It turns out you don't need Vizio's latest P-Series television to experience one of its key features. As announced on Tuesday, Vizio's 2016 P-series TVs are the first to have Google Cast built-in, letting users send video to the big screen from phones, tablets, and laptops. More importantly, each P-series TV ships with its own Android tablet, which acts as a remote control using the new Vizio SmartCast app. Even if you don't have a P-series TV, you can use SmartCast with existing Chromecast dongles or Android TV devices. The app, which is free on iOS and Android, basically acts like a TV guide and remote for streaming video, letting you find things to watch and then launch them on the television.
Vizio has announced a new series of 4K UHD TVs that leverage the advanced technologies developed for the company's Reference Series, such as HDR (High Dynamic Range) and more accurate color, but at significantly lower price points. The 50-inch P-Series TV retails for 999, including a 6-inch Android tablet that can be used both as a remote and for streaming content to the TVs via the newly supported Google Cast. Said tablet is bundled with all P-Series TVs. This 6-inch Android tablet/remote will be included with each of Vizio's P-Series TVs. Vizio is calling its implementation of Google Cast (nee Chromecast) Wi-Fi multimedia streaming SmartCast, and it will be supported by all of its P-series TVs as well as upcoming sound bars and standalone Wi-Fi speakers.
If you want to escape the washed-out color of low- and mid-range LED TVs without breaking the bank, Vizio's SmartCast P-Series displays are the way to do it. That said, Vizio claims of "picture perfection" are overstated--the P-Series are not without flaws; at least not the $1700 65-inch version we tested. Regardless, the color and HDR are impressive. The P65-E1 we tested sports a relatively thin silver bezel, is about 2.5-inches deep, and weighs in at approximately 63 pounds including stands. We aren't sticklers about looks, at least once the game or movie starts, but the silver bezel is more noticeable than darker-colored bezels that tend to blend in with the display panel itself.
If you're looking for entry into the wonderful world of HDR (High Dynamic Range), you're not going to find a cheaper ticket than the Vizio P-Series displays. Prices start at only 1000 for the 60Hz, 50-inch model, and they're definitely worth a look-see: Dolby Vision HDR viewed on the 2000 (available at Best Buy), 65-inch class P65-C1 reviewed here is a vastly superior experience compared to the average LED/LCD TV with standard dynamic range (SDR); i.e., everything else out there. Vizio's P-Series display with its six-inch Android tablet that serves as the remote and the smarts. Also, because Vizio is positioning the P-Series as part of its SmartCast Internet of Things/smart-home entertainment ecosystem (which is based on Google Cast), the company made some--shall we say--interesting design decisions. Vizio's most interesting decision was to make the P-Series entertainment displays, not smart TVs.
Vizio made a splash at CES back in January when it announced that it was jumping into the OLED market, and now the TV manufacturer says its first two OLED 4K TV models will arrive this fall with enticingly affordable price tags. Vizio is also teeing up the rest of its 2020 TV and soundbar lineup, including its new P-Series quantum-dot 4K LCD TVs powered by a revamped image processor, its new flagship Elevate soundbar with swiveling upfiring drivers, and its updated SmartCast 4.0 smart TV software. While Vizio first spilled the beans about its OLED plans back at CES, it's only now serving up more details about its upcoming OLED models. Cutting right to the chase, we're talking two models, both of which are slated for fall: a 65-inch OLED TV for $2,000, and a 55-inch version for $1,300. While a $2,000 TV might sound pricey for Vizio, a brand known for its moderately priced televisions, it's actually a bargain compared to LG's upcoming 65-inch CX-series OLED, which is slated to sell for $2,500.