I like a lot of Vizio’s TVs for the level of image quality they achieve for a budget price, but their “series” can be a sprawling, incomprehensible mess. And the 2017 D series is the messiest one yet, making it tough for buyers to separate the potentially worthwhile TVs from the so-so ones.
That’s where I come in.
Among the D series TVs I know about right now, I can only recommend two specific models: the 55-inch D55-E0 and the 65-inch D65-E0. This review only applies to those two, not to any of the others in the series.
Those two sets are some of the cheapest TVs to earn a “very good” image quality score from me. They’re the only 2017 D models with local dimming, a feature that improves image quality in just about every LCD TV I’ve tested. It puts them on roughly the same picture quality plane as the bigger, members of the E series, which currently costs the same in the 65-inch size. I expect the D to dip cheaper later this year, however.
Unfortunately the rest of the D series TVs, for example the 50-inch D50-E1 that I also tested, aren’t as good as these two. I think most budget TV shoppers will be better off with a Roku TV from TCL, for example something in the S405 series. They have a better smart TV system and similar image quality. And if you want a superior picture in an affordable TV, go for the TCL P series.
Standard black frame, weird spindly legs
The frame around the screen is shiny, black and thin, so from the front it looks like almost all picture, while the cabinet is relatively thick seen from the side.
Rather than a pedestal stand the D series utilizes the same kind of splayed, spindly legs found on most TVs today. They’re a bit, er, different-looking, thanks to a pattern of triangle-shaped cutouts.
Throwback Smart TV
Vizio introduced its Yahoo-powered VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) interface in 2011 and hasn’t changed much since. On the plus side it has access to a decent selection of apps, including Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube in 4K resolution, and response times weren’t terrible. But the pop-up menu along the bottom and the menus themselves look 6 years old — because they are.
Roku isn’t the freshest interface, but it runs circles around the these Vizios. It has a clean, easy-to-customize menu, thousands of apps, cross-platform search and numerous other advantages. If you choose a D series set and plan to watch a lot of streaming, I highly recommend buying an external streamer, like, well, a Roku. Or if you like your streaming phone-centric, go with the E series.
The most tricked-out Ds
The 55-inch D55-E0 and the 65-inch D65-E0 reviewed here are the most well-featured of the series, with 4K resolution (found on only a couple of others in the series; the rest are 720p or 1080p) and local dimming. 4K doesn’t really affect image quality much, but dimming really helps, especially in demanding home theater situations.
The 65- and 55-inchers have 12 and 10 independent dimming “zones” respectively, which is relatively modest, but in my experience every little bit helps. Unlike the larger members of the E series, however these sets don’t handle HDR (high dynamic range).
Connections are ample, and unlike the E series the D’s all include TV tuners for antenna reception.