LAS VEGAS--Today Vizio announced that it would join the other big TV makers in offering a 4K television in 2013. Its XVT series will ship sometime this summer, and currently the company says it will include 65- and 70-inch members.
UHD/4K in this case means a pixel count of 3,840x2,160 -- four times as many pixels as today's 1080p TVs. The advantage, according to its proponents, is an even sharper picture. One problem, according to us, is that you'll have to sit very close, especially to a screen this small, to appreciate the difference. There are many other issues, too, to the extent that we currently consider 4K TVs pretty stupid.
Pricing was not announced yet, but if Vizio's history is any indication, the XVT series will be among the least expensive 4K TVs available. That said, makers like Westinghouse and Hisense have already announced 4K models as well, and they could easily challenge Vizio in its traditional value-first role.
Aside from resolution the XVT has a few other picture-related bonuses, the foremost being local dimming (16 zones) from its edge-lit LED backlight -- the same technology that caused us to laud the picture quality of the 2012 M3D0KD series. It also has a 240Hz refresh rate and passive 3D. I expect no fewer than 21 pairs of passive glasses in every box, one for each Duggar.
Vizio also mentioned that like all of its 65-inch passive 3D TVs, the 4K XVT will have the glass pattern retarder finish, which results in the glossy screen we disliked so much on models like the M3D651SV. Mercifully the 70-incher will have a matte or at least semi-gloss film pattern retarder, like on the M3D0KD.
Vizio also promises to include all of the extras found on the step-down M-series models, including the Wi-Fi remote (no QWERTY anymore this year) and augmented Smart TV suite. It also specifically mentioned UHD/4K input capability, although I'm not sure yet whether that means it will handle a 4K source at 60fps (something many other 4K TVs apparently cannot). Styling is also quite similar to the M models, and Vizio specifies a "visible bezel" width of 2 millimeters.
As an aside Vizio will also show a prototype 4K 55-inch TV with glasses-free 3D capability. I'll have a hands-on look at that later in the week. And if you're interested in TVs that will actually ship, check out our write-ups of the all-new M-series and mostly new E-series models.