Vizio has made a name for itself by making high-quality TVs at more competitive prices than more established brands, and it’s continuing that trend as it moves into 4K. The company just released the P-Series Ultra HD 4K sets starting at just $1000 for the 50-inch model . Completely ignoring the question of whether or not 4K is worth having yet, that’s a really impressive price. You could spend that much on a 1080p 50-inch TV from the likes of Sony or Samsung right now. It makes you wonder how Vizio is managing this.
TV manufacturers have spent the last few years hoping that 3D TVs would entice consumers to begin a new wave of upgrades, something the industry sorely needed after years of stagnation. 3D hasn’t worked out, but there’s a new gimmick hitting the market, and it’s one buyers might be swayed by: 4K Ultra HD with a resolution of 3840×2160.
But how did Vizio hit a price point of just $1000? The first thing Vizio points to when asked about the low price of its new 4K TVs is the backlight system. Rather than purchase off-the-shelf components, Vizio invested several years of engineering into designing its own in-house backlight with features usually only seen on very high-end TVs. Vizio simplified its supply chain with this backlight as it uses 40% fewer parts than traditional lighting systems.
The P-Series sets have local dimming support in the custom backlight with 64-72 zones, depending on the size. That means the LEDs in one of these areas can be dimmed by as much as 40% when displaying an image with dark regions. As a result, the black levels and contrast are almost as good as OLED, and there’s less backlight bleed at the edges.
It took a lot of engineering man hours to make this backlight technology possible, but that’s where Vizio’s plans for the future come in. It sees this tech as the future of all its TV products lines, so Vizio isn’t passing on the costs of developing it to the consumer. You could say that the sub-1000 dollar price point of the P-Series is a bit artificial in that respect. If Vizio actually figured the cost of development into the price, it wouldn’t be as impressive. At the same time, impressing people is part of the strategy. A 4K TV for $1000 is going to move the adoption cycle along nicely, and Vizio will get a big chunk of that. It will be hard to convince people to pay $2000-4000 for a 4K TV when there’s almost no content available.
Vizio’s new UHD TVs are in stock on its website and should be in stores for you to gawk at soon. The $1000 model will probably be the big seller, but there are 55, 60, 65, and 70-inch models too. Those are priced at $1400, $1700, $2200, and $2500 respectively.