Home » Cloud client SW platforms » VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment

VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment

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Core information:

The VIZIO Internet Apps® Plus (“V.I.A. Plus”) ecosystem of devices was launched on June 28, 2011 with the introduction of VIZIO’s first tablet. Each VIZIO V.I.A. Plus product features a VIZIO-designed user interface that is not only intuitive but also consistent across screens, for superior ease-of-use for the casual, non-technical user. It is built on the Android™ platform. All the information about that innovative ecosystem is available in an earlier “collection post” on this blog: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].

We will look into the essential expansion of V.I.A. Plus announced at CES 2012 later. Here is sufficient to include just a short piece from the above mentioned collection in order to make the concept of V.I.A. Plus ecosystem absolutely clear (before we will go into the details of the brand new Windows based premium PC entertainment from VIZIO):

VIZIO Tablet [VIZIO video, Aug 1, 2011]: the value proposition video from the vendor which is extremely well demonstrating not only the VIZIO-specific V.I.A. Plus UI but the whole new user experience:

– [0:04] Listen to music – [0:19] Get social – [0:51] Read books – [1:10] View pictures and watch videos – [1:33] VIZIO’s Theater 3D. Leave behind the expensive battery powered glasses, the screen flicker, the darkened picture. – [1:46] Browse the web – [2:28] Control of your entertainment at your fingertips [i.e. the software based remote control] … [Watch at the end how easy is in the V.I.A. Plus user interface to switch over from your tablet to a Theater 3D TV set when viewing a 3D video on YouTube! See also the Theatre 3D related indormation further down in this post.]

This week Vizio has added the alternative, Windows based PC entertainment to its portfolio as well: VIZIO Bursts Into the Computing Realm with Five Innovative and Sleek PCs Set to Redefine Consumer Entertainment [VIZIO press release, Jan 9, 2011]

CES — VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.

Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.

VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.

“PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”

Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.

Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.

“We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”

VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers ­enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at http://www.vizio.com/CES.

*Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

About VIZIO
VIZIO, Inc., “Entertainment Freedom For All,” headquartered in Irvine, California, is America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company. In Q2 2007, VIZIO skyrocketed to the top by becoming the #1 shipping brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America and in Q3 2007 became the first American brand in over a decade to lead in U.S. LCD HDTV shipments. Since 2007 VIZIO LCD HDTV shipments remain in the top ranks in the U.S. and were #1 for the total year in 2009 and 2010. VIZIO is committed to bringing feature-rich consumer electronics to market at a value through practical innovation. VIZIO offers a broad range of award winning consumer electronics. VIZIO’s products are found at Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale, and other retailers nationwide along with authorized online partners. VIZIO has won numerous awards including a #1 ranking in the Inc. 500 for Top Companies in Computers and Electronics, Fast Company’s 6th Most Innovative CE Company of 2009, and made the lists of Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, CNET’s Editor’s Choice, CNET Best of CES 2011 – Television, IGN Best of CES – Television, Bluetooth.org Best of CES, Good Housekeeping’s Best Big-Screens, PC World’s Best Buy, Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice and OC Metro’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands among many other prestigious honors. For more information, please call 888-VIZIOCE or visit on the web at www.VIZIO.com.

The V, VIZIO, VIZIO Internet Apps, Theater 3D, CinemaWide HDTV, Full Array TruLED, Edge Lit Razor LED, 240Hz SPS, 480Hz SPS, Entertainment Freedom and Entertainment Freedom for All names, logos and phrase are registered or unregistered trademarks of VIZIO, Inc. All other trademarks may be the property of their respective holders.

SOURCE VIZIO, Inc.

Brand New Line of Gorgeous Vizio Products from CES 2012! [TEKHD, Jan 10, 2012]

Veronica Belmont talks to the CTO of Vizio, Matt McRae, to get the newest and unreleased info on the latest line of products including the All-In-One, complete with the highest performance processors in the world!

CES 2012: Vizio takes on the iMac [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

Get a first look at Vizio’s slick all-in-one computer, recorded from this year’s CES event! While it takes its visual cues from Apple’s iMac line, Vizio’s all-in-one line features not one but two HDMI inputs which will work regardless of whether or not the computer is running. This makes it an intriguing solution for gamers who have limited space to work with. Watch the video then leave us a comment telling us what you think!

Note that there is certainly an outstanding design professional behind these products: Scott McManigal, Senior Director of Global Design who has been with VIZIO since June 2009. Before he had been with OpenPeakHerbst LaZar Bell, BMW Group DesignworksUSA (10 years!), Mattel Toys and Patton Design. It is no wonder that the new PCs got immediate recognition from media with headlines like:
The New Vizio PCs and Notebooks Are Worthy of Apple [Gizmodo, Jan 9, 2012]
Vizio PCs and Laptops are the closest to Apple when it comes to style [Newlaunches.com, Jan 9, 2012]

A First Look at Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks [CNETTV, Jan 10, 2012]

Sharon Vaknin gets the lowdown on Vizio’s new line of ultrabooks.

CES 2012: Vizio Takes On the MacBook Air [IGNentertainment, Jan 9, 2012]

HDTV manufacturer Vizio is branching out with a line of ultra thin and light notebooks! The sleek line of notebooks have design cues which remind us of the shiny products from Apple, which is definitely a good thing. Details are scarce but IGN Senior Producer Ty Root and Executive Editor of IGN Gear Scott Lowe got an early peek, so take a look and leave us a comment telling us what you think!

So far there are no tablets among these premium PC entertainment offerings. VIZIO will introduce them surely when Windows 8 will be launched late summer as the earliest.

The CES 2012 expansion of the V.I.A. Plus

From the V.I.A. Plus related press release (see later): Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled [Android] tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010. [The tablets are Android based (as all of the V.I.A. Plus system). Detailed information on that: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].]

Vizio 10 inch tablet hands on [AndroidCentral, Jan 10, 2012]

Vizio 10-inch tablet preview [TheVerge, Jan 10, 2012]

Vizio’s New 10-inch Tablet to Have Intel Chip, Android [IDG News, Jan 10, 2012]

A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system, a source with knowledge of the product plans said.

The M-Series tablet with a 10-inch screen was announced by Vizio at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the device will be “coming soon,” according to Vizio’s website. The tablet is being shown at the trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Vizio has not shared further details on the tablet, saying it is “powerful” and has Wi-Fi. The tablet provides “a world of entertainment right at your fingertips,” according to the company’s website.

The Vizio tablet could be the launching pad for Intel’s Medfield chip, which is not yet available in devices. The Medfield chip has been designed for smartphones and tablets, and Intel later this week is also expected to announce its first smartphone customers for the chip.

Intel’s Medfield & Atom Z2460 Arrive for Smartphones: It’s Finally Here [AnandTech, Jan 11, 2012]

It’s here. Intel’s first smartphone SoC that you’ll actually be able to buy in a device before the end of the year. The platform is called Medfield and Paul Otellini just announced its first device partners.

Medfield starts out as a bonafide mobile SoC. Whereas Moorestown was a “two-chip” solution, Medfield is just one – the Penwell SoC:

There’s only a single version of Medfield being announced today: the Intel Atom Z2460. The Z2460 features a single Atom core with a 512KB L2 cache, a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU and a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface. In a world where talking about four Cortex A9s and PowerVR SGX 544MP2s isn’t uncommon, Medfield starts out almost sounding a bit…tame. But then you see its performance:

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

Although running what appears to be a stock Gingerbread browser, Intel’s Medfield reference platform posts SunSpider performance better than any other smartphone we’ve tested – including the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich. Intel promises that Medfield’s performance will scale on ICS as well – the gap should be maintained. We’ve seen high results from reference designs in the past, but the Medfield platform is a little different as you’ll soon see – it’s a complete smartphone design that should be representative of handsets that hit the market later this year.

Medfield isn’t a one trick pony either, performance is similarly dominating under BrowserMark:

BrowserMark

These are tablet-like scores. Here the Galaxy Nexus running ICS comes close, but once again Intel expects that on the same OS Medfield should be faster than any of the currently available SoCs.

I asked Intel where its SunSpider and BrowserMark performance advantages came from, especially considering we’ve typically only seen huge gains with new browsers and not new SoCs. Their response pointed to a bunch of factors, but one stand out issue was the A9 has a great execution core but seems to be more limited on the memory interface. Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache. This may be one of the reasons why we’ve never been able to get really high bandwidth numbers out of A9 based SoCs. It’s probably safe to assume that things will be different with the Cortex A15, but for now it’s little things like this that give Medfield a performance advantage.

GPU performance is understandably not as impressive. We couldn’t get offscreen numbers of GLBenchmark 2.1 but we did get results at the device’s native resolution (1024 x 600):

3D performance is better than the OMAP 4460 due to Medfield’s 400MHz GPU clock compared to ~300MHz in most OMAP4 devices.

Performance without power considerations is meaningless, especially in the smartphone world. Luckily for Intel, Medfield seems very competitive there as well. …

Medfield, at least in Intel’s reference platform, looks very good.

The actual values are pretty astonishing as well. Sub 20mW idle, sub 750mW during a call on 3G and although not pictured here, Intel’s internal data suggests ~1W power consumption while browsing the web compared to ~1.3W on the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S 2. I’ve done my own measurements on 4S web browsing and came up with a very similar value.

Intel Measured Smartphone Power Consumption
(Identical Display Brightness)

  Standby (3G) Talk (3G) Browsing (3G) Video Playback 720p
Apple iPhone 4S ~38mW ~800mW ~1.3W ~500mW
Intel Medfield Reference ~18mW ~700mW ~1.0W ~850mW
Samsung Galaxy S II ~19mW ~675mW ~1.2W ~650mW

The performance and power data both look great for Medfield. You would think that this data, assuming there’s nothing fundamentally wrong, would be enough to convince a handset maker to actually give Intel a shot. You’d be right.

In addition to disclosing Medfield performance data, Intel is also announcing partnerships with both Motorola and Lenovo. The former is a broad, multi-year agreement stating that Motorola plans on creating many devices based on Intel silicon – the first of which will be a smartphone due out before the end of the year. Tablets will follow at some point as well.

Lenovo on the other hand will actually be taking and tweaking Intel’s own Medfield reference platform, and releasing it in China in Q2.

All of this is exactly what Intel needed: a start.

The CPU

The GPU, Process & Roadmap

What’s Different This Time Around: Google & A Sweet Reference Platform

ARM Compatibility: Binary Translation

Final Words

Medfield and the Atom Z2460 are a solid starting point. Intel finally has a chip that they can deliver to the market and partners to carry it in. Intel also built a very impressive reference platform that could lead to some very interesting disruptions in the market.

VIZIO and Google TV Join Forces to Create a State of the Art Stream Player [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

– New stream player turns any HDTV into an enhanced smart TV with access to countless entertainment content and online services as well as powerful search and web browsing capabilities
Part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the new VIZIO Stream Player incorporates the power of the latest Google TV in combination with premium setup experience and included Bluetooth universal remote with touchpad control
Integrated app and TV watching experiencelet users multitask seamlessly and access photos, audio and video stored on networked computers, hard drives and smart phones

VIZIO and Google today jointly announced the introduction of the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV. The Stream Player allows consumers to access countless entertainment content and online services with web access through a fully capable Chrome browser, and to also enjoy photos, music and video stored on any computer, hard drive or smart phoneconnected to a local network and/or the cloud.*

image

With the VAP430 connected to an HDTV over an HDMI cable, users can quickly and seamlessly access content and services from their favorite apps and websites using the included Bluetooth premium universal remote control with integrated touchpad. In addition to movies, TV shows and music on demand, the VAP430 lets users search the web for even more entertainment options using the Flash-capable Chrome browser.

“We’re excited about what Google TV brings to our new VAP430 Stream Player,” says Matthew McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “This isn’t just an ordinary streaming box that accesses a few predetermined video services. It’s a true entertainment portal that opens up everything the Web has to offer, as well as all the content consumers already have stored on computers and hard drives. And the incorporation of Google TV and our V.I.A. Plus interfacemakes it all incredibly easy to setup and a joy to use.”

Using the included premium remote with QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpad, viewers can easily search for any program or content they want from their favorite apps or the Internet. Users can also check out new apps from an ever-expanding Android Market, or access personal medialike videos, photos and music that are stored on devices connected to the same home network as the stream player. Images are displayed right on a connected TV set, and sound plays through the TV or a connected audio system.

“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of their Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

Painless Setup, Powerful Capabilities

Part of the V.I.A. Plus ecosystem, the slick yet discreet VAP430 can easily compliment any HDTV using an HDMI cable. Installing the VAP430 and connecting it to the Internet is blazingly fast and simple to do with the built-in setup experience and 802.11n WiFi connection.

The VAP430 also has an HDMI pass-through that lets the user connect a cable or satellite box to the stream player and pass the signal over to the TV for a truly integrated TV watching experience. The smart TV interfaceoverlays the live TV signal so multitaskers can search for the next thing to watch without completely stepping away from what they’re currently watching.

Bluetooth capability also makes it simple to enjoy content from smart phones through the connected TV wirelessly. And with the USB input, connecting any USB drive directly to the VAP430 takes only seconds.

VAP430 is the first V.I.A. Plus device to launch this year, followed by the VBR430 3D Blu-ray player, which combines the features of the VAP430 with Blu-ray’s state-of-the-art high-definition video and audio playback capabilities.

Preorders for the VAP430 will begin this spring 2012. Find out more and sign up to be the first at www.vizio.com/ces

* The VIZIO Internet Apps® (V.I.A.) platform requires Internet access, equipment and subscription services that are not provided.

See also (especially because VAP430 is likely based on Marvell’s platform): Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort via Marvell SoC and reference design[Jan 5, 2012]

VIZIO Expands the Next-Generation VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) Ecosystem, Announcing New HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Stream Player and Tablet Products That Share a Unified User Experience Across All Screens [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]

– V.I.A. Plus provides access to a world of apps on each device with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each and every screen
– V.I.A. Plus offers today’s most advanced and functional smart TV user experience, with an intuitive, app-centric interface optimized for the 10-foot viewing experience
– New V.I.A. partners to include iHeartRadio®, The Wall Street Journal® and M-GO®
VIZIO’s expanded line-up incorporating the Google TV platform include the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch HDTVs with Theater 3D, the VBR430 Blu-ray player, and the VAP430 Stream Player

image

VIZIO, America’s #1 HDTV Company*, announces the continued expansion of its next generation of the award-winning VIZIO Internet Apps® platform: VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus). V.I.A. Plus brings a unified user experience to a wide range of devices that include HDTVs, Tablets, Blu-ray players, Media Players and more. From the big screen to mobile devices, V.I.A. Plus bridges the worlds of entertainment, content and services with one sophisticated and intuitive interface. V.I.A. Plus accesses a world of apps on each device, with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each screen.

Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010.

“The way users consume content has changed drastically over recent years. Technology has enabled nearly every device with a screen to connect to some form of delivery platform, each with its own mechanism for searching, browsing and viewing content.” said Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “V.I.A. Plus focuses entirely on what users care about – their content. By delivering a seamless, intuitive experience that is consistent across multiple screens, V.I.A. Plus products distinguish themselves from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.”

The V.I.A. Plus experience features an intuitive, app-centric interface on every device, making it easy for consumers to understand and navigate as they move between devices. Users can also access thousands of apps from the Android Market™ for even more entertainment options.

“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of the Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”

In addition, VIZIO is announcing new partners who are collaborating to bring their content and services to the V.I.A. Platform, including:

iHeart Radio– iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service, brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience, one which combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: More than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.

The Wall Street Journal®– WSJ Live from The Wall Street Journal offers up to four total hours of live video programming each business day from across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, including the Journal, Dow Jones® Newswires, Barron’s™, MarketWatch®, SmartMoney® and AllThingsD.com. Users can access seven half-hour live shows, breaking news updates, exclusive interviews, and special events coverage. The service also offers more than 2,000 videos per month from an extensive library of on-demand content.

M-GO™ video-on-demand– M-GO from Technicolor is a next-generation app that combines all of your media including movies, music, apps, live TV, and more. M-GO will come pre-loaded on VIZIO HDTVs and Blu-ray Players with VIZIO Internet Apps or VIZIO Internet Apps Plus. The app will help consumers find the content they’re looking for through its extensive content library and state-of-the-art discovery engine, while also providing a unique second screen functionality for searching additional content.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with VIZIO to bring consumers all of their media anywhere, anytime, and anyway they want it,” said John Batter, CEO of M-GO. “As consumers continue to access digital media at home and on the go, it is even more important to provide them with a consistent experience that is easy to navigate and convenient to use. VIZIO’s technology combined with our accessibility to content does just that.”

On V.I.A. Plus enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Media Players, users can multitask between apps and traditional TV content through an interface designed for the 10-foot viewing experience, created specifically for situations where users want to sit back and enjoy the ultimate in channel and web surfing. Users can also complement their entertainment experience with VIZIO tablets for seamless access to their favorite apps and content in any room in the home or on the road.

With a wide range of apps on each device, V.I.A. Plus enables consumers to choose from a new universe of entertainment options, redefining the TV experience with multi-screen access, gaming, full browsing and enhanced search capabilities, and the ability to view live events streamed over the Internet.

Navigating V.I.A. Plus is simple and intuitive, using the QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpadthat’s built into the premium Bluetooth remote control included with every V.I.A. Plus product. Users need no technical know-how to get their new devices online, thanks to the advanced wireless Internet access and simplified onscreen setup.

Smart Blu-ray

The VBR430 Blu-ray player is the most advanced on the market today. Not only does it offer the incomparable entertainment power of V.I.A. Plus with Google TV, the player comes with a touchpad universal remote with QWERTY keypad that makes it easy to control apps, content and other functions. As part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the VBR430 also lets users access video, audio and photos stored on any DLNA-compatible computer, network-connected hard drive or cell phone connected to a home network. Built-in WiFi makes network connection easy, and Bluetooth capability provides yet another conduit for streaming media from cell phones and computers.

Smart TV Plus 3D

VIZIO’s V.I.A. Plus products will also include Theater 3D technology, for crystal clear, brighter and flicker-free 3D, viewable with lightweight, comfortable, battery-free 3D glasses. The TVs feature LED backlighting with smart dimming technology to achieve dynamic contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 or greater.

The Ultimate Stream Player

The VAP430 Stream Player with Google TV is an innovative media player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV. As sales of stream players are poised to pass Blu-ray players in unit volume sales (by 2013, according the CEA U.S. Unit Shipment Forecast of January 2011), the VAP430 is the perfect solution for media multitaskers who consume most of their media over the Internet. The VAP430 is the one of the most advanced Stream Players with built-in HDMI ports that lets users connect existing components like gaming consoles or set-top boxes for unified access to all media sources through the VI.A. Plus touchpad remote. It even supports 3D content and 3D streaming.

Many of the new VIZIO V.I.A. Plus products will be on display at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show, January 10 – 13, 2012. For more information, please visit www.vizio.com/ces

* Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.

Vizio’s Google TV delayed until early fall, now edge-lit [C|net, Jan 10, 2012]
LAS VEGAS–Google TV has a way of disappointing expectations, and one strong case in point is the Vizio’s VIA Plus platform for TVs.

At CES 2011 we named the VIA Plus models as our favorite TV product of CES. They used Google TV to deliver what the company described as interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus was also said to support the OnLive gaming service. Those extras, along with the same kind of full-array local-dimming backlightwe know and love, was enough to convince us that the so-equipped TVs were going to be pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, because of what Vizio describes as Google TV-related issues beyond its control, they never came out.

We asked about the VIA Plus sets during a pre-CES briefing with Vizio and were told they were still on the company’s product release roadmap. The new release date is “early fall.” They will have different model numbers and at least one change for the worse: that backlight is now an edge-lit affair. Vizio further specified that the new VIA Plus models would have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, and three screen sizes: 47-, 55-, and a new 65-inch option.

On the bright side, maybe having all that extra time to perfect VIA Plus will allow Vizio to do something really special with Google TV’s Honeycomb customizations. We’ll see.

Strong business backings from Taiwan that enable such bold strategy expansion for VIZIO 

Vizio sees 2012 with optimism [Nov 2, 2011]

TV brand Vizio has indicated sales of Japan-based brands such as Sony, Panasonic and Sharp have been weak. However, South Korea-based brands such as Samsung and LG have been growing becoming Vizio’s biggest competitors. Vizio estimates 2011 shipments of LCD TVs to reach over six million units.

According to William Wang, CEO and founder of Vizio, the strategy to face the South Korea-based players is to improve products, such as by providing customers with the best 3D TV. If products can be sold with cheaper retail prices, then do it.

Wang indicated Vizio’s biggest partner is still Taiwan-based Amtran Technology, which accounts for 70-80% of Vizio’s OEM orders. Foxconn is responsible for small-size products. Wang complimented Taiwan’s technology, innovation and product quality.

The recent weak demand in the TV market has been causing panel makers to suffer huge losses, Vizio stated. Except for shipments in the first quarter 2011 which were comparable to those of 2010, the rest of the quarters in 2011 have all seen declining shipments.

Wang concluded that panel makers have been suffering due to oversupply and lack of consumer confidence due to weak economic conditions in Europe and the US. However, 2011 should be the year when the industry hits rock bottom, which means firms should face 2012 with optimism.

CES: Value Outweighs Price, AmTran Says [excerpt on the VIZIO site, Jan 6, 2010]

Behind Vizio’s success is a partnership with Taipei-based AmTran Technology, a contract manufacturer that specializes in computer monitors and televisions. The company, which owns a 23% stake [i.e. majority] in Vizio, now makes annual revenue of about $2 billion, more than quadruple the $428 million it reported in 2004.

To read more about this article please click here.

[Hon Hai/Foxconn is said to be the 2nd largest shareholder ov VIZIO as well as having 10% of shares of AmTran]

[click here >> WSJ Blogs, Jan 7, 2010]

In a rare interview, its chief executive and chairman Alpha Wu spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his views on the fast-changing industry at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

The Wall Street Journal: Why have your products been so successful?

Mr. Wu: We think very simply about how we can provide the best value to customers world-wide. I have pretty good relationships with key component makers in Japan, Taiwan, China and now Korea, and I make sure we get high-quality components, so we can provide high-quality displays. We try to have attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy. Value is more important than anything. We try to provide attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy.

We also keep very tight production schedules. We learned from our customers that we must meet schedules. As long as we have discipline over our schedule, we can compete against anybodybecause when a rival announces a new technology, we can develop similar products quickly and take the market.

WSJ: Why do you think the traditional television makers in Japan are having such a hard time in the television market, particularly in the U.S.?

Mr. Wu: To be a pure original equipment manufacturer is a tough business. That’s why we teamed up with Vizio. The Japanese engineers work hard and demand perfect products, but they don’t know the market very much. In the U.S., people don’t want very high-end products especially in the current economic situation. Japanese consumers, however, are more willing to invest in expensive products.

Products that are made in Japan with Japanese components by Japanese suppliers are very important to them, but their factories aren’t as advanced as ours because they’re old. An older managementalso makes them less able to accept new technologies and innovation.

WSJ: 3D televisions are expected to be big news at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. How soon do you expect this technology to take off?

Mr. Wu:3D movies are absolutely coming. 3D televisions might take two or three years. One big problem that has to be overcome is glasses. No one wants to wear glasses to watch TV. Plus if you have five people in the family you need five pairs of glasses. The technology is also not mature yet.

WSJ: What is your vision for AmTran’s future?

Mr. Wu: We want to support the best brand with the best technology products. We are trying to do it in different regions, step by step. We’re trying in Taiwan, Japan and China. Maybe someday we’ll try in Europe.

One of our customers, Bang & Olufsen, has a remote control that I use at home every day to control the curtains, lighting, television and audio. That’s our dream too, but to provide it to the mass market.

WSJ: What kind of opportunity do you see in the Chinese market?

Mr. Wu: By 2011, China’s market for televisions will be bigger than the U.S. From our point of view, we have some advantages — we know China better than people in other countries. Whoever can become No. 1 in China and in the U.S. will be No. 1 in the world.

Amtran Technology Co Ltd (2489.TW) – Overview – Full Description [Reuters, excerpted on Jan 10, 2012]

AMTRAN TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. is principally engaged in the manufacture and distribution of monitors and digital televisions. The Company provides liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, which are applied in personal computers (PCs), workstations, automobile instruments, point of sale (POS) equipment and automatic teller machines (ATMs), among others, as well as LCD televisions. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company obtained approximately 94.89% of its total revenue from digital televisions. The Company distributes its products primarily in Japan, Europe and the Americas.
» Full Overview of 2489.TW

Amtran sees increased 4Q11 revenues [Jan 10, 2012]

Taiwan-based TV OEM firm Amtran reported December revenues of NT$6.44 billion (US$214 million). Fourth quarter revenues reached NT$19.66 billion, the highest quarterly revenues in 2011, accounting for 35% of 2011 total revenues.

Due to sales during the year-end holiday season in the North America market, total shipments in December reached 660,000 units while total shipments in fourth quarter reached 1.94 million units, outperforming the previous three quarters in 2011. According to Amtran, total shipments in 2011 reached 5.35 million units. Shipments of products in the range of 32-37 inch accounted for 54% of the firm’s total flat TV shipments. Amtran noted that sales of large-size products (42-, 47-, 55-, and 65-inch) LCD TVs accounted for 46% of total revenues.

Amtran expects LCD TV shipments to increase as the firm develops products such as internet TV, smart TV and 3D TV.

Amtran faces challenge to attain 2011 LCD TV goal [Aug 17, 2011]

Taiwan-based Amtran Technology’s LCD TV shipments reached nearly two million units in the first half of 2011, according to industry sources. But the maker may have difficulties achieving its shipment goal of five million units for the entire 2011 given that its major market, North America, has been weak.

Amtran, the chief manufacturer for Vizio, shipped a total 4.2 million units of LCD TVs worldwide in 2010.


3 Comments

  1. […] [Aug 16, 2011] –> More on supply chain battles for … [Aug 31, 2011] –> VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium P… [Jan 11, […]

  2. […] design [Jan 5, 2012] (the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, introduced below, is likely based on that) – VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium P… [Jan 11, […]

  3. […] white-boxed handset makers targeting the emerging markets [Experiencing the Cloud, Feb 13, 2012] – VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium P… [Experiencing the Cloud, Jan 11, 2012] – Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort […]

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