Vizio and UHD Alliance in serious disagreement on 4K “UHD Premium” Standard specs

by on March 28, 2016

Stephan Jukic – March 28, 2016

The UHD Alliance released their recommended specs for 4K “UHD Premium” certification by the major consortium of consumer electronics manufacturers and media companies at CES 2016 in Las Vegas in January, some of the largest players in these industries were represented, particularly 4K TV makers like Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG and even lower profile companies like Sharp and TCL.

The new UHD Premium standards, which you can get a more detailed look at here, cover the whole range of 4K ultra HD home entertainment specs for resolution, peak luminance, high dynamic range, black levels and color gamut quantities for WCG. Companies which comply with these standards will then be marked with a UHD Alliance-certified “UHD Premium” logo designating their products’ top notch 4K TV display chops.

However, one major player was oddly absent at the CES proceedings and ever since then. This company is 4K UHD and HD TV maker Vizio, and considering that they’re one of the biggest manufacturers of 4K TVs in the U.S, the lack of presence was definitely unusual.

However, there is a reason for this. Quite simply, Vizio disagrees with the UHD Premium program of the UHD Alliance and considers it to be problematic for a number of reasons, about which the company is finally speaking out publically.

According to recent declarations by Vizio spokespeople,

“Vizio sees value in the industry specifying a premium experience for consumers but the “Premium 4K” certification program proposed by the UHDA falls short and has serious problems. The UHDA program does not sufficiently detail how to measure for or specify items like peak brightness or black level and as a result, certifies some products that we don’t believe should qualify for a UHD Premium certification and would ignore other products that should be certified”

In other words, it’s apparently not that Vizio thinks the UHD Premium standard is too strict for its TVs to handle, the company instead thinks it’s too fuzzy to be taken seriously across the board.

The UHD Alliance's UHD Premium logo for compatbile 4K TVs

The UHD Alliance’s UHD Premium logo for compatbile 4K TVs

More specifically, Vizio is calling out the UHD Alliance on their requirement that peak brightness for 4K TV set s be at more than 1000 nits. According to Vizio, the UHDA bases their measurement only on the center brightness of the TV in question without taking into account effects on surrounding black levels.

Vizio also voiced displeasure at the dynamic range specs of the UHDA, claiming that even their Reference Series premium 4K ultra HD TVs, with a contrast ratio of “800,000:1” don’t meet the standard because the UHDA sets a minimum contrast setting by their UHD Premium spec for LCD TVs of 1000+ nits max brightness against 0.05 nits of minimal black level. This argument for contrast disagreement seems a bit unusual on Vizio’s part to say the least, since other major brands like Samsung and Sony seem to have no problem meeting the UHD Premium standards on peak brightness and black levels.

Nonetheless, Vizio further states that, “As a result [of their disagreement with UHD Premium specs] Vizio, remains focused on the Dolby Vision format at this time, as we feel it is technologically superior and has substantially better picture quality resulting from a proper implementation of high dynamic range and extended color gamut”.

Interestingly, while Vizio defends their application of Dolby’s version of HDR and enhanced color, Dolby itself is also an active UHD Alliance member.

If some of the above arguments from look to you as if they tend toward defensiveness against an arguably excellent new TV display standard, you wouldn’t be alone in this view. The UHD Alliance is having none of Vizio’s claims and has responded accordingly:

“The UHD Alliance respectfully rejects the premise of its Vizio colleagues. The full UHDA specification and testing protocols — developed collaboratively by the world’s leading television manufacturers, technology companies and major Hollywood studios — are made available only to testing centers and licensees, and the assertions and assumptions with regard to UHDA testing are inaccurate.”

The UHD Alliance’s response to Vizio further notes that the UHD Premium spec is format agnostic and goes on to say that UHD Premium is designed for the sake of “making a television’s specific implementation of HDR technology irrelevant to Ultra HD Premium certification.”

In essence, the Alliance doesn’t care what technology a company uses to implement UHD Premium specs, so long as the base numbers for those specs are applied.

In other words, it’s possible that Vizio is trying to justify an unwillingness to make specific efforts at an established series of metrics for 4K TV display quality.

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  • Lee
    March 31, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    In essence Vizio is all over the place. Either making a UHD severely over priced or making extremely cheap corner cutting ones which people love because of the price. Why don’t they just spend the money, make high quality UHD’s and put everyone else to shame. If they can do that. Which I really doubt it.


    • John
      July 2, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Vizio is a leading manufacturer solely because they keep their price points down. Yes. They do make nice TVs that can compare with the more expensive competition. But, I bought a tcl p605 because everyone was saying how great it’s uhd quality was for only 600. And recently I purchased my real choice which is the Samsung Qled. Alone the tcl is fantastic with great picture quality and DV support. But, the uhd certified Samsung is a nicer looking image with brighter spectral highlights and richer colors. I think Vizio is too cloy to just say they would have to raise the prices of their TVs to meet the qualifications


  • Charles B.
    April 23, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Very Happy with my Vizio P series TV, crystal clear 4k and excellent upscaling. Wide viewing angle. Best 4k for the money.
    Shop around and compare. That’s what I did. No

    Fun seeing old movies and televison shows much clearer. Friends and families and members are shocked in a good way.

    I have a Motorola X Pure phone with a 21mb pixel camera and 4k. Awesome looking a the photos and videos on the Vizio

    “More specifically, Vizio is calling out the UHD Alliance on their requirement that peak brightness for 4K TV set s be at more than 1000 nits. According to Vizio, the UHDA bases their measurement only on the center brightness of the TV in question without taking into account effects on surrounding black levels.”

    Make sense to me. I have no problem with the brightness. It’s adjustable. Vizio occasionally sends updates to the TV through the internet. XLNT customer service.


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