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Today’s Show:

VIZIO P702ui-B3 70-Inch 4K UHD

VIZIO P702ui-B3 70-Inch 4K UHD We have been talking about 4K TVs for what seems like an eternity. This week Ara finally took possession of his VIZIO P702ui-B3 70-Inch 4K UHD (Buy Now $2498). Now before you all say “no one can see the difference on a screen that size sitting at a normal distance”, hang on until we get to the performace part of the review. As soon as Vizio announced this set at CES Ara knew it was going to be his first 4K TV. At 70 inches it fills up the normal sized family room but not so much that it looks too big. Even Ara’s wife who was skeptical when she heard that a 70 inch screen was going to replace the 58 inch plasma felt the TV was a good fit for the room. The family consensus is that watching the Vizio is almost like watching in the media room, mainly due to the family room being a bit cozier.

Features:

  • Ultra HD picture – 8 million pixels and 4x the resolution of 1080p Full HD.
  • 5 HDMI inputs, one dedicated for high performance devices.
  • Spatial Scaling Engine – Scales 1080p Full HD content to 4K Ultra HD resolutions.
  • VIZIO Internet Apps Plus – Optimized for Ultra HD streaming.
  • 802.11ac wireless – ideal for Ultra HD streaming.
  • 72 Active LED Zones – Dynamically adjusts the LED backlight per zone creating deeper, pure black levels and higher contrast.

Setup

The TV was bought through Amazon and it came with delivery and setup. The guys showed up and removed the TV from the packaging, connected the stand and then placed it on TV stand. Ara connected the tuner, Ethernet, HDMI and power cables and the turned it on. The TV asks you some questions and within a few minutes you have a picture on set.

Next up was adjusting the TV with a “Calibration” disc. Settings are shown at the end of this article. While Ara was able to get a good picture with the disc, there are so many settings on this TV that these discs do not address, it is well worth hiring a professional to calibrate the set. If you are going to spend ~$2,500 for a 4K UHD TV you should get the most out of it. There are also two factory calibrated settings that you can chose, Calibrated and Calibrated Dark focusing in the following 4 areas:

  • Color accuracy – Calibrated to International Telecommunication Union ITU-R Recommendation BT.709
  • Gamma control – Set to 2.1 for Calibrated, 2.2 for Calibrated Dark
  • Color temperature – Calibrated to D65 (D65 corresponds roughly to a midday sun in Western Europe / Northern Europe, hence it is also called daylight illuminant.)
  • Brightness and contrast levels – Calibrated to minimize black and bright clipping

VIZIO recommends if you are situated in a bright setting, adjust the picture mode setting of the TV to Calibrated. On the contrary, if you are in a dark setting, adjust the picture mode setting to Calibrated Dark.

We turned on the Audio Return Channel (ARC) on the set so we could get 5.1 out of the tuner and the built in Netflix app. This required that we use an HDMI cable that supports ARC and a receiver that also supports it. We were good to go on both parts and after CEC control was also activated on the Denon receiver we were ready to start watching TV!

Performance

First up was watching through the DirecTV satellite receiver. This was a mixed bag. Depending on the channel or what was being played on the channel we kind of felt like it was 2000 again. The TV really exposes flaws in the signal. Just like the move to HD from NTSC. First up was football on ABC. ABC is a 720p channel and in LA it is multicast which compresses the signal. Things didn’t look as sharp as we are used to. This was evident in the playing field more than anywhere else. When the camera would show the grass you could see the video processing sharpen the image in those areas.

The odd thing was on the same channel but for the nationally televised game in the evening the picture looked flawless. Everyone watching in the house was amazed at how good it looked. The only thing we can think of is that the day game was a regional game for Los Angeles and that ABC didn’t use the best gear in the production of the game. For the national game the A-team production van was used. When it was all said and done we would have never noticed this on the plasma.

Watching college football on CBS did not exhibit any of these issues. In Los Angeles CBS does not multicast so the entire bandwidth is used for the TV signal. The Alabama game looked incredible! Both OTA and Satellite signals were used with similar results. Bottom line, a good signal looks fantastic. That was the case in 2000 and its the case today. We could see macroblocking on sitcoms that we never saw on plasma. Scaling up to a 4K TV with 70 inches or real estate will expose flaws. That’s just something you will have to live with when watching network TV.

Then we watched Blu-ray and this is where we got the oohs and ahs we were hoping for. The Vizio did an incredible job here. The colors were so vivid and detail so sharp that we got that looking through glass feeling while watching. The opening shots of “A Million Ways to Die in the West” were breathtaking. We then pulled out an oldie but a goodie, “Blackhawk Down”. This movie has a lot of night scenes that are great for testing a TV’s ability to show shadow detail. Some listeners/readers have questioned Ara for giving up his plasma which typically have deep dark blacks and high contrast for an LED based TV. The Vizio did a great job with the dark scenes. Almost as good as the plasma. Close enough to where Ara didn’t feel like he was losing anything. This was accomplished by using direct lit LED with 72 zones. By completely turning off LEDs in zones that are not being used the TV can approach black levels and contrast of plasmas.

Finally there was the 4K test. We hit the Netflix button on the remote and searched for 4K content. First up was a nature video, a la HD Net circa 2000. Yes it was like 2000 all over again. We watched stuff because it was in UHD!

Netflix labels its its UltraHD as 2160SD which has a resolution of 3840×2160. True 4K is 4096×2160 and that is labeled 2160HD. We were not able to find a 2160HD program.

Regardless, the 2160SD content looked incredible. You need the ability to stream 15Mbps to be able to view Ultra HD content and if you have it you will be amazed at the clarity. We also watched the Blacklist in UHD, which comes highly recommended by listeners.

We were amazed at the detail and clarity. The charts and graphs say you can’t really see the difference in resolution on a 70 inch TV at 12 feet but we’ll have to disagree. It looks amazing! We can’t wait for 4K Blu-ray!

One area that we weren’t that pleased with the TV was off angle viewing. Here the plasma had this beat. If you are sitting directly in front of it it won’t be an issue but in Ara’s family room there are two positions where this will be an issue. Just something to consider if you are interested in this set.

The remote control is nice and has a full keyboard on back which makes searching for content a bit easier. We added the TV to the Roomie remote with no issues, but we had to do so with our IR blaster. At this point in time there is no way to turn the TV on over Ethernet.

In addition to Netflix, the TV includes, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Youtube, Pandora, and Amazon to name a few Internet apps. Amazon, Netflix, and iHeart Radio have hard coded buttons to make getting to these apps easier.

Conclusion

We are at the beginning of the Ultra HD transition and you may wonder if its too early to switch. One can argue that it is, but if you have a Blu-ray player or a 15Mbps Internet connection you really don’t have to wait. The Vizio P702ui-B3 will take those platforms and make them better! We can’t wait for 4K Blu-ray!

Settings

No Picture Mode Management settings were changed. Probably best to consult a professional calibrator.

 


Posted by The HT Guys, October 24, 2014 2:56 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.