Vizio recently released a much needed firmware update (v22.214.171.124) for its SmartCast P-Series and M-Series Ultra UHD 4K televisions. When downloaded and installed, the updated enables support for the HDR10 format standard found on select Ultra UHD Blu-rays and streaming content. Vizio now guarantees that P- and M-Series televisions have fully functional compatibility with both Samsung (UD-K8500) and Philips (BDP7501/F7) branded UHD Blu-ray players. The company says that future firmware updates will include support for soon to be released UHD Blu-ray Players, such as Panasonic’s DMP-UB900 (due Septmeber 2016).
"When we launched the VIZIO SmartCast P-Series and M-Series Ultra HD HDR display collections, it was always our intent to accommodate the HDR10 standard in addition to our support for Dolby Vision," said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. "While Dolby Vision offers consumers excellent picture quality, it was important to us to give consumers options. VIZIO now offers HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatible displays with some of the best picture quality options available for the home experience."
Leading up to this update, P- and M-Series sets both shipped with Dolby Vision support out of the box. While Dolby Vision and HDR10 are the two current HDR standards used, they’re rather distinct in terms of functional capabilities. Dolby Vision is a theatrical format that operates within the digital cinema color space (typically referred to as DCI/P3 or Rec2020). It's also capable of offering up to 12-bit functionality. Dolby Vision mastered content can reach up to 4,000 Nits (but has the potential to reach even higher levels of brightness which will reveal even more finely detailed dynamic range content).
HDR10, on the other hand, has a restricted operating potential of Rec2020 with a maximum of 1000 Nits in a 10-bit format. While potentially more limited to content creators, the standard's existence is nonetheless important to viewers. Quite simply put, televisions incapable of interpreting an HDR10 signal (or, for that matter, Dolby Vision) will not function properly when receiving an alien signal. This was painfully obvious at the 2016 Value Electronics Flat Panel Shootout, where Vizio’s reference television entry lacked onboard HDR10 functionality. The sets display performance with HDR10 signals simply paled in comparison to the HDR10 compatible competition.
In addition to making HDR10 compatibility a reality, Vizio has also announced that more Dolby Vision titles have been added to the VUDU streaming library. Films such as Batman v. Superman, Nice Guys, and Keanu have officially joined more than 50 titles that promise to deliver more color, brightness, and detail to owners of capable UHD sets. While streaming content might not offer the same full-UHD experience delivered by 4K Blu-ray discs, viewers will definitely notice a picture loaded with enhanced visual features.
Enthusiasts currently kicking tires in the new television market might be tempted by a recent Vizio announced price drop. Its 65-inch full-array P65-C1 television is now available for a mere $1,999.
Image Credit: Vizio