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Vizio Expands Big-Screen Lines, Adds Its First 4K Ultra HD Model

LAS VEGAS — Vizio is appearing here this week to unveil highlights of its 2013 TV lineup, highlighted by the company’s first Ultra High-Definition model.

The 4K Ultra HD set will feature a 70-inch screen size that will serve as the brand’s new flagship in the reference XVT series when it ships later in the third quarter. The company said it will show a 65-inch 4K set as well. Vizio will use 4K during CES week in its bid to stay neck and neck with Samsung for top share of U.S. TV sales.

John Schindler, Vizio new product development VP, said that in developing the Ultra HD XVT set, Vizio sought to ensure that it had inputs capable of accepting native 4K input, even if no 4K signal sources are readily available in the market today.

The set will also up-scale lower-resolution content to 4K.

“We don’t think it’s fair to market a 4K by 2K without supporting that native resolution with an input,” Schindler said.

At the show, Vizio will not have an Ultra HD set capable of supporting passive 3D, but Schindler said that Vizio is working on adding the capability.

Vizio did not comment on pricing of any of its 2013 TVs prior to the show, but Schindler said it is always Vizio’s goal “to have good value.”

Among Vizio’s other goals for the year is to offer one of the industry’s largest assortments of large screen sizes, he said.

“We expect to have the largest presence in large screen sizes in the industry, and not just in the number of product SKUs, but in the number of models sold successfully at retail,” Schindler added.

In addition the company will look to improve picture quality, to upgrade its industrial design, and to continue its leadership in connected TV.

This year’s line will feature three TV model series: the E, M and XVT.

The E-series models range in screen size from 22 to 70 inches; the new M series ranges from 32 to 80 inches.

Schindler said that Vizio has quickly taken a largescreen leadership position, maintaining its market share in 55-inch, taking the top spot in 65-inch, and was expecting to take the lead in the just-launched 70-inch screen size as well.

Both the E and M series will have big-screen models in 55, 60, 65 and 70 inches. The M series will also include an 80-inch SKU.

For optimal picture quality, Vizio is concentrating on LED edge lighting in the big-screen models, and high quality 3D in the M series, Schindler said.

In smart TV, Vizio will have connected TV available and the most popular apps in every screen size from 24 to 80 inches.

Only a few unconnected models will be available in the 2013 E series for individual retail accounts looking for that option, Schindler said. In 2012, Vizio held the leading market share position for the sell-through of U.S. connected TVs, with more than 70 percent of purchasers actually using the capability after purchase.

The E series will have a total of 25 SKUs across the 22-, 24-, 29-, 32-, 37-, 39-, 40-, 42-, 50-, 55-, 60-, 65- and 70-inch screen sizes. All models will be connected, all will have LED lighting, and half of the series will incorporate local dimming technology for the best black level and overall picture performance. Many Eseries models will offer direct-LED back lighting, but where other brands’ have gone after direct-LED to get better price points, Vizio has taken strides to improve picture quality in direct-LED, while maintaining a competitive price, Schindler said.

The M series will have eight model SKUs across the 32-, 47-, 50-, 55-, 60-, 65-, 70- and 80-inch screen sizes. Models will feature a new industrial design based on a metal trim colored black to match the panel, so that when the TV is off, only a thin 2mm silver metal highlight strip will be visible. On most models both the silver and black trim parts together will not exceed 10mm, Schindler said. The line will also include down-firing speakers to reduce the set’s “chin,” while creating some of the smallest TVs with the largest screens in the market, offering customers greater flexibility in placement locations.

For 2013, the M series will feature passive 3D capability in each screen size from 50 to 80 inches, along with 240Hz refresh rates and local dimming technology. 3D models will ship with four or eight pairs of passive 3D glasses, depending on the model.

“We are going to be the first to bring Theater 3D [passive 3D] into some of these newer large screen sizes. We’ll be the first in 70 the first in 80 and one of the first in 60 inches. We were the first in 65,” Schindler said.

As an upgrade to the Internet experience, M-series models will include a universal remote with Wi-Fi Direct technology, backlit keys and the ability to control all devices in an entertainment system via the remote’s user interface. Sets in the series will also incorporate HTML 5 support for use with a greater breadth of apps.