This TV is so big it sat on our entertainment unit hiding the 65 inch TV which is hanging mounted to the wall behind it. Going back to 65 inches now seems like something much smaller and it’s that room filling viewing experience which is driving more and more people to these ultra-large TVs.
At $6,499 it’s the most expensive Hisense TV you can buy, because it packs in every bit of technology the company has to offer.
While it doesn’t use the “QLED” tag Samsung and others like to slap onto their TVs, the ULED technology does have the Q inside – that being “Quantum Dot Technology” which helps make every single pixel on the screen seem brighter and more vibrant.
What Hisense would hope is that the 1056 zones the TV backlighting system is broken into will give you a viewing experience unrivalled in the Lead space. And it does a bloody good job – no doubt.
1,000 Zones of Dimming? What’s the big deal?
But let’s focus on that first. Remembering how OLED and LED technologies differ there’s a big gap between the basic concept of creating the blackest blacks on screen. OLED is unrivalled in its ability to shine light through each individual pixel, LED relies on some form of light shining through it which in this case is somehow done over 1000 different areas of the screen.
Some simple math tells me that with over 8,000,000 pixels on the screen each “zone” is going to be over 7,000 pixels – that’s hardly a dot on the screen. My idiots math tells me you’re looking at an area of the screen about 3x4cm in size. What that means is this TV can show a white dot on the screen and the only “bleed” of light would be within that 3×4 screen area.
I’ve been playing a bit of Far Cry 5 still lately – love it. There’s a great part of the loading screen in the game where a small white symbol appears bottom right of screen and spins. The rest of the screen is black. On an OLED every pixel that is white is white, every pixel next to it that is black is black. On the Hisense the “bleed” area – or greying around the white is minimised to the very corner of the screen. I don’t think it goes far past those 3x4cm areas around the white symbol.
It’s remarkable – on most LED screens I’m used to seeing the whole vertical area of the screen go grey – so the spinning circle plus the entire screen above it right to the top goes grey – this is because those screens use “edge” lighting to shine through the pixels. That Hisense have been able to minimise that bleed to such a small space is fantastic. It’s not OLED like – by any single stretch, but it’s bloody fantastic.
Picture Modes – designed for Football and Gaming
Given Hisense were official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup, it made sense to test it out during that event. I found it to be a great viewing experience.
Pressing the dedicated Picture Mode button on the remote brings up a menu for possible picture enhancements. Not unlike many TVs, something for the purist, the cinema buff etc. But on the Hisense ULED – Football Mode.
Immediately you get a boost in colour, but what you don’t know is that in this mode the TV has completely changed the way it’s presenting the picture to you. Normally the picture refreshes – or loads – from the top of the screen to the bottom. In Football mode it goes sideways – from left to right.
This reduces blur in fast movement, particularly football.
Then there’s Game Mode – no-where near as easy to find, Game Mode is deep in the settings and can be applied to a particular input.
Game Mode is for people with an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro – something that is outputting a solid natural 4K picture. Why should that picture go through all the onboard processing of the TV – it’s perfect! So Game Mode bypasses that and sends the image straight to the screen – this cuts out the smallest of picture lag which is critical in gaming.
Now that we’re pretty happy with the quality of picture, let’s look at this TVs party trick. Lost the remote? No worries! Download the RemoteNow app and you’re sorted.
This app is phenomenal – it gives me access to all my inputs, apps, channels, volume, a keyboard, mouse – whatever you need.
You can view program info, use all the interactive buttons and literally replace your remote with your phone.
We had some trouble establishing a connection at first, put the poor folks at Hisense through the ringer with replacement TVs and firmware, only to discover that it didn’t like the Orbi mesh WiFi network for some reason. They’ll work on that no doubt and fix it in another firmware upgrade. I got it going no problems on a Velop mesh network by Linksys.
The other thing you can do is share photos and video on the big screen, without the need for an Apple TV or Chromecast – this was spectacular and simple – it was like having a family slide night with just the one app in use.
A Smart Smart TV?
This year’s Hisense ULED TVs come with the next generation VIDAA interface. Frankly, it’s simple – and I like it for that!
There’s a horizontal bar of icons that appear when you press the home button. Arrow down with your remote and you can ADD a new icon which can be anything from an input, to an app, to a specific channel.
Customise the home bar icons to the regular things you use and this becomes a really useful and worthwhile TV interface.
Additionally, all the menu navigation on screen is large, simple and easy to find.
That big black bar underneath the screen isn’t decorative, it’s a soundbar, built in, forward facing sound.
Impressive levels, not quite surround or Dolby Atmos, but enough that you wouldn’t likely feel the need to rush out and get a n accessory Soundbar.
We watched a lot of Netflix 4K on this, and it was great, but it was when I connected the Xbox One X and threw up some big high end 4K gaming that I really started to appreciate this TV.
It’s enormous (a bit chunky side on too), it stands out, it gets attention – but not once did I think “that’s not a great picture”.
What I did wonder was how on earth I’d mount something so big on the wall! Sitting on it’s stand it leans back – and I would not feel super comfortable with it on the kind of narrow unit we had it sitting on for the couple of months it was here. Additionally, the soundbar is angled, so I worry that wall mounting would look strange? First world problems perhaps.
Comparatively if you had that coin, or were looking for an ultra-large TV, you’ll get Samsung or LG’s best 65 inch TV for around the same price, or Samsung’s third tier Q7 Series 75 incher at closer to Hisense’s RRP ($6,296)
It’s a very fine balancing act, but for $5505 it’s bloody compelling. Best of luck with that decision!
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.