It is hard to deny the winds of change that have blown over the smart TV ecosystem in the past 12 months. And the best news to come out of it was the fact that genuinely good smart TV became truly affordable. In fact, you can now take your pick from multiple options if you want a 55-inch TV, complete with the bells and whistles such as a 4K panel, HDR capabilities and the ability to run smart apps, for less than Rs 50,000. A couple of years ago, such a deal would have been largely impossible to cobble together. There are a lot of brands which we must give due credit to. Xiaomi, Sanyo, Kodak and Vu are some brands that come to mind. But that is all fine and dandy till the now Chinese owned German TV brand Metz comes into the picture. And the game just gets turned on its head, particularly once you experience the latest Infinity Screen line-up of smart TVs. To be specific, we are talking about the latest 4K TV line-up.
The Metz TV line-up offers two 4K options—one in 55-inch and one in 50-inch. The MG50G2 is priced at Rs 36,990 while the MG55G2 costs Rs 42,990. Now this is fantastic pricing. I would believe that Xiaomi’s very competent Mi TVs come the closest to these Metz beauties in terms of the competition—because not all TVs and the experience they offer, are the same. And the closest that Xiaomi gets you for a comparable 55-inch screen is the excellent Mi LED TV 4X Pro 55 which is priced at Rs 39,999. At present, the 50-inch option isn’t 4K, but Full HD only.
Let us look at the headline specs of the Metz TVs, the 50-inch and the 55-inch 4K ones. For starters, you get the complete Google Android TV platform as the foundation for the smart TV experience. That means you get to seamlessly download and use the popular streaming apps such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Zee 5, Sony Liv, Hooq and more. While Amazon Prime Video isn’t available on the Play Store for some perplexing reason, you can easily sideload the Android TV version of the app and it works seamlessly once you sign in with your account. The LED panels that Metz are using with these TVs are top notch in terms of the quality and viewing experience. I was quite impressed with the excellent Metz 65Q4A TV last year, and this time around, everything is better. The remote has voice command key as well as shortcuts for Netflix and Google Play Movies apps. And the TV supports DTS Trusurround Sound.
Many an affordable TV have flattered to deceive us in the past—it becomes all too apparent that the display panel used by many of them just isn’t good enough in terms of the colours, skin tones, viewing angles and contrast. This is where Metz has always impressed me. The panels in use are extremely high quality, and there is no hint of the company trying to save money on the one feature that matters more than others. This LED panel has the 3840x2160 resolution and supports HDR too. The very first time you watch something on this, you would immediately notice how bright this panel is, and how crisp the visuals look. This is when you would enter the fairly detailed picture settings menu and tweak this to suit your viewing requirements. And everything becomes even better.
There is a feature called Trochilus Extreme picture engine, which uses complex machine learning algorithms to detect the composition of the visuals as they change, and controls the contrast, skin colour and colour accuracy constantly.
Hook up the Metz M55G2 Android TV with a Nvidia Shield console for 4K HDR content and the Sony PlayStation 4 for gaming, and the experience all around is pristine. The way the Metz TVs manage to handle the scaling of HD and lower resolution content on the 4K panel just makes the investment all worth it. There is almost no disturbance or artifacts showing up with the visuals. Be it bright and rich visuals of a movie or a TV show or something that is more fast moving as an action movie or a football match, the detailing is never compromised. At no point did we notice any ‘tearing’ or judder—this happens in TVs that have panels which struggle to match the frames the content demands.
If I am to compare this with a Sony Bravia 4K TV and a Samsung 4K LED TV, the detailed and friendly picture that the Metz M55G2 4K Android TV reproduces is closer to the latter—and that is most certainly job well done.
The one nitpick that I have is that when accessing the streaming apps off the TV itself, there is no way to access the picture settings at that time—at least we couldn’t find one. I would have loved that option, since I like tweaking the picture till it is exactly what I need.
While Metz and Mi TVs both run the full Google Android TV platform, the latter has to make do right now without support for Netflix. The M55G2 4K Android TV gets Netflix preloaded, and you can download pretty much every other streaming app that is available on the Google Play Store for Android TVs. This is what makes Android TV perhaps the best smart TV platform, even though LG (WebOS) and Samsung (Tizen) may have something to say about that. For some reason, Amazon Prime Video refuses to show up on the Play Store on the TV, but you can simply download it and sideload on the TV—and that is a box ticked off additionally. Now what you have are all the streaming apps ready for you. For someone who has cut the cord on separate DTH connection, this sort of convenience really matters a lot.
And if you dream of having just a single remote for your TV viewing, then that might just come true too. The built-in speakers on the Metz M55G2 4K Android TV are significantly better than I had expected. In fact, you can even make out distinct appearances of the lower frequencies as well, which is a welcome addition while watching movies. You can very well do without a soundbar or home theater system (and the remote that comes as a necessary addition) for most viewing scenarios.
As far as the design goes, the Metz M55G2 4K Android TV is a looker. This will be right at home in your living room, rest assured. The incredibly thin bezels do stay out of the way effortlessly, and the brushed metal finish adds a visual touch to the entire persona. The minimalism of design is what stands out. Speaking of stands, the table top stand attachments have a curved base, which adds some action to an otherwise very sophisticated and understated design. That said, these are installed close to the edges of the frame, which means you will need a table as wide as the TV to safely place this.
Last year, when Metz made its first foray into India, the consumer preferences in India were still going through a transition. The newer brands were coming through with TVs at more affordable prices, and the brands we had trusted all this while for our precise ‘idiot box’ requirements were facing new competition. Here and now, the transition is complete. No one minds saving a bit of money to get an acceptable large TV viewing experience on a budget, if the 4K capabilities and a large screen are ticked off. The Metz M55G2 4K Android TV and the Metz M50G2 4K Android TV are two great options to consider. Fantastic picture quality, a slick Android TV experience and very good audio to go with that. These TVs have it spot on, and anything else that you may find to criticize about these will be nothing more than nitpicking.