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Vizio Reference Series: 120 Inches Of Ultra HD

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Holy shit, giant TV.

Vizio, TV upstart turned legit power, thinks it's made the best ultra HD TV, or at least the best to own. Maybe it did. This is the 120-inch Vizio Reference series TV. It's really impressive.


The Reference has an 800-nit display (this is brightness; your laptop's screen probably has somewhere between 200 and 400 nits, for example), and is broken into 384 discrete zones, which can be brightened or dimmed individually, which makes for better contrast. There is no pricing or release date beyond "second half 2014", but Vizio sounded confident that it would launch within its window, and that the Reference wouldn't be as unbelievably expensive as its size and profile would suggest. Being Vizio, that's probably true enough, but with UHD pricing, that leaves a lot of room to be accurate and still outrageously expensive. (Somewhat amusingly, apparently a big holdup on release is that no one had considered how to actually sell and ship this thing.)


Vizio is calling the Reference series the first ultra HD TV with true high dynamic range (HDR), though other sets out there have a feature that's similar. Vizio's version—powered in the Reference series by a processor called a V6, comprising a quad-core GPU and a dual-core CPU—actively scans each frame of a movie to come up with the best picture, and did look much more clean than a competing Samsung display we were shown side-by-side. To make sure that movies aren't being shoehorned into an algorithm, most content will also be remastered by the original studio. (Though he couldn't specify which, Vizio CTO Matt McRae told us that three of the big four are on board; this would seem to include Universal and Paramount, which had movies playing at the demos.)

The HDR and 384 zones make some scenes look ridiculously good compared to competition (which obviously didn't include anything being released this week here at CES). One, showing an explosion followed by actual flames shooting out a door, was able to show a load of detail without washing itself out. It also helps that the "Ultra Color Spectrum" panel, according to Vizio, displays reds better than any TV that's been released—everything else tends to display deep reds as a little orange. This looked fantastic in some scenes, but we'd also point out that in Oblivion, a movie shot with a deliberate cold palette, Tom Cruise's face looked way more ruddy than was probably intended.

It also comes with a modular 5.1 surround sound system, which we didn't get to hear.


The 120-inch version is accompanied by a 65-inch model, which also doesn't have a price or release date, though because it's easier to ship, this one should be coming a little earlier—"summer", or thereabout.