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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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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 Size Price Resolution Local dimming
D24h-E1 24-inch $140 720p No
D32f-E1 32-inch $200 1080p No
D39f-E1 39-inch $300 1080p No
D40-E1 40-inch $320 1080p No
D43f-E1 43-inch $350 1080p No
D43-E2 43-inch $420 4K No
D48f-E0 48-inch $400 1080p No
D50f-E1 50-inch $420 1080p No
D50-E1 50-inch $500 4K No
D55f-E0 55-inch $480 1080p No
D55-E0 55-inch $570 4K 10 zones
D65-E0 65-inch $900 4K 12 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.

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