VIZIO’s latest high-end P-Series TV is one to impress. Through features like HomeKit, built-in AirPlay 2, Dolby Vision, 384 local dimming zones, and more, this screen is worthy of any home theater. Over the last several weeks, I’ve spent some quality time with VIZIO’s 2019-edition premium television, and it has reached the top of my recommendation list for a number of reasons. Keep reading to find out why I love VIZIO’s latest HomeKit-enabled 4K TV in our review.
Nomad Base Station
Note: VIZIO provided this P-Series review unit at no-cost to 9to5Toys. This review is our opinion only and is not sponsored content.
Initial set up
VIZIO makes the out-of-the-box experience quite fluid and easy, in my opinion. I set this unit up both ways you can; mounted on the wall and standing on an entertainment center. Mounting the bracket was simple, and the TV easily went onto the wall in place of my older VIZIO P-series. Once it was on the wall, I made all the necessary connections: Apple TV 4K, U-Verse receiver, Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, and NVIDIA SHIELD TV — though, I left off one piece of tech I used on my old TV, the Chromecast. VIZIO’s latest TVs have Chromecast built-in, so there’s no need for extra hardware there. Also notable here is the inclusion of AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support, though we’ll dive into that in a bit.
Once all of my devices were plugged in, I hooked up power and my Ethernet cable (though if you want, Wi-Fi is available), and powered the TV on. It went through some initial registration and setup, having me fill in a few prompts. Once that was done, and the TV did its initial software update, it was time to start poking around.
VIZIO’s HomeKit-enabled P-series 65-inch 4K TV (PX65-G1) Review
VIZIO offers an easy-to-use user interface
VIZIO’s smart TV operating system is called SmartCast, aptly named for its inclusion of Chromecast technology. Though VIZIO designed these TVs to be used primarily with Chromecast, there is an easy-to-use user interface. You’ll find a selection of top-rated TV shows and movies to watch, alongside several options when it comes to apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. This is great for those who don’t have a dedicated streaming media player like Apple TV, but generally, I don’t use the TV’s built-in UIs. The menus, however, I spend quite a bit of time in and I love the way VIZIO lays everything out.
Another great thing about newer VIZIO TVs is that your phone is also a remote. This goes under UI because you can avoid using the UI of the TV for quite a few things through the phone app. The app will give you full access to everything the remote would, be it volume or power controls, audio levels, playback buttons, or even menu options. If your remote can do it, so can your phone, and this is phenomenal for those (like me) who are always losing the remote.
Features and specs
VIZIO’s P-Series is the highest-end model that the company offers. With Quantum-X display technology, you’ll get a Dolby Vision and HDR10 panel capable of stunning images. The P-series fully supports Dolby Atmos over ARC, too, which is fantastic when paired with an Atmos soundbar. VIZIO’s P-series also features 384 local dimming zones, which is how it offers as deep of blacks as it does without being an OLED panel. Plus, the display offers an effective refresh rate of 240Hz with a ClearAction refresh rate of 960Hz. This will give you a buttery-smooth look when watching high-speed sequences of action or sports.
On the back of this TV, you’ll find five HDMI ports, all capable of Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10. There’s also Ethernet, optical audio, component, USB, and an OTA TV tuner port. One of the HDMI ports is ARC compatible, which is required for Dolby Atmos at the highest-end.
Though I have been a huge fan of OLED since its announcement, this TV does a fantastic job of delivering great color and deep blacks thanks to QLED technology. Whether you’re watching Dolby Vision-enhanced content or normal 1080p broadcasts on normal TV, this display is absolutely fantastic. I’ve not found that it really ever washes out color or blows out whites (or crushes the blacks)…that is, once you get the settings right. It probably took me a good 20 or so minutes to get the display settings to my liking, which you can see in the photo above.
Really, the local dimming is what takes the cake here. Basically, when you have an OLED panel, the only pixels that are on are those which need to be. This helps create a darker black by actually turning off pixels to create a deeper contrast in those areas, and making other colors, like yellow or white, brighter than things like blue. Standard LCD panels just can’t do that, as there is a backlight that goes across the entire display, lighting everything up. When local dimming was introduced, it allowed certain areas of the screen to dim or shut off the backlight, mimicking the OLED function at a fraction of the cost. Thanks to having so many local dimming zones, VIZIO’s P-series TV offers amazing contrast and deep colors without sacrificing the rest of the display’s overall brightness or clarity.
HomeKit and AirPlay 2 take center stage in our review of VIZIO’s latest
This is probably my favorite part of the TV, sans the fantastic display. At first, I almost wrote off VIZIO’s inclusion of AirPlay 2 compatibility and HomeKit in my review, as I already had an Apple TV 4K hooked up to this monster of a home theater setup. But, however, after using both for a few weeks now, I can absolutely say that HomeKit-capability is a must for my next TV purchase. Though AirPlay 2 is nice, I likely won’t make that a must (though generally HomeKit and AirPlay 2 come hand-in-hand.)
Why HomeKit is a must for my next 4K UHDTV
I love having a smart apartment, but having everything HomeKit-enabled is a must for me. Though I do use things like Google Assistant, which has been supported by VIZIO for quite a while, it’s just not as fluid.
I have a few HomeKit automations set up for my apartment. One such is that when I leave home, everything shuts off. Whether I left the bathroom lights on or forgot to shut the TV off, it all gets shut down when I leave, without a single prompt for me.
I also have a Philips Hue Switch by my bedside, which can be reprogrammed through the Home app on your iOS device. The third button on my remote I have programmed to shut everything down in the apartment. With a single tap, all lights, and devices, TV included, turn off. I don’t have to use voice commands, I don’t have to use a phone app, just a single tap shuts it all down, and it’s quite amazing.
Another great feature of HomeKit is being able to walk through the living room, see the TV is on, and raise my wrist to tell Siri “Turn the living room TV off” and watch guests get stunned as the TV shuts down. Siri expands even further by allowing you to easily change the inputs or volume of your home theater through voice, or even the dedicated Home app.
AirPlay 2 is nice, but it still won’t replace my Apple TV
AirPlay 2 inclusion is quite nice. There are times that I love to just toss content from my MacBook, iPad or iPhone to the TV. The thing is, I already had an Apple TV that could do just that.
This feature is really for those who don’t already have a dedicated streaming media player like an Apple TV 4K. Having AirPlay 2 on my TV is nice, but I just don’t really use it. My Apple TV provides a better interface, and frankly, is a bit quicker at completing tasks than using AirPlay 2-proper. If you don’t already have an Apple TV, however, AirPlay 2 works flawlessly. I’ve been able to easily pull up a movie from the TV app on my iPhone and hit “Living Room TV” to instantly start watching. Playback controls worked great, volume controls to change the TV’s audio levels, and it works exactly as you’d expect. But, if you have an Apple TV, you’ll likely find yourself using your dedicated device over your TV’s built-in AirPlay 2 more often than not.
VIZIO 3.1.2-Channel Dolby Atmos Sound Bar (SB36312)
Dolby Atmos is a must for a truly immersive experience
The soundbar paired with my PX65-G1 is VIZIO’s 3.1.2-Channel Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar. This means that there are three channels facing forward (center, left, right), one subwoofer channel, and two upward-facing channels (up left, up right). That’s right, this soundbar shoots audio at the ceiling (when watching supported content). This really gives you a much more immersive experience when enjoying your favorite Atmos-enabled movie. Because of this new technology, when a sound travels over you in a movie (think helicopter or plane), you’ll hear it as if it was actually over your head. This just adds to the immersion factor.
The subwoofer with this soundbar is insane. I’m a bass-head (read: I really enjoy deeper audio, as both of my vehicles are equipped with secondary subwoofers), so it takes quite a bit to impress me. Needless to say, VIZIO doesn’t disappoint. Normally, when you have a bundled subwoofer with a soundbar, especially one this small, you’d not expect much from it. I generally kept my sub turned mostly down, if not just a few clicks above 0. That’s more than enough for the average movie, and turning it up will provide seat-shaking entertainment. It’s as fun as it is loud, but do make sure to keep the sub turned down or it can easily drown out the movie.
If you’re wanting the ultimate home theater setup, you really can’t go wrong with either of these products. At first, I wasn’t entirely sold on the local dimming that this TV packs. I had in my head “OLED is the only way to really enjoy darker scenes”, but that’s just not true. Of course, OLED does offer deeper blacks and brighter colors than a normal LCD panel, but the local dimming and Quantum X technology here really did impress me.
Dolby Vision is another star of the show here, as it gives frame-by-frame dynamic adjustments, allowing for greater control over the scenes for a more real-to-life look. I vastly prefer Dolby Vision to HDR10, and it is really visible with this TV thanks to the local dimming zones.
Plus, with the inclusion of HomeKit and AirPlay 2, this TV blends super easily into my smart apartment, making it a cinch to not only watch content but also make sure the TV is never left on when I leave home.
All-in-all, for those who are searching for the ultimate home theater companion, but just can’t justify a 65-inch OLED TV right now, this is a great option that is bound to please. Plus, the P65-G1 and SB36312 are already getting discounted at retailers like Best Buy.
The VIZIO P-Series 65-inch 4K Dolby Vision Smart UHDTV is available at a retail price of $2,199.99, though it can often be found on sale at retailers like Best Buy
The VIZIO 3.1.2-Channel Dolby Atmos Sound Bar (SB36312) is available at a retail price of $469.99, though it can often be found on sale at retailers like Best Buy