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Vizio D series is a budget TV with real apps, but it's no Roku

With the entry-level D series you don't need to cast to watch Netflix, but Roku TVs have been our favorites in the past.

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David Katzmaier
David_Katzmaier.jpg

David Katzmaier

Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

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2 min read
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Vizio

Vizio TVs often do well in CNET reviews, but I'm not a big fan of the company's SmartCast function, aka "Chromecast built-in."

Unlike the Vizio E series, the D series doesn't use SmartCast. Instead there's a standard on-screen smart TV interface, which you'll use to launch and control apps such as Netflix. In general I find that a lot more convenient than using your phone, which SmartCast requires.

The best built-in smart TV system is found on Roku TVs, however, and they provide the D series' chief competition. Roku's app coverage is second to none and they're super simple to use.

But what about picture quality? Although I haven't tested one yet, I don't expect much difference between most sizes in the Vizio D series and basic Roku TVs from makers such as TCL. That's because most of these Vizios lack local dimming, which has the biggest impact on LCD picture quality.

Let's take a closer look.

Vizio D series 2017

Model SizePriceResolutionLocal dimming
D24h-E1 24-inch$140720pNo
D32f-E1 32-inch$2001080pNo
D39f-E1 39-inch$3001080pNo
D40-E1 40-inch$3201080pNo
D43f-E1 43-inch$3501080pNo
D43-E2 43-inch$4204KNo
D48f-E0 48-inch$4001080pNo
D50f-E1 50-inch$4201080pNo
D50-E1 50-inch$5004KNo
D55f-E0 55-inch$4801080pNo
D55-E0 55-inch$5704K10 zones
D65-E0 65-inch$9004K12 zones

The gaggle of models in Vizio's budget lineups can be really confusing, and the 2017 D is no exception. There's a wide range of screen sizes, many available in both 4K and 1080p resolution, and the biggest sets also have local dimming. And the models above aren't everything; I saw a handful on Vizio.com that aren't listed here.

I plan to review one or two models in the D series soon, which could help cut down on the confusion. In the meantime I'll default to my takeaway from the 2016 E series review: Not every TV in this series is created equal.