Vizio's 2019 TVs bet on Apple AirPlay 2, low prices to counter Samsung, TCL

Available now from $260, they all have 4K HDR with Dolby Vision, Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2. And the specs get better from there.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
4 min read

Vizio's new TVs work with Apple AirPlay to control TV from iPhones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Last year Vizio's customary place as best TV for the money was usurped by the TCL 6 series, which beat out Vizio's M-Series for CNET's Editors' Choice award.

Meanwhile, at the higher-end, an LG OLED got the award, but the superb Vizio P-Series Quantum earned a nod as the ideal OLED alternative for video-quality snobs without money to burn.

Now four series of new 2019 Vizios go on sale starting today, and all aim for the value bullseye. The budget models all have 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Google Chromecast built-in and Apple AirPlay 2, but Vizio's best chance to earn more awards comes from its midrange models. The company bumped up the brightness and local dimming zones while using quantum dots, and the word "Quantum" itself, with shocking profligacy.

Here's the rundown, starting at the top.

Watch this: Vizio debuts TVs with local dimming, quantum dots, AirPlay 2

Vizio's 2019 M-Series Quantum, P-Series Quantum and Quantum X TVs

Model Size (inches)Quantum DotsLocal dimming zonesPeak light output (nits)Price
PX75-G1 75Yes4802700$3,500
PX65-G1 65Yes3843000$2,200
P759-G1 75Yes2401200$2,500
P659-G1 65Yes2001100$1,400
M658-G1 65Yes90600$1,000
M558-G1 55Yes90600$800
M657-G0 65Yes20400$900
M557-G0 55Yes16400$700
M507-G1 50Yes16400$550
M437-G1 43Yes12400$400

Quite a lot of Quantums

Unlike Samsung, Sony  and  LG , Vizio won't sell any any TVs with 8K resolution or any of those fancy HDMI 2.1 features like auto game mode and variable refresh rate. But it makes up for the lack with dimming, nits and dots. The three series above have different levels of dimming zones -- more zones generally means better image quality, with more precise control of illumination -- as well as brightness. All include quantum dots for improved HDR color, which was a big weakness of earlier Vizios.

P-Series Quantum X: The successor of that sweet 2018 P-Series Quantum, the X is even brighter and comes in both 65- and 75-inch sizes (models PX65-G1 and PX75-G1) -- and un-Vizio-like prices. The 85-inch behemoth Vizio showed at CES in January will not ship this year. The PQX has Vizio's best specs yet, with searing light output and more local dimming zones than its predecessor. On paper it looks like another worthy challenger to the Samsung Q9 and the other best LED LCDs of the world, if not OLED itself.


Vizio's special demo screens show how local dimming only lights up areas of the screen that need it.

Sarah Tew / CNET

P-Series Quantum: Drop the "X" for a lower price, a dimmer (but still bright) image and fewer local dimming zones. This middle child lines up with the non-Quantum P-Series of 2018 on paper and looks like a similarly solid value. It improves on the M-Series Quantum with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 240 dimming zones, and comes in 65- and 75-inch sizes (models P659-G1 and P759-G1).

M-Series Quantum: Representing the biggest improvement over 2018's version, they range from 43 to 65 inches and have up to 90 zones of local dimming and 600 nits peak light output. As you can see from the chart above there's a lot of variation, with two different levels M's at the 55- and 65-inch size. The M658-G1 and M558-G1, available at most retailers, are brighter and have more dimming zones than the M657-G0 and M557-G0, which are available primarily at Wal-Mart. All have a native 60Hz refresh rate.

Apple AirPlay and HomeKit join Google Cast

Compared to Roku TV, Android TV and the proprietary systems used by Samsung and LG, Vizio's Smart Cast smart TV system has been disappointing. It's slower, has fewer apps and packs the home screen with shows and movies you probably don't care about. Vizio promises to improve responsiveness with a software update coming later this year -- we'll see.

In the coming weeks another update will add Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit compatibility. AirPlay 2 basically works just like the same feature on an Apple TV box, letting the TV function as a display for TV shows, movies, music, photos and web pages with an  iPhone iPad  or Mac as the controller. 


Vizio's SmartCast screen gets an AirPlay icon.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In Vizio's demos it worked well. After activating AirPlay on a phone, a show began playing in (Dolby Vision HDR if available) on the Vizio TV across the room. You can ask Siri on the phone to play titles on the TV or music via the TV's speakers, even to multiple TVs around the home. Photos from an iPhone appear the TV screen as well, as can the phone or Mac screen itself in mirroring mode.

The basic idea is similar to what Vizio TVs have done for the last couple years with Google's Cast function, but it should make a nice addition for Apple fans used to AirPlay. It's not the full Apple TV app found on  Samsung's  2019 Apple integration, however -- there's no on-screen functionality and all the control happens via your  iOS  device or Mac. Sony and LG will also get AirPlay 2 and HomeKit functionality later this year.

Vizio’s 2019 TVs get Apple AirPlay 2, HomeKit and a lot of Quantum Dots

See all photos

Goodbye E, hello V

Last year one of our favorite budget TVs was the E-Series, which outperformed the equivalent TCL Roku TVs thanks to local dimming. For 2019 the E-Series is extinct, replaced by the V-Series. It's available in two different levels, only one of which has local dimming. Vizio says some sizes will get IPS screens (which perform worse than VA-style screens in our tests) but didn't specify which ones. 

My quick takeaway: With prices so close ($30 extra at most) in sizes where there's crossover, there's no reason not to get the V's with dimming zones. I expect the non-dimming Vs to be the ones leading the Black Friday 2019 discount charge, however.

Vizio 2019 V-Series

Model Size (inches)Quantum DotsLocal dimming zonesPeak light output (nits)Price
V656-G4 65No12400$630
V556-G1 55No10400$470
V436-G1 43No10400$300
V755-G4 75NoNoneNot specified$1,200
V705-G3 70NoNoneNot specified$800
V655-G9 65NoNoneNot specified$600
V605-G3 60NoNoneNot specified$530
V555-G1 55NoNoneNot specified$450
V505-G9 50NoNoneNot specified$330
V435-G0 43NoNoneNot specified$300
V405-G9 40NoNoneNot specified$260

We look forward to reviewing Vizio's new TVs soon.

A version of this article first appeared in January.