Vizio V-Series 2019: How Does It Stack Up Against Roku TV

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As streaming gets more and more popular -- from must-haves like Netflix and Amazon Prime to cord cutter live TV like Sling TV and tour đài loan YouTube TV ($50 at YouTube TV) to new options like Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and HBO Max --  it makes sense for TV shoppers to prioritize a robust built-in streaming system. Smart TVs that get the latest apps and updates, and make those apps quick and easy to use, have a leg up on TVs that don't, especially at the budget level. Sure you could add a media streamer to any TV, but that means an extra device to buy and another remote to juggle.

Vizio makes some solid budget TVs, including the V-Series, but they're handicapped by the worst smart TV system in the business. I can overlook its sluggishness, busy interface and lack of apps in a more-expensive model like the M8 series, where adding a Roku Streaming Stick Plus for $50 isn't as big of a deal. But at the dirt-cheap price point where the V-Series competes, actual Roku TVs like the TCL 4-Series win.

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It doesn't help that different V-Series models in the lineup have different picture quality-related features and performance. I tested two different ones for this review and one performed better than the other. That model offers full-array local dimming but -- unlike with last year's E-Series -- most of the others don't. Many models are also saddled with inferior LCD panel technology. 

Yes, the best examples of the V-Series perform better overall than the TCL 4-Series, but the difference isn't massive. If you can get the V-Series at a steep discount it might be worthwhile, but most budget TV shoppers will be happier with the TCL.