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Vizio P65-C1 display review: Dolby Vision HDR and an Android remote control

Jon L. Jacobi | June 29, 2016
The Vizio P-series displays are the first we've seen to offer Dolby Vision HDR. The picture is great, but there's no TV tuner.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

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.

smartcast p series ultra hd high dynamic range home theater display w tablet remote hero

Vizio’s P-Series display with its six-inch Android tablet that serves as the remote and the smarts.

But before you rush out to buy, know that Dolby Vision is so far implemented only with online streaming services such as Netflix and Vudu, and the P-Series don’t yet support the HDR 10 used by Ultra HD Blu-ray. HDR 10 support via a firmware upgrade is promised, but hadn’t arrived at the time of this review.

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.

It’s not a TV

Vizio's most interesting decision was to make the P-Series entertainment displays, not smart TVs. There’s no over-the-air tuner, only limited media playback from USB mass storage, there are no apps on board, and there's no on-screen user interface beyond basics such as volume, input switching, and aspect ratio.

smartcast p series tablet remote w wireless charging dock hero

The six-inch Android tablet used to control and configure the P-Series displays, as well as provide smart functionality, sitting in its conductive charging stand.

Instead, Vizio relies on a 6.0-inch Android tablet to adjust advanced picture settings, and the aforementioned Vizio SmartCast provides “smart TV” features. “Smart” meaning streaming, browsing, playing games, and anything else you can do with a smart TV or tablet. As long as the app supports Google Cast, you can mirror it on the display. Note that you can also download and install the SmartCast app on your existing Android or iOS device and ditch or re-task the included tablet.

The P-Series have their own ethernet and 802.11ac adapters for direct streaming. What’s being displayed is only chosen and controlled via the smart device. The display and the device must be on the same network, as with all Google Cast setups.


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