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Fantastic TV -- Even more amazing given the price
on January 12, 2016
The color and black levels on this TV with local dimming are fantastic. Coming from my 6 year old LCD there is a huge noticeable difference.
I researched for months before deciding on purchasing this TV. The features in this set are comparable to those that cost twice as much (or more). Samsung TVs don't have FALD until you reach the JS9500, Sony doesn't have it at all, and LG you would have to shell out $3,000 for their 4k OLED TV to beat it. Vizio M series does have FALD, but there are only 24 zones (which I'll address shortly). Vizio's P series in 2014 did have more zones than the M series, but was missing in this years lineup. Perhaps in 2016 they'll reintroduce the P series that could rival this TV quality & price.
This TV should also be receiving an update enabling HDR. At CES last week, Hisense announced their entire 4k lineup will support HDR. But, they also acted as if the 55H9B2 and 65H10B2 were not yet available (they stated a Feb 2016 release date), so I'm holding my breath that this is actually the same model they were talking about. If this unit will truly be receiving an update enabling HDR, it will be by far the cheapest "true" HDR television currently available. By that I mean there are other televisions that technically support HDR, such as Sony's X850c, that aren't much more expensive, but they do not have FALD. You won't receiving much benefit from HDR if you can't properly use the enhanced contrast given to you from the HDR headers.
More on the Local Dimming zones -- the TV has 85 zones, which seems like a lot, but they are still fairly big zones. When there is a block of white text, there is a decent sized area around the text that you can tell the backlight is turned on. Imagine the Vizio M with only 24 zones, I'm not sure the local dimming would even be worth it. If you can afford it, the 65H10B2 has 240 zones (I think) and would likely be much better in this regard... But if you're spending that much, LGs 4k OLED would for sure be better quality.
Physically, this TV is very sleek and modern. I was apprehensive about a curved TV, but this isn't nearly as curved as some of the Samsung units that I have seen in stores. I wouldn't say the curve is a benefit, but I wouldn't say it detracts from the TV either. If anything, it being curved does impress visitors, even if it doesn't functionally do anything for you.
The speakers are decent quality for built-in, but they still can't be compared to having good externals -- or even a somewhat low priced (~$200) soundbar. I've been using the built-in speakers since purchasing the tv, and it's acceptable, but I can't deny that I miss the nice tower speakers I had previously setup.
The one major flaw I can think of is Hisense's support. I will not detract from my rating of the TV, since it is less to do with the TV and more with the company. I registered my TV to receive the extended (4 year) warranty. The registration page states you would receive a confirmation email. I never received one, and even tried registering again. I've reached out to support several times regarding registration, along with whether or not this is the same 55H9B series television being shown off at CES and have had no response.
So I am slightly worried that if there is a technical problem I may not be able to reach support, even with the fantastic warranty that is offered.
I emailed Amazon regarding their Amazon Instant Video app on the TV. Unfortunately, the app only supports 1080p and will not do 4k (and inherently would not do HDR if this TV does in fact support HDR -- still have not gotten confirmation on that front).
Here are some snippets from the response I've gotten:
"At this time, Ultra HD playback is only supported on the following Amazon Video compatible devices:
Amazon Fire TV (2ND Generation),Roku 4 and TVs
-- Samsung Ultra HD TVs (2014 models or later)
-- Sony Ultra HD TVs (2014 models or later)
-- LG Ultra HD TVs (2014 models or later)
-- Vizio Ultra HD TVs (2014 models or later)
To ensure utmost attention, I've forwarded your comments as feedback to the Amazon Instant Video Content Development team for future consideration.Thank you for taking your valuable time and writing back to us."
I think it would be a good idea for everybody to email them asking for an update to the Amazon Instant Video app to support 4K and HDR. The correct contact is email@example.com (found through the "Feedback" section on the help page of the TV application).
Just received the first firmware update for the TV (Had shown Current Version: V00.01.00a.F021, Latest Version: F07.21.-F1.211). The beginning of the release reads:
"This update makes some improvements to the update process itself in preparation for the 4K compatibility update soon to follow"
So it appears the update for more 4K supporting apps (hopefully Amazon), and HDR, should be coming soon.
I contacted support regarding a firmware update to enable HDR. The chat support told me the update was finished last week, and sent me request to tier 2 to have the firmware update sent to me. They have informed me that the update will be publicly available on Sept 16th.
After Sept 16th I contacted support again, and was told the update release was moved to Sept 30th. Today is Sept 30th, and I contacted support yet again, and I am now being told the firmware update will not be released until sometime in November.
Seems like they're having issues if it keeps getting pushed back