We’re at the cusp of bending screens and talkative AIs replacing young family members to do switch duties. Smart everything is the voice of 2020 and anything with a screen attached to it will respond efficiently and comes with pre-installed apps.
So how good is this 50in telly? Short answer, pretty damn good for the price.
The Vu Cinema telly is quite a looker. The narrow bezel design definitely adds to the pomp, but your eyes will immediately go towards the attached front firing speakers sitting below. It’s got grilles and golden accents for ostentation. Vu says it’s as good as a soundbar, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Since the Cinema telly is backlit, the rear is a bit thicker, but unless your favourite pastime is cable management, it’s not much of a concern to us at this price range. The body is all plastic and it rests on metal legs that are plenty stable. They’ve been given the golden colour treatment too, albeit, a subtle one. Thank you Mr. Designer from California.
So, down to business, how does the Vu Cinema 50in fare under Stuff’s scrutiny? We snooped around its Dolby Vision and Dolby sound to get some answers.
While streaming Men In Black 2019 in FullHD, the opening scene in Marrakesh clearly shows the amount of noise in dark areas with a single light source. It’s not pleasant and DNR barely makes any difference here, but we moved onto Dolby Vision and things improved quite substantially.
Night on Earth on Netflix supports Dolby Vision, so we hopped over to the Jungle Nights episode in particular where the Atlas moth flutters about in the moonlight. The scene accurately depicts the potential of this telly with Dolby Vision content. The moonlight doesn't bleed onto darker areas as easily as it would in Men In Black 2019. It's better than regular HDR but still not punchy enough. For the price, though, you'll not be disappointed on Netflix and its healthy list of Dolby supported content.
Sadly, you’ll mostly enjoy the telly for its worth when you’re sitting in the centre. The off-axis viewing is not good; a little shift away from the centre and the picture starts to appear foggy. The colour and blacks dull out and family viewing is just unpleasant. So expect a lot of push and shove for the best seats in the house.
What you get for ₹30K is also a solid built-in speaker. Those shiny golden accents hide a pleasant surprise and come with a fancy Dolby Audio tag too. It’s loud and has punchy bass when the Dolby Audio Processing is ‘On’ in the sound settings. We recommend sticking to that.
It won’t solve all your audio woes, because there’s no definition or clarity from the built-in speakers. Freddy Mercury’s performance in the final act of Bohemian Rhapsody shows how much of frequency hotch-potch can happen.
There’s a constant need to adjust the volume while watching Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix because amidst the thumpy intros, high-octane cuts and crew chatter, the speakers favour highs and lows – forcing you to turn up the volume everytime you want to hear F1 drivers share some insight.
However, these are still the best built-in speakers for the price and we’ll take it. Next.
OS and remote
The Android OS is clutter free and easy to navigate. There’s no problem with permissions and certifications for streaming apps because everything is supported, even Spotify, since it’s Android 9 out of the box.
The catch here is to not navigate too fast… Yes, we know this is oversimplified, but honestly, the processor shows its worth if you exit and enter apps like you would on your smartphone. I had that problem because I’m impatient unlike other members of my family who use smartphones at a non-aggressive speed. Bottom line is, navigating the UI gets a bit wonky if you push it but remains tolerable as long as you remain decisive.
The remote is fairly standard with nothing to complain about. It’s a dated design but we don’t mind. There are hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and Play Movies. We wish these remotes came with a programmable hotkey to assign an app or a preset, but not here. For now, though, the dedicated Google Assistant button might be of some use to you.
There are three HDMI ports at the back but none of them have ARC on this 50in model, so that’s quite a letdown for many of us. Then you have your regular fare of connections. A headphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports, an antennae port, a LAN port, an AV jack port with an adapter in the box, an optical port and, lastly, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
We even hooked it up to a Playstation 4 Pro to get our hands dirty in 4K gaming and came out quite happy. There were no signs of screen tearing and the telly held up a respectable 60Hz at all times.
The budget segment is getting favouritism with plenty of smart features, with 4K being the norm. For under ₹30K, we think this is one of the best TVs you can get and it comes with a respectable watered down version of Dolby Vision and Dolby Audio.
If you’re in love with streaming movies and shows, then this is quite honestly very good. Netflix and its 4K Dolby love is waiting for you. The telly doesn’t show any signs of dropping network and if your Wi-Fi router can pump out internet speeds on 5GHz bandwidth, then this will piggyback on that too.