We are often asked for television recommendations, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify why someone should spend a lot of money on a big brand in India. There was a time when the best features and performance were reserved for premium TVs only, but the budget segment has since resisted these expectations. Nowadays, many brands offer affordable televisions with large 4K screens, intelligent connectivity and support for HDR. The Indian brand Vu has gone one step further with Cinema TV.
Price from Rs. From 26,999, the Vu Cinema TV series is, to the best of our knowledge, the cheapest TV series with support for Dolby Vision HDR. These products offer much more: 40 W sound output, the latest version of Android TV and apps for all popular streaming services in India. It all sounds great on paper, but is it too good to be true? Find out in our test of the Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV.
Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV design and specifications
First of all, the Vu 4K Cinema TV is available in three sizes – 43 inches, 50 inches and 55 inches – and all have LED backlit screens with 4K resolution. We had the 50-inch 50CA variant for review, which is priced at Rs. 29,999. The 43-inch and 55-inch options cost Rs. 26,999 and Rs. 33,999, respectively. Your choice should depend entirely on the size of your room and the space required for the TV – all three have exactly the same specifications, with the obvious exception of the screen size.
Regardless of which screen size you choose, the design is standard for all variants. There are thin edges on three sides of the screen, while the bottom is much thicker to make room for the four front speakers. Directly below is a module in which the IR receiver for the remote control and the operating display is located. There is a Vu logo on the left side of the speaker grille and a Dolby Audio logo on the right side.
We liked the golden accents and the black and gold color combination of the body that give this TV a unique look that will appeal to many people in India. The included stands for table mounting the TV are gold colored too, although we didn't use them as we had the TV mounted on the wall during our review. When you mount the TV on the table, you need a wide table because the stands are near the edges of the TV.
The Vu Cinema TV is not too thick, but also not a slim TV. The back is made of black plastic and all connections and sockets point to the left. There are three HDMI ports. two USB ports; an ethernet port for wired internet connection; an antenna connector; a TOSLINK connector for digital audio output; a 3.5mm audio output jack; and a single AV input that requires the use of an included 3-to-1 adapter to connect to older standard resolution source devices.
The TV has a 4K LED screen (3840 x 2160 pixels) with a refresh rate of 60 Hz. You get 40 W sound output via a setup with four speakers, which consists of two 15 W main drivers and two 5 W tweeters consists. Dolby Audio and Dolby Vision HDR are supported by the TV and the brightness is rated at 500 nits. HDMI ARC and Bluetooth 5 are also supported. The TV has 1.5 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage for apps and an unnamed quad-core processor. The 50-inch version that we had for review weighs 9.6 kg without a stand, which is quite light for a television of this size.
Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV remote control and functions
The Vu Cinema TV has some basic functions that are common to all Android TV devices, e.g. B. the integrated Chromecast functionality and Google Assistant. The former allows users to transfer screens from cell phones or tablets directly to the TV, while the latter allows you to control the TV and select content using voice commands. The microphone for Google Assistant is on the remote control. However, you can connect the TV to a Google Home device and also use it for voice commands. This method worked for us as expected. You also get HDMI-CEC compatibility on the Vu Cinema TV.
The remote control that comes with the Vu Cinema TV looks interesting. It fits the black and gold color theme of the TV. It's not one of the best remote controls we've used when it comes to quality and feel, but it did the job with no problems. It uses both Bluetooth and IR and has controls for everything we may need, such as: B. Android TV navigation buttons, a D-Pad, a number pad, a Google Assistant button, playback controls and buttons for settings and information.
The remote control of the Vu Cinema TV has hotkeys for Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play Movies. We have used it a lot, although getting started with these apps via the Android TV interface itself is not too difficult.
The remote control is powered by two AAA batteries, which are included in the scope of delivery. Everything worked as expected, including voice recognition and the ability to use the remote without pointing it at the TV (of course after turning it on). While other manufacturers rely on minimalism with their remote controls, we appreciate that Vu is sticking to a more traditional one. It may not look as elegant as some others, but it is much easier to use and faster to get things done on TV.
Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV software and interface
The term “smart TV” is broad and usually refers to any television that can connect to the Internet to access content. The better software implementations we've used on smart TVs include Android TV, an operating system developed by Google, and a user interface. The Vu Cinema TV series runs on the latest version of Android TV – version 9 – with the standard Android TV launcher and access to all common apps and services on the platform.
Some apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are pre-installed on the TV and may support 4K, Dolby Vision and HDR streaming, provided your subscription plans and your internet connection support high-resolution streaming. Other apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android TV.
Android TV's app catalog is growing rapidly, and you'll find official, well-designed apps for most popular streaming services in India, including Hotstar and Zee5. There's also a huge list of games and short video providers like Red Bull TV and Facebook Watch. All the apps we tried on the Vu Cinema TV worked well and were easy to navigate using the remote control.
While all settings for the TV can be accessed via the Android TV start screen, the picture and sound settings can also be adjusted while playing certain content via an app or when using an external source device. We really appreciated this. As we saw on other TVs with Dolby Vision, the Vu Cinema TV locked some picture settings when Dolby Vision was active, as this mode sets its own picture settings.
Another useful feature is the quick wake-up mode, in which the TV only switches to standby mode when the power button on the remote control is pressed. This means that in most cases the TV will restart almost instantaneously. Otherwise, it will take about a minute to start the TV when the device is turned off.
The Vu Cinema TV software experience was excellent for us, with responsive controls, no lag or stuttering, and no performance issues during our reporting period. In addition, the lack of an additional launcher user interface above the standard Android TV interface made for a clear, user-friendly experience, without having to rely on external streaming devices to access good online content.
Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV performance
Affordable televisions are at least good enough on paper these days to be equated with premium options, but many of them are inadequate in terms of performance. The Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV exceeds its weight and offers a picture quality that we have not seen at this price.
It's certainly not on par with options that cost twice as much, but it outperforms other Sub-Rs. We have used 30,000 TVs so far. Some important parameters that went particularly well are colors, sharpness and brightness.
For our tests, we started with the best possible content that we could play on TV – 4K Dolby Vision. Starting with the Adam Sandler star Uncut Gems on Netflix, we were impressed by the brightness and color accuracy of the Vu Cinema TV. The daytime scenes in the jewelry district of Manhattan were bright and effectively captured the essence of the New York concrete jungle. Skin tones and brightness were also spot on, with the TV effectively distinguishing between light and dark areas in the same picture.
Day colors and bright scenes were once again excellent when we saw Night On Earth, a new mini series for nature documentaries on Netflix. However, this show focuses on what happens at night, and this is where the TV's first major drawback appeared – the black levels. The Vu Cinema TV had trouble producing deep black, and night scenes with many black zones looked rather dark gray. This also means that the contrast is somewhat impaired, but at least with this content, Dolby Vision's 12-bit HDR encoding has somewhat offset this.
The first episode of the second season of Narcos: Mexico looked great on TV, but we noticed some movement issues while watching the show. Time lapse was not rendered as intended despite the motion processing settings being turned off, causing jitter and some artifacts on the screen. Smooth movement was not a problem at all, and we really liked how Vu Cinema TV ran with set-based shows like The Office and most of the videos that we saw on YouTube.
We then watched an episode from season two of Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video to test performance with 10-bit HDR. It wasn't quite as bright and color accurate as Dolby Vision content, with colors that looked a little over the top, but the performance was still excellent. The 4K content provided a sharp, detailed picture that was easy to see from close up.
This television has a nominal brightness of 500 nits and was in fact significantly brighter than other televisions that we tested in this price range. This was especially useful when you watch TV with the windows open during the day and made for a lively and enjoyable experience when using Dolby Vision content. The Vu Cinema TV didn't get quite as bright or detailed as high-end televisions, but it definitely exceeded our price expectations.
Lower resolution content was of course not as impressive as 4K HDR content, but still satisfactory. There was some blurring in Full HD video, especially in the darker scenes of Season 2 of The Purge on Amazon Prime Video. Movement problems were less noticeable in Full HD, but definitely existed.
The black levels were significantly worse for Full HD and standard definition videos than for Dolby Vision and HDR content. Other than that, the colors were decent enough, the sharpness was as expected, and the viewing experience was acceptable. Some standard definition videos that we streamed through Hotstar and the NDTV app for Android TV showed some artifacts due to the quality of the streams, and we found that SD content on YouTube was a little cleaner to watch.
The Vu Cinema TV has exceeded our expectations not only in terms of screen, but also in terms of sound. With a power of 40 W via four front speaker drivers, the TV delivers impressive audio data and can be very loud. The speakers produce a soundbar-like, broad sound with a good mood, which ensures clear voices and razor-sharp soundtracks and effects. The lack of dedicated woofers means that the sound is not so loud, but this is offset by a good sound stage and a good sense of direction. Viewing content with Dolby Audio sound was slightly better, which gave the TV a better sense of direction and character.
The Vu 4K Cinema LED Android TV checks many boxes in terms of functions and performance and this at a very competitive price. No other television in India (which we know of) offers Dolby Vision at this price, and this alone makes Vu Cinema TV our current top choice for less than Rs. 30,000. Even the 55-inch version – at the price of Rs. 33,999 – would be excellent value for money, as it offers more functions than its cheapest competitor, the Mi TV 4X 55 (test).
This TV is not perfect, with below-average black levels and nervous movement across resolutions. However, it does provide the basics for picture and sound performance, and the excellent Android TV software and interface are the icing on the cake. If you are looking for an affordable TV with many features, this is definitely worth a look.
Price: Case 29,999 (Vu 50-inch 4K Cinema LED Android TV 50CA)