Hisense 65Q8 UltraHD TV

Hisense 65Q8
SBA
9.4
Awesome!

Some of us are old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” meant cheap and cheerful. And then, over the years, “Made in Japan” came to mean quality. Hisense is a Chinese brand. It has long since ceased to be cheap, although the pricing generally remains pleasing. And I think it is now nearing the completion of that journey to quality. Which brings us to the Hisense 65Q8 ULED TV.

Hisense 65Q8 features

“Q” is, for the moment, Hisense’s premium range. (Expect later this year its OLED-challenging ULED “Dual Cell” TV.) Let’s briefly run down the features of this year’s Q8 range from Hisense’s product page for this TV:

  • “Full Array Local Dimming Pro” – since LCD screens can’t fully block light, they tend to be rather grey in what are supposed to be black areas of the picture. One way of overcoming this is to use a grid – array – of lights behind the screen and dynamically adjust the individual brightness of each so as to improve picture contrast. Hisense is coy about precisely how many dependent zones are lit, but puts it at “more than 100”.
  • “Quantum Dot Colour” – by exciting carefully chosen molecules, precise wavelengths of light are created which improve the performance of the red, green, blue colour filters, and also increase the efficiency of the panel.
  • “Dolby Vision HDR” – they’re Hisense’s words. Dolby Vision is a kind of superset of HDR. HDR uses ten bits per colour, rather than eight. That makes for 1024 levels for each primary colour rather than 256. And that makes for a billion colours, and many times the number of levels between full black and full white. That in turn eliminates paint-by-the-numbers colour banding, permitting smoother colour and brightness graduations. Dolby Vision extends that to twelve bits – 4096 levels per colour, 68 billion colours – plus implements a scene-by-scene sliding scale optimised for the content. No banding. Just smoothness from black to white and across each colour.

Yet more features

  • “Anti-Glare Screen” – improved from last year, Hisense says that it only reflects 1.5% of incident light.
  • “Dolby Atmos” – the writeup is a little florid for a system limited to built-in speakers.
  • “Powered by VIDAA 4” – that’s Hisense’s smart TV operating system, although some other Hisense models use Android instead. This year VIDAA has been completely reworked from previous models.
  • “Freeview Plus” – these are the smart TV additions to Australian broadcast TV, allowing streaming of certain TV shows and an enhanced EPG. Initially I thought this wasn’t working, since the Freeview Plus logo wasn’t appearing when I switched to ABC and SBS. Stabbing the colour buttons didn’t do any good. But before writing it off, I went searching through the setup menu and found (under System/Application Settings) a button to turn on HbbTV. That stands for “Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV” and is the system upon which Freeview Plus is built. (This really should be switched on by default in an Australian model.)

Other features Hisense mentioned in a briefing were 1000-nit peak brightness and front-firing speakers. Plus there’s a low latency games mode.


Hisense 65Q8

“65” is the size (in inches) of this TV. It’s priced at just under $2.5K. There are also versions in 55 inches (~$1.8K), 75 inches (~$3.7K) and 85 inches (~$5.5K). That price, just over five thousand dollars for an 85-inch TV, is simply astonishing. That’s just a little bit bigger than my projection screen.

Hisense 65Q8 control

The first thing I noticed about this TV and its current version of VIDAA can be summed up in one word: responsive. You press a button and the TV responds. None of that spinning-icon-thinking-about-it-stuff. Hisense has packed a decently power processor into this TV. It tells me that the processor is of its own design, rather than an off-the-shelf model. There are lots of apps already on the TV, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Stan, Tubi and so on. Several of those have dedicated keys on one of the two remote controls provided with the TV.

As it happens, the review TV didn’t have either of the real remotes, but a slightly different IR one. But the TV you buy will have two, one using IR and one using IR and Bluetooth. The latter is a “voice remote”. You can press a button and speak into it to talk to the TV. Why talk to it? Because the TV has Alexa built in. You can use Alexa to tell it to do things, even if you don’t have any other Alexa devices.


Hisense 65Q8

The Hisense 65Q8 TV also supports voice control from Google Home. But for this you will need to have a Google Home device to speak to.

Talking to a TV

Since I didn’t have the correct remote control, I could not test out how well it worked with Alexa. But I do have Alexa devices so I simply used those. I set up Alexa on the TV – you have to sign up for a free VIDAA account – and all went as smoothly as it can with Alexa. As usual, doing the whole voice control thing can be a bit hit-and-miss. Simple things like “Alexa, Mute HiSense” worked fine. But then I tried something a little more complicated: “Alexa, play Netflix on HiSense.” The Echo Show 8 to which I was speaking said “Okay”, and moments later the TV started showing … an episode of “Peppa Pig”. It wasn’t clear what service it was playing from. As always with voice control, just practice a bit and see what works. No doubt more functions will become available.

Google Home also worked, although I must note that the on-screen instructions on the TV left several steps out. I did manage to find the relevant bit of the Google Home app and enable the “VIDAA Voice” – not “VIDAA Voice (Australia)” – service. Here’s how: in the app go to the “Home” screen, then tap the settings cog at top right, scroll down to “Works with Google” then look for VIDAA under “Add new”. They’re the instructions that should appear on the TV’s screen. And, indeed, just this afternoon I spoke to Hisense Australia and pointed this out. They’ll almost certainly improve those instructions in a future firmware update.


Hisense 65Q8

Other network functions on the Hisense 65Q8

Oh, one more thing. When you’re setting up a new smart TV, you’re going to be typing in your account details (or registering for VIDAA or whatever). Arrowing around the onscreen keyboard is a pain. I plugged the dongle of a Logitech keyboard into one of the USB ports on the TV, and just tapped away rapidly with my various details.

I could stream photos, video and music from my NAS using uPnP software. My photo test pattern revealed that the TV scales photos directly down to UltraHD resolution and retains full colour resolution. Some TVs run photos through a 1080p bottleneck. Videos worked nicely too.

Watching stuff on the Hisense 65Q8 ULED TV

I generally run through a series of clips, which I’ve identified over the years, to check different aspects of pic;ture performance. So, of course, I did that with the Hisense 65Q8 ULED TV. First, how does the TV handle 576i50 video coming from an Australian DVD? Pretty well, as it turns out. This TV succeeded to produce a decent image even with DVD and SDTV input.

My rule is, in general, turn down the “Sharpness” control on a TV to zero. Typically they emulate old-fashioned analogue sharpening. But this TV managed to pull off the trick of producing effective sharpening, even of standard definition stuff, without the usual detail-mashing ghosting of most sharpening processes. I think this is to do with Hisense’s new AI upscaler.


In fact, all the picture processing stuff was up there with the best. Progressive scan conversion of Australian DVDs (576i50) and HDTV (and some Blu-rays – 1080i50) was very solid, with the TV judging the correct strategy to use on all but the most difficult elements. One weakness was at the start of Chapter 10 of the Miss Potter Blu-ray, which is in 1080i. As the camera pans down over the title character’s new home, most TVs get briefly confused as the pan draws to an end, and this manifests as a small wobble in the window frames of the house. But this TV managed to make the whole picture jiggle a little. Perhaps the AI was confused.

That said, that was the only truly weird behaviour. Although Miss Potter did have me tweaking the colour a little. The greens came on a little too strongly.

Also impressive was the motion smoothing. It introduced very little distortion in the picture.

Full array backlighting

I generally do my serious viewing in a darkened room, so any weaknesses in black levels are usually quite apparent. In fact, the black levels of this TV were generally very impressive. On a couple of dark scenes I did notice a little mottling, which looked like the backlight breaking through near the edges of the screen. Just a little. Oddly, it was reminiscent of what you see with some edge lit TVs.


Hisense 65Q8

But this TV uses a LED array, so I went investigating. Using a test “pattern” consisting of a fully black background with just two bright pixels, I could see that the local area lighting patches were quite small. My best estimate is that the backlight is constituted by a grid of LEDs, 16 LEDs wide by 9 LEDs tall. That makes for a total of 144 lighting zones. That’s quite fine discrimination. I think the mottled scene that troubled me must have had some low level picture information in certain areas that caused the backlights to illuminate.

I expect that the 55-inch model would have fewer zones, while the larger TVs would have more.

GadgetGuy’s take

All this means that the Hisense 65QW8 produces an extremely good picture. Add to that the strong smart TV functionality and the very respectable price, and Hisense clearly has a winner on its hands.

Hisense’s website for this TV is here.

Hisense 65Q8 UltraHD TV
Features
9.4
Value for money
9.6
Performance
9.4
Ease of use
9.2
Design
9.6
Positives
Very good picture performance
Strong network performance
Excellent value for money
Negatives
Should have HbbTV on by default
9.4
Awesome!
  1. My Hisense TV was awesome, whilst it worked. Good design, great picture, great (and fast) menu system and a good price. If the TV had actually lasted any length of time. It’s less than 4 years old, the power board has blown (through faulty design, resisters src as they are too close to. metal plate). I tried to contact them through their support, they eventually replied after a little nagging but essentially said “we can’t help, all you can do is throw the TV away”.

    If your Hisense TV works, it’s a great purchase but don’t expect it to last too long. If you need to contact them for anything, you’ll be lucky to receive a reply. Likely if you do they won’t be interested in helping you.

    In the long run, you’re better off paying what seems like a little more but when your TV lasts for double the time then it’s a bargain over a poorly made Hisense unit.

  2. The U.K release of the Hisense Q8 is compatible with google home/ assistant via Vidaa, but the Australian release is not.

    How did you managed to get it to work.
    Is there a firmware update?
    Or an update on the way that you know off?
    For the Australian market?

    1. Let’s get this clear – the UK Version does not work in Australia and has a different motherboard and DVB-T tuner. The closest to AU standards is Singapore with the DVB-T2 tuner.
      Having said that VIDAA should be the same. It supports Google Assistant via a Google speaker, not via the mic in the TV. I imagine that you simply add it to Google Home as a service.

  3. The U.K version of the hisense q8 is listed as compatible with google home app and assistant with the Vidaa voice match app, how did you get the Australian version to work as it was advertised to work but not compatible.

    Currenty at a loss as we baught ours 50% based on its use with our google network at home.

    Is there a firmware update hitting Australia that you know of coming soon? Or is there one out now?

    Regard tom

  4. Hi, thanks for all the reviews you post they are very helpful.
    I am trying to decide on my next TV, and was wondering what you would choose out of the following, without taking price in to consideration, just what you think is the best TV:
    ~ Hisense 65Q8
    ~ LG Nano 91 65′
    ~ Samsung Q80T 65′
    ~ Hisense Series X 65′ OLED

    Please feel free to throw in a recomendation that is not on my list if you think there is a better option in the $2k – $3k range.

    1. While I am being a little subjective as I have not seen all the TVs recently it would be dependent on what features you wanted. Let’s assume Dolby Vision/Atmos, 200Mhz motion smoothing, good AI/processing power and as you are including three Quantum Dot TV it really comes down to do they offer all you need and at what price?
      LG Nano 91 is a mid-range offering a great viewing experience all around. It would be my pick on specifications alone.
      Samsung does not do Dolby Vision (it does HDR10+ – its royalty-free version) and it is one step under the flagship Q95T. Great TV. No issues.
      Hisense 65Q8 should be the price leader but some reviews have said that its motion smoothing is not as good.
      Hisense OLED is a 2019 model using an LG Panel but last years tech. It will have the best image for sure and maybe the surprise choice if you can get it at the right price, e.g. below the LG. If you want to continue off-line email [email protected]

      1. Thanks very much for the detailed and prompt reply.
        I ended up purchasing a LG CX Cinema Series 55″ OLED.. lol 🙂
        Wasn’t even on my list but saw it on display in the shop and that was it for me.
        Cheers.

  5. Just bought one of the Hisense 65Q8, 4 days ago. I want to take it back already. It can’t handle motion very well. Something as simple as some waving it can’t keep up. I’ve had to turn the modes and settings right down for it to be smooth. I’m testing this on Netflix with a 4K uhd Spider-Man. Internet speed @78mbs Not that impressed. With a better processor would be good. But I just can’t watch a movie where it goes juddery all the time.

    1. Sorry to hear that. It advertises 200Mhz Smooth Motion Rate but in my opinion, the quality depends if it is simply BFI (black frame insertion) or more intelligent motion estimation (Iike LG does). Thomas Bartlett said it was pretty good. Try turning smooth motion off – if not take it back as you may have gotten a lemon.

  6. This review seems pretty lazy. No comparisons to previous year’s top of the hisense or the q8’s competition. Not much mentioned about hdr performance, it’s just over all a little blacking. I want to see a review with a bit more detail. I’m reading there is issues with the back light being too aggressive (for example the star field test kept switching the back light off) none of this seems to have been tested. Would of liked to see a nit level test to compare to other TV’s

    1. From Thomas: Thanks for the comment. First, re sport (for a later comment) the TV should be fine. The motion smoothing and deinterlacing largely determine performance of that, and they were both very good as mentioned in the review.

      I generally don’t compare TVs with each other on specifics, only in general. For example, OLEDs have perfect blacks because they light at the pixel level. So they are the benchmark standard. But as for comparing with last year’s models? I have a big problem about how many people review stuff, based on their overinflated beliefs about their own objectivity and memories. I don’t even remember if I reviewed a Hisense last year, let along how it performed. To do a comparison, I’d want to put two TVs side by side.

      That’s why I review things against a standard set of tests I’ve been using for more than a decade. And I review the things that are most important to picture quality. Motion smoothing systems that produce a ‘soap opera’ effect and other distortions really affect the viewing experience. So do progressive scan conversion systems that falsely treat film-sourced content as video sourced. The effects – moire and detail instability – are readily visible and irritating. Likewise, screen blackness – importantly, evenness of blackness – when viewed in dark conditions.

      Ultimate brightness I do not measure for several reasons. First, what are you measuring? Peak? How? Smart high-end TV systems are designed to allow a brighter than recommended peaks appear very briefly – explosions and so on – before dragging them back down to within panel spec. Gives a better subjective experience without doing too much damage. Ultimately, I hope, we’ll get to a point where we can have panels able to sustain a true 10,000 nits, as envisaged in the Dolby Vision spec. Be some years. Second, the difference between 700 and 1000 nits is far more subtle than people generally realise. Our eye response to brightness is logarithmic, so if your double the brightness, it will look only somewhat brighter. And then, after a few seconds as the eye adjusts, it will generally seem roughly the same brightness.

      Finally, I have a policy of not reading other people’s reviews. This has its good and bad points. It means that, as in this case, I may have missed a defect someone else has noticed. But having been doing this stuff for nearly a quarter century, I truly believe that the greatest problem in reviewing is groupthink. If I don’t know what others are thinking, you’ll be getting my own thoughts.

      1. I appreciate the response. Just a, quick couple of questions. I’m on a forum on whirlpool and they’re are a few people with this TV that are reporting what seems to be pretty bad banding issues. Did you notice this? They also mentioned problems with the back light on challenging videos like the starfield test. Did you notice any of these issues? Could this be down to panels issues (as not all panels are equal it seems) the TV sounds so good on paper but the banding issues could be a problem if it’s not just faulty panels and is a wide spread issue of the q8 model it’s self

        1. Hi Michael
          We did the starfield and banding tests and the 65Q8 passed both ($best price $2295). The backlight has around 144 FALD zones and that is more than adequate for Dolby Vision. We did experience some ‘mottling’ and we tracked that back to the content. If you are serious then go and have a look BUT ask for the TV to be reset from ‘store’ demo mode and put in standard mode. Its closest rival is LG 65NANO91TNA (Nano91) as a full backlit and its $3239 but Harvey Norman has it for $2695. Only you can say if it is worth $400 more but is has 200Mhz motion, Google Assistant, HDMI 2.1 etc.

    2. “Would of”? What’s with so many “experts” replacing “have” with “of” ? One could dismiss it in speech attributing to various accents.. but you actually spelt it too! kudos!

  7. P9 had a lot more backlight zones. Over 700. Odd 2 years later this is so few by comparison.

    At this price point would be interested to know how it compares to the LG Nano91 and Samsung Q80T.

    Plus no mention that it lacks hdmi 2.1

    1. The P9 was excellent with full-array back lighting (FALD) and the panel impressed the hell out of us – as the review mentioned. The S9 did not come to Australia and the S8 has local dimming – edge-lit with a few more zones than normal.
      At this stage, we have no way to measure HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 and Thomas was going from manufacturers specs. Our best guess is that it is 2.0 as that is all you need for [email protected] HDMI 2.1 is for 8K although LG is including it in its 4K 2020 OLED and NanoCell range. Dont get hung up over HDMI 2.1 on 4K TVs.
      Unfortunately more manufacturers are not publishing specs making our life a lot harder.

      1. Great that you deleted my genuine comment about the screen.
        Not sure why that is. Is this article really just an advert pretending to be a review?

        1. Let’s get one thing straight – we do not delete any comments unless they contain commercial links or are derogatory without good reason. We are the last deep-dive Australian review site enjoying a huge 93% credibility rating. Your comment is in the que to be answered.

    1. I just got a Q8 55 inch and I am disappointed with it. I find the SD free to air in particular to be too soft. Compared to my 2014 vintage Samsung its picture sharpness overall is inferior.

      1. Hi Nick
        Thomas Bartlett did the 65Q8 review and on the whole he is pretty accurate. Can I make a few suggestions. First reset the TV to factory defaults (it will be in the system settings). Check the image. If fine then – good. If not go to the picture menu (doing this from memory) and change the default from standard’ to vivid (or similar). If there are any sharpening sliders experiment with that. If you are unhappy then you may have the right to return it. My advice would be to look at the LG Nano86 or Sony 55×9000.
        But I suspect that its just setting issue.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of use
Design
Final Score

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.