Vizio Shows Off Powerhouse Home Entertainment Lineup
By Yardena Arar
Vizio’s CES booth promoting its connected TVs was just the tip of the iceberg: In private showings it previewed a huge lineup of HDTVs and home-entertainment components sporting all the latest cutting-edge technologies.
In the past few years, Vizio has come out of nowhere to become a market leader in HDTV, thanks to a large selection of value-priced sets. This year, the company’s customers will have even more options as Vizio introduces models that come equipped with all of the hottest technologies being offered by its high-end competitors.
Opting to preview much of its extensive product line away from the CES show floor, Vizio displayed sets with everything from 3D in full 1080p (meaning a separate 1080p image for each eye) and a slew of Internet services to 480Hz refresh rates, razor-thin displays, and all sorts of wireless technologies for connecting devices throughout the home and eliminating cable clutter.
Vizio’s new top-of-the-line XVT Pro series offers the most upscale bells and whistles. XVT Pro models in 47, 55 and 72 inches are all LED-backlit 1080p displays with 3D support and 480Hz refresh rates to help smooth out fast motion. Additionally, these sets have built in dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as ethernet for network connectivity, along with Vizio’s new Internet Apps, which include Yahoo Widgets and a slew of other popular services. (Vizio Internet Apps will ship on nine other new sets.)
The XVT Pro sets also have built-in Wireless HD support, an HDMI cable replacement technology that will permit wireless connection with peripherals plugged into Vizio’s Wireless HD adapter.
The XVT Pro line also introduces Bluetooth remotes with slide-out QWERTY keyboards, which should prove useful with setup and Internet applications.
Vizio expects to ship these sets in August at prices ranging from $1999 for the 47-inch model to $3499 for the 72-incher. (Prices don’t include the XpanD active-shutter glasses required to view 3D content.)
There’s one other XVT Pro set: a 58-inch set with a 21:9 aspect ratio, capable of showing ultrawide Cinemascope content (most HDTVs have a 16:9 aspect ratio). There were no details on pricing or ship date, however.
Vizio also showed three mobile digital televisions due to ship later this year. All are LCDs less than an inch thick, and two of them—the 9-inch VMB090 ($200) and the 10-inch VMB100 ($230)—will support the new ATSC-MH standard that allows handhelds to receive broadcast signals in moving vehicles. The 7-inch VMB070 ($150) doesn’t yet support this technology, but should be able to receive DTV signals when stationary.
Vizio is also getting into the accessory business with a line of HDMI cables, universal remotes and wall mounts. Also on display was a 0.25-inch-thick concept LCD, headsets (including one that had small LCDs playing visualizations on the outside of the earpads) and a collection of sound bars and home-theater sound systems.
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