watch your favorite shows and movies with sharp details and lifelike colors, while its full array backlight with evenly distributed LEDs promises superior light uniformity. This amazing picture performance combines with DTS Virtual: X that creates immersive audio for a truly cinematic experience from the comfort of your own living room. If you want even better sound, the Vizio V-Series 4K TV is designed to seamlessly work with Vizio soundbars like the Vizio M-Series All in One, which we've highlighted in our roundup of the best soundbars.

Read more
VIZIO rolls out all-new Quantum 4K QLED smart TVs: Get them at Walmart right now [Sponsored]
VIZIO M75Q6-L4 all-new Quantum 4K QLED HDR smart TVs

When brands launch new TVs, especially models that utilize the latest technologies, the prices tend to be expensive. But it doesn't always have to be that way, and one brand proving it to the world is VIZIO. More specifically, VIZIO is launching all-new Quantum 4K QLED Smart TVs in 65-inch and 75-inch sizes. Here's the kicker: Both models will be available at Walmart and are incredibly affordable. Starting at $498, you can get your hands on a shiny new Quantum 4K QLED Smart TV, leveraging next-generation colors and clarity with HDR Dolby Vision support and spectacular Quantum Color technology (QLED) that puts over 1 billion colors on screen. These sets are excellent for gaming, too, thanks to AMD FreeSync compatibility and the option to crank up frame rates to 120Hz when in 1080P. Of course, there's much more to share about these VIZIO TVs, so keep reading.

Why you should buy the all-new VIZIO Quantum 4K QLED HDR smart TVs
There are two new models, one a 65-inch panel and the other in a 75-inch size. Both utilize QLED Quantum Color technology in a 4K UHD (2160P) resolution. At the top of the list of features is WiFi 6, the latest wireless connectivity tech for faster, better, and less congested internet connections. You'll want a WiFi 6-capable router to support those faster connections, by the way. Central to the wireless connectivity is VIZIO's smart TV platform with WatchFree+, a service not unlike cable TV that gives you access to thousands of on-demand and freely available content.

Read more