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V, Inc. Expanding Flat-Panel Assortment

V, Inc., which designs, imports and markets aggressively priced flat-panel TVs under the Vizio brand, is adding two HD plasma displays and a 32W-inch HD LCD to its assortment.

The plasma sets include an updated 42W-inch model, the P42HDTV, which supplants the company’s previous P42HDe. The new unit, slated to hit the warehouse club channel in March at an everyday price of $1,800, is a scaled-down version of V’s successful P50HDM, which Jeff Schindler, marketing and business operations VP, described as Costco’s No. 1 selling plasma TV.

Like its larger sibling, the P42 employs latest-generation glass (reportedly from LG) and single-scan technology to achieve a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a 231 billion-color image. It similarly boasts “an advanced video processor” that “reduces solarization and false contouring along with sharpness improvement, non-linear chroma enhancement, closed color suppression, non-linear scaling, adaptive contrast and color controls,” the company said, and features a similar high-gloss bezel, pedestal base, and built-in, bottom-mounted speakers in a split, silver grill.

Unlike the 50W-inch unit and its more commercial-looking 42W-inch predecessor, the new P42 has an ATSC and QAM (in-the-clear cable) digital tuner in addition to an NTSC tuner. Native resolution is 1,024 by 768p, and inputs include HDMI, component and VGA.

V’s other new plasma display is a 55W-inch HDTV with 1,366 by 768p native resolution, digital tuners, removable speakers and the same exterior design as the 50W-inch and 42W-inch units. The set is expected to ship this July and will likely be priced to hit a $3,000 price point, Schindler said.

In LCD, V has added a second 32W-inch panel to its lineup, this one with an ATSC and QAM tuner. Both the new L32HDTV, available in March, and its predecessor, the NTSC-only L32, feature a native resolution of 1,366 by 768p, a response time of 8 milliseconds, HDMI inputs, a “zero bright-pixel” defect guarantee and a $1,000 price point. Pricing on the L32 will likely be adjusted this spring.

V will continue to offer its 37W-inch HD-LCD at a suggested retail of $1,500.

All Vizio TVs now come with newly designed quick-start guides that have helped reduce tech-support call volume by 80 percent and returns by 65 percent since they were rolled out in November, V said.