Skip to main content

Vizio takes on Samsung and LG’s best with new Reference Series 4K TVs

In February, we got an advanced look at Vizio’s endeavor to bust the pricing barrier for 4K UHD TVs with the company’s uber-affordable M-series, starting as low as $600. Today, after confirming previously-leaked pricing for the M-Series, Vizio introduced a highly-anticipated new member of the family that sits on the polar opposite side of the pricing scale: Meet the Vizio Reference series.

While Vizio has elbowed into the big leagues by proffering extremely affordable TVs with solid performance, this new Reference series indicates the company has turned its gaze to the precarious world of top-tier display technology. To that end, the new Reference TVs, which are available in 65-inch and 120-inch models only, are loaded with an arsenal of cutting-edge technologies.

Related Videos

Like many of Vizio’s LED TVs, the Reference Series offers full-array backlighting with local dimming which allows for better lighting control, and, therefore, much better contrast between the light and dark images on screen. But the Reference series pushes the boundaries much further, moving from an average of around 32 zones to an incredible 384 zones of controlled lighting — and, in theory, the more zones, the better the contrast and screen uniformity. If implemented properly, these could be some of the best-performing LED-based TVs of the year.

In addition, the new TVs attempt to tangle with top-tier models from the likes of Samsung and LG with a wider display of the standard color gamut, called Ultra-Color Spectrum, as well as employing one of the most anticipated new technologies in the genre, High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR is designed to offer even more realistic 4K UHD imagery by blasting extremely bright images against darker backgrounds, providing a picture more inline with what we see in the natural world. And Vizio is also the first major brand to leverage Dolby’s highly-anticipated Dolby Vision for the job.

“We are proud for Dolby Vision to be introduced to consumers through the VIZIO Reference Series, providing a dramatically different visual experience that engages the senses and further draws viewers into the picture,” said Giles Baker, SVP, Broadcast Business Group, Dolby Laboratories.

Of course, the higher color gamut and HDR technologies that today’s state-of-the-art 4K UHD TVs can render won’t matter much without the proper content to showcase the new performance capabilities. To give the Reference Series an edge, Vizio has also partnered with Dolby and Warner for “unparalleled” access to 4K UHD Dolby Vision titles available through VUDU’s on-demand video service. Just how much content will be available remains to be seen, however.

Other features for the new Reference series include Vizio’s top upscaling software for stepping up HD programming, dubbed the Spatial Scaling Engine, “future-ready” HDMI ports, likely referencing the new HDMI 2.0a spec needed to input HDR content, High Velocity Mode designed to render content at up to 120 frames per second for lightning-fast gaming, and Vizio’s Internet Apps Plus smart platform.

In addition, the 65-inch model comes with a 5.1 Vizio sound bar system built into the base, with an included 10-inch wireless subwoofer and surround speakers. Vizio hasn’t yet announced pricing for the 120-inch version, but the 65-inch model is expected to cost $4,000. Release dates for the new Reference series have yet to be announced.

We’re not sure Vizio’s ambitious new models can deliver on all promises, but on paper, the Reference series is an enticing new addition to the next age of high-end displays. We’ll be looking to get our hands on one as soon as they’re available, so stay tuned.

Editors' Recommendations

I saw Sony’s 2023 TVs, and I think this model might be the best TV of the year
Sony X90L

After a rather conspicuous no-show at CES 2023, Sony TVs are finally here. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. There are a few changes and a few surprises, so let’s get into it.

Sony A95L Caleb Denison/Digital Trends
Sony Bravia XR A95L QD-OLED TV
I recently flew to New York to get my eyes on three of Sony’s new models in person, and I’ll dive deeper into those further down. But first I want to give an overview of the whole lineup. Starting at the very top, we have the A95L QD-OLED TV. This replaces the A95K from 2022 — and yes, it uses Samsung Display’s newer, more efficient QD-OLED panel with higher brightness capability. I could not measure the TV, and Sony never talks metrics — like, ever — but I do have some brightness comments coming later in this article.

Read more
New Zealand vs England Live Stream: Watch the Cricket Test Series
espn free trial cricket t20i match

New Zealand and England are back at it again in the Cricket Test Series, and while cricket may be a somewhat obscure sport in America, there’s still a way to watch the New Zealand vs England live stream. It’s a match cricket fans won’t want to miss, and if you’ve parted ways with your cable service, or if you prefer to watch on your phone or mobile device, watching online is the way to go.
Watch the New Zealand vs England live stream on ESPN+

ESPN has become the colossus of sports coverage, a with its ESPN+ streaming service, the media giant offers coverage of all sorts of live sports events. It’s also the only place you’ll be able to watch the New Zealand vs England live stream online. With an ESPN+ subscription you’ll get access to more cricket matches, as well as NCAA basketball games, XFL football games, and UFC fights. You’ll even get access to the full 30 for 30 library, which is a sports documentary series produced by ESPN. There is no ESPN+ free trial available, but it’s offered at a significant discount as part of the Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle includes monthly subscriptions to Disney+ and Hulu, in addition to ESPN+, and starts at $13 per month. A standalone ESPN+ subscription is $10 per month.

Read more
I went hands-on with Samsung’s two best new QLED TVs, and one of them stunned me
Samsung N900C 8K Neo QLED

I recently flew to New Jersey to go hands-on with Samsung’s top three 2023 TVs. I measured. I viewed. In the end, one of them floored me.

During my one-day visit, I was able to get hands-on with the 65-inch Samsung QN95C Neo QLED, a 75-inch Samsung QN900C 8K Neo QLED, and the much anticipated 77-inch Samsung S95C OLED — aka QD-OLED TV.

Read more