Summer is in full gear, and while vacationers are packing up and hustling out, stay-cationers like me are checking out the new E-Series SmartCast TVs and tuner-free displays from VIZIO. With multiple models in this series ranging from 32" all the way to 70", there’s a display to suit anyone’s needs. A terminology tidbit first: if it’s referred to as a “tuner-free display,” you’ll need the appropriate box from your service provider if you’re planning on watching cable or satellite TV; if you have one of these services and don’t want to use an external tuner box, or if you only view over-the-air broadcast stations with an antenna, you’ll need a TV instead.
Similarities: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, app control, and more
With that out of the way, let me tell you about their similarities: All of these displays also have Wi-Fi and Ethernet built in to connect to your network, along with Bluetooth, DTS Studio Sound, DTS TruSurround, and DTS TruVolume. All the E-Series models can be controlled by the VIZIO SmartCast app, which provides much more functionality than the included IR remote control. With the exception of the 32" E32H-D1 being 720p, all the TVs discussed here are 1080p with V6 Six-Core processors and feature one USB input, while all the tuner-free displays have UHD video resolution with V8 Octa-Core processors, four HDMI inputs, and two USB inputs.
Wi-Fi provides a wireless connection to your home network, while Ethernet provides wired connectivity, allowing you to stream from your smartphone or tablet connected to the same network. Bluetooth lets you bypass your network entirely, if you prefer. DTS Studio Sound is designed to provide an immersive virtual surround sound experience with stable volume and enhanced bass across nearly all content. DTS TruSurround offers enhanced bass and dialog for improved clarity. Lastly, DTS TruVolume levels out your volume, primarily to combat against loud commercials.
Aside from the 720p E32H-D1, these E-Series TVs feature 120 Hz refresh rates and Clear Action 240 technology, which will help reduce the blur commonly seen when fast-moving objects travel across the screen (sports fans, this feature is for you.) They’re also all full-array LEDs, meaning they are truly backlit displays—which is great for daytime viewing—plus, they produce more uniform brightness throughout the image). Even better, the 43" and larger models have active zones to improve the perceived contrast ratio. Active zones are individual parts of a display’s backlight array that are independently controlled; the more active zones a display has, the more control it has over an image’s contrast, so the more active zones a display has, the better. A view of the solar system, for example, with the sun in one part of the screen and the blackness of space filling most of the rest of the screen, will have the backlighting behind the dark areas of the image dimmed to prevent light from “bleeding through,” while the backlight behind the sun will be at peak brightness.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the E-Series is that they’re not “smart” TVs or displays in the traditional sense. While that may sound like a disadvantage at first, there are two major benefits of this. First, not all smart TV/display operating systems are compatible with all apps; so while you’ll likely get the big-name apps, there’s always the possibility of being left wanting more. The SmartCast feature allows you to stream any Google Cast-compatible app (of which there are thousands, as of this writing), or any website open in the Chrome browser (with the Google Cast extension installed), to the TV/display. The second benefit is that you can stream compatible smartphone- and tablet-based games directly to the display, allowing you to play on the big screen.
The specifics: sizes and active zones
The 32" E32-D1 and 40" E40-D0 are both 1080p TVs, which along with the aforementioned E32H-D1, have two HDMI inputs and no active zones. At the entry level of the E-Series, these are well suited for small-to-medium-sized living rooms, bedrooms, or dorm rooms. The rest of the TVs in the line are the 43" E43-D2 and the 48" E48-D0, with their five active zones, the 50" E50-D1 with 12 active zones, and the 55" E55-D0, with 10 active zones. They all have three HDMI inputs and, as TVs, all have tuners built in.
The UHD tuner-free displays start at 43" with the E43u-D2 and the 48" E48U-D0, each of which has 10 active zones. If you need an even bigger UHD display, VIZIO also offers the 50" E50u-D2, 55" E55u-D2, 60" E60u-D3, 65" E65u-D3, and the 70" E70u-D3, each with 12 active zones.
If you’re unsure of what size is right for you, check out The B&H Television Buying Guide to see what sizes of 1080p TVs are best viewed at what distances; if you’re mainly viewing 4K content on one of these tuner-free displays, you can probably sit a bit closer without seeing those tiny pixels. As always, if you need help deciding which E-Series display, or any TV, is right for you, the salespeople at B&H will be happy to help via phone at 800-606-6969, chat, or email.