Monday, March 2, 2015

Vizio Brings its Game To PCs

The last thing Vizio executives wanted to talk about last night was the pricing of their new all-in-one desktop computers and laptops. But who could blame them?

Vizio Brings its Game To PCs

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The last thing Vizio executives wanted to talk about last night was the pricing of their brand new, all-in-one desktop computers and laptops. But who could blame them?

Vizio now claims a 30 percent market share in LCD flat panel TVs, bragged founder/CEO William Wang and has "40 million product users." But everyone (especially competitors) knows that the company cuts its TV profit margins to the bone  to pull off the feat. Now with its belated entry into the crowded and already cut-throat PC business, the company is clearly hoping to go "up-market," pushing power, features and styling first,

So then when you finally do hear the prices - starting at $899 for a 24-inch all-in-one desktop,  a 14-inch "thin and light" portable (with 128 GB SSD) or a 15.6 notebook - you won't wince.

 Two years in the development, the line also  includes a 27-inch all-in-one and 15.6-inch thin-and-light (aka Ultrabook.) 

 Adding credibility,  the products have been developed with lots of support  from Microsoft -  contributing  an unusally clean, bloatware-free version of Windows 7 and 90 days of after sale support. And Intel is  sharing its' latest Ivy Bridge processors and Ultrabook reference design to keep the  "slim and light" laptops running cool.

 Vizio  also touts superior entertainment value in its first PC  products with high definition screens, a fast NVIDIA Kepler-Class  GEForce GPU for clean video and gaming images, SRS optimized sound and a nifty little desktop subwoofer that doubles as the power source for the all-in-one. 

 I also like how the desktops  have twp HDMI inputs for video products (cable box, Blu-ray player, game system) and work with a little remote control "just like a TV" even when the computer is turned off.

  So yeah, the feature set/value proposition  appears quite good.

And just staring at these sleek, aluminum-clad things, you know the designers were thinking "Apple aspirations at a more affordable price." The all-in-one even has an Apple-like  wireless touch pad replacing the traditional mouse and is even cleaner looking than the iMac from the rear view. All  peripherals are wired to the slim line base (also hiding the computer's guts) "so you don't have any cables dangling down the back," noted McRae.  

Walmart is getting behind the Vizio computers in a big way, shared a company exec. That makes me wonder how long the discount chain will hold the line on those suggested list prices. What's looking like a good value now might be a great deal by year's end. Amazon.com. Target, Sam's Club and Costco also will carry the line.

The other bg question is how well Vizio will stand behind  these products and their buyers after the initial 90 days of Microsoft software support. "Many of the team at our Sioux City, South Dakota call center used to work for Gateway computers," said McRae. "We're ready to help."

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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