Vizio Booth Tour – CES 2011

Posted Sat Jan 8, 2011 at 01:52 PM PST by Dick Ward

Vizio has been moving from the best of the budget brands to a strong force in the world of consumer electronics. This year they lept into higher-end and niche gear both feet first.

Sure, Vizio has a booth on the main show floor, but to get the real scoop on all their fanciest new gear, I swung on over to their private ballroom at the Wynn.

In the past, Vizio has been – for lack of a better term – the cream of the crap. If you had a friend that was picking up a budget television, Vizio was the brand you’d recommend them over something from Sylvania or Emerson.

In 2011, Vizio is changing all of that in a very big way. They’re making a name for themselves as not only a great maker of cheap TVs, but as a manufacturer of high quality products that aren’t exactly Walmart friendly.

Take their new line of 21:9 televisions for example. I got a chance to see a few, and I couldn’t be more excited. The models on display were hand-made prototypes and so weren’t up to snuff when compared to production versions, but showed a lot of potential.

Though prototypes were on display, the Vizio representative said that we’re going to see these new cinema-wide displays later on this year. It starts with a 54 inch set – the smallest of the bunch – ending with the release of a 65 inch 21:9 LCD.

I also got to see some examples of what Vizio is planning in the world of 3D. The 65 inch passive television that’s already on the market rendered 3D very well, though I did detect a bit of fallout in the corners. Interestingly, I didn’t notice this at all when watching the same TV at Oakley’s booth. It’s unclear whether the difference was the glasses or the demo material, but it’s well worth noting.

Vizio had plenty of exciting tech relating to videogames too – something that came as a bit of a surprise. For starters, some new Vizio TVs will be coming with the OnLive videogame streaming service baked right in. Not a bad setup, considering the normal cost of the console is around $100.

The company also showed off an application for 3D technology that helps gaming dramatically. When playing a multiplayer game, rather than splitting the screen in half horizontally or vertically, Vizio’s tech shows both images at the same time. Players then wear 3D glasses with either two right lenses or two left lenses and end up seeing only the video of their character. It’s a cool setup and works surprisingly well.

The more traditional line of 2011 TVs is about what you’d expect. Vizio has plenty of connected sets coming out, all of which include 802.11n connections. The entry level models use single band tech while the high-end Vizios offer dual band.

There’s plenty of 3D from Vizio too, and going forward they’re planning on passive tech for all of their new TVs. They also showed off designer glasses from a few different companies including Oakley, Gunnar and more.

In addition to home theater gear, the folks at Vizio are launching a new phone and tablet solutions, both of which looked very impressive, but that’s not an area of my expertise.

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Tags: CES 2011, 3D, Vizio (all tags)