You may consider a $3,500 TV expensive. But when the set in question features a 70-inch screen and every buzzword feature in LCD televisions, it’s a bargain.
Serious picture-quality innovations at the high end and insanely affordable prices at the low end make it a buyer’s market for TVs. But you’ll find the most exciting stuff happening between those two extremes, where you can find a great TV for not a lot of money.
Vizio remains a leader in offering great specs at great prices, but Hisense is encroaching on its turf. The Chinese brand is relatively new to the US, but the market leader in China and among the top five worldwide.
A few years ago, the first big wave of Hisense TVs to reach the US offered built-in Roku players at rock-bottom prices. Now the company is pumping out big-screen 4K HDR panels at prices that are more than reasonable for what you get.
The flagship 70-inch H10 is a flat-screen (as in, not curved) 4K HDR set. The H10 boasts quantum-dot color enhancement and a full-array backlight system that ramps up to 1,000 nits of luminance. The 320 zones of local dimming (that’s a lot) keep contrast sharp.
For high dynamic range video, the set supports the HDR10 format for HDR video–but no Dolby Vision. Hisense is having the set tested for THX certification, a grueling process that only Panasonic and Sharp 4K TVs have passed.
As a point of comparison, Vizio offers 65-inch ($2,000) and 75-inch ($3,800) versions of its high-end P series TVs, which have similarly bright backlight systems and local-dimming skills with a few key differences. Hisense trumps Vizio in local-dimming zones by a long shot, at 320 to 128. But Vizio’s sets support Dolby Vision HDR content in addition to HDR10. The Vizio sets also have a nice deal-sweetener with their built-in Chromecast features.
Unfortunately, the H10 isn’t among Hisense’s Roku TV offerings. Its smart platform uses Opera TV, which provides a few big-name streaming apps and a web browser. But at this rate, you may see the H10’s picture-quality features in next year’s sets at much lower prices, making 2017 an even better time to upgrade your TV.