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Vizio Moves Upscale, Expands Lines

Looking to advance its market-shaking performance from 2007, Vizio introduced an expanded assortment of plasma and LCD TVs, including lines that will reflect the company’s new step-up merchandising strategy.

Lines include a greater variety of models with full 1080p resolution, including some new break-through price points for the category, and a mix of customized offerings to appeal to the manufacturer’s growing list of retail partners.

This year, the company has set its sights on growing distribution among accounts with assisted selling floors, and has introduced a pair of 1080p plasma sets using Silicon Optix’s REON HQV video processing.

This year’s lines include the following:

The VW series of LCD TVs continues as the company’s value series for the discount retailer channel, including Wal-Mart. Models in the series now include: the 19-inch VW19L (shipping in May at a $399 suggested retail), 22-inch VW22L ($449, July), 26-inch VW26L ($549, now shipping), 32-inch VW32L ($669, now shipping), 37-inch VW37L ($849, now shipping), 42-inch VW42LF ($1,349, May) and 46-inch VW46LF ($1,749, January). The VW19L and VW22L are new additions to the line and both offer PC connectivity.

The VW42LF and VW46LF now offer full 1080p HD resolution, three HDMI v1.3 inputs and all-black bezel construction. New models include improved video process ICs, and input naming.

Targeting traditional CE retail channels, the Envy series of LCD TVs will offer three models with advanced styling, HD game ports and video processing with reduced pixel noise and color equalization.

Models include the 32-inch VU32L ($699) and 37-inch VU37L ($899), both with 768p resolution, and the 42-inch VU42LF ($1,399), with 1080p resolution. All offer two HDMI inputs, NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuners, and built-in speakers with 10 watts per channel sound.

The Evolution LCD TV series, which targets Vizio’s warehouse club partners, will offer three full 1080p HD models with four HDMI inputs and enhanced video performance features, and three smaller models priced under $1,000.

The 42-inch VO42LF ($1,299, April), the 47-inch VO47LF ($1,799, January) and the 52-inch VO52LF ($2,499, July), each offer four HDMI inputs, while the 22-inch VO22L ($459) offers 1,680 by 1,050 resolution, and the VO32L ($699) and the 37-inch VO37L ($899) will feature 720p resolution. All three will ship in March.

Vizio’s step-up Black Tie LCD series, which is targeted at retailers with assisted-sales floors including Circuit City and Sears, features 1080p HD resolution using Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation (MEMC) technology with anti-judder filtering and 120Hz frame rate conversion to reduce motion blurring. Contrast is said to be 6,500:1. Other features include four HDMI inputs and side-panel HD game ports. Models include the 42-inch SV42LF ($1,499, July) and 47-inch SV47LF ($1,899, July).

Both offer onboard Dolby 3.0 processing and are compatible with a new SV5.1 upgrade kit ($299.99, July) that adds 5.1 surround sound functionality with the inclusion of rear-channel speakers and a wireless subwoofer. Cosmetics include thinner frames with a brushed-aluminum accent below the piano-black bezel.

The company also showed six SKUs in its Limited Edition LCD TV series that was created to give key accounts custom-designed products for a limited run (15,000 to 20,000 pieces) of Mother’s Day promotions. All products carry the Vizio brand, but the company made certain cosmetic and packaging changes to fit the suggestions of retail partners. Screen sizes include 20-inch models in either black or white frames, 32- and 37-inch models, all with 768p resolution and 42- and 52-inch FullHD 1080p LCD TVs.

The Vizio HyVrid Collection offers LCD monitors for high-performance IP and multimedia gaming applications. The screen sizes include 25.5 (2ms response time), 26 (4ms), 32 (5ms) and 37 inches (5ms). All offer 1080p resolution, side- and rear-mounted jacks and brushed-aluminum cabinets with matching stands. Models are slated to ship at the end of July at prices to be announced.

In plasma, Vizio is offering eight models featuring increased contrast performance and longer life spans. Screen sizes this year range from 32 to 60 inches, and include price breakthroughs in 50- ($1,699) and 60-inch ($2,899) full 1080p segment. The VP504F 50-inch and VP605F 60-inch models will also incorporate Silicon Optix’s high-performance REON HQV processing.

Other VP series plasma models include the 32-inch VP324 ($689), 42-inch VP422 ($999), 42-inch VP423 ($999), and 50-inch VP503 ($1,399) all offer 720p resolution and will ship in the May/June time frame. The company also reintroduced the 50-inch Jive VP500 ($1,799) and added the VP501 (price to be announced) all-in-one home theatre solutions marrying a 50-inch plasma display and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system. The VP501 adds a 1080p plasma display.