In late 2014, Vizio released the P Series, a line of 4K TVs aimed at consumers still gun-shy about the steep prices of UHD televisions. The P Series was cheaper than any other 4K series available, and it wasn't even close. Not only that, but the model we reviewed scored very well on our tests. Now, just a few months later, it's clear that Vizio's attempt to disrupt the market was a success.
Enter the Sharp LC-65UB30: a 65-inch 4K TV that will retail this year for $2,299—just $100 more than the 65-inch Vizio P Series. We spent some time with the UB30 on the floor of International CES 2015.
The Looks & Experience
If there's one area where Vizio's P Series fell short it was the physical build of the panel and the stand. Despite the P Series' superb performance, we felt as though Vizio cut corners on aesthetics. The material was comprised mostly of a chintzy, hollow-feeling plastic that did not reflect the quality of the TV's picture.
The UB30 is much more sturdy. We were impressed by how sturdy the UB30 looked and felt to the touch. The stand is comprised of two angular, wide-set feet built from glossy black plastic. If you like your TVs thin, the UB30 might not be ideal, since the panel is thicker than most of the higher-end TVs coming out in 2015. But this design is necessary to accommodate the UB30's local dimming feature. The bezel's not particularly thin either, but it doesn't distract from the TV's impressive picture.
Other than its 4k resolution, the most important performance feature packed into the UB30 is local dimming technology, which automatically adjusts the brightness of the panel's LEDs. TVs equipped with local dimming will enjoy better contrast, since the panel can more accurately replicate very bright and dark areas of the picture.
On the trade show floor, the LC-65UB30 was positioned near some TVs that don't feature local dimming, and the difference in picture quality was immediately noticeable, even to the untrained eye. The UB30 produces a deep black level with bright, contrasting highlights, and although an LED's contrast is not as impressive as an OLED, the UB30's local dimming takes it to a pretty impressive place.
The UB30 also comes equipped with Revelation Upscaler, Sharp's upscaling software. However, this being CES, Sharp was only displaying native 4K content on the UB30, so I cannot speak to the quality of the upscaling software.
Without proper testing, it's impossible to determine the level at which the UB30 is performing, and more specifically, how it stacks up against a comparable TV like the P Series. To the naked eye, the UB30's picture is very impressive—there's no doubt that local dimming does wonders for a TV's contrast.
That said, I can report that, aesthetically speaking, the UB30 has got a leg up on the P Series. It's simply a much prettier, much sturdier television. If you're torn between the P Series and the UB30, or if you're just looking for an inexpensive, entry-level 4K TV, I would highly recommend holding off your purchase until we review the UB30 this spring.