Monday, June 18, 2012

VIZIO Unveils Its New Line of Premium PCs

REDMOND, Wash. — June 18, 2012 — A decade ago, VIZIO, an upstart manufacturer from Costa Mesa, Calif., entered a very competitive TV market and went toe-to-toe with established brands. Against the odds, the company persevered and is now the No. 1 maker of LCD HDTVs in the United States.

Given the company’s success in the TV industry, in a bold move, VIZIO decided to become a Windows-based PC maker. It recently released its new line of personal computing products in what press are categorizing as “one of the biggest disruptions to the computer industry in years.”

VIZIO’s approach was based on a close collaboration with its associates, such as Microsoft and Intel, to jointly collaborate on how the systems are designed.

“PCs play an enormously important role in consumers’ lives,” said Matt McRae, chief technology officer, VIZIO. “It became clear to us that to answer this need and deliver to people the complete experience they expect, VIZIO needed to enter this market.”

Pioneering a New Generation of PCs

“What we chose to do was build an amazing lineup that will stand up with the best products in the world, but offer them at competitive prices,” McRae said.

With this keen focus on building products that people want, VIZIO recently unveiled a series of sleek, new, ultra-thin notebooks, a laptop and two desktop computers.
  • Thin + Light Lineup. With display technology being a sweet spot for VIZIO, the company spared no effort to outfit its PCs with the best monitors possible, utilizing learnings from the company’s HDTV legacy. VIZIO Thin + Lights incorporate the highest-quality components to maximize performance. With the latest Intel processers and touches such as hidden hinges and concealed venting, VIZIO is able to deliver instant start up and lightning fast response times in a highly stylized device.
  • Laptop Lineup. The new VIZIO laptop features a unibody design that feels streamlined, sturdy and well built. The company’s full-size, flagship laptop will feature a built-in Intel Core i7 processor and discrete graphics — making it ideal for demanding computing tasks such as high-end gaming, digital content creation and multimedia production.
  • All-in-One Lineup. These desktops feature a unique design that makes the monitor appear suspended by an arm enclosing the PC’s cables, giving it a slim, sleek look. The PC itself is found in the base of the device. The quality of its monitor and hidden cabling make this all-in-one a beautiful product.
Collaborating With Microsoft

According to Lars Boesen, a Microsoft account director who was the project lead, VIZIO’s early focus on building an exclusive class of premium PCs was defined by the level of attention to detail. This included what touchpad gestures should be enabled, the choice of a full-size HDMI port so no dongle was needed, the implementation of soft touch black finish on the base for easy grip, and a cut-away design that creates the illusion of “floating” on any surface. The result was a great experience for the consumer, who has the ability to do more with his or her PC. 

“VIZIO has been a great partner to work with; they bring a strong consumer brand and entertainment experience to the ecosystem, and it’s visible in the HD IPS display and SRS premium sound system they choose,” said Boesen, who has worked with a range of PC manufacturers in his time at Microsoft. “In the end they achieved what they set out to do. These truly are high-end products that can compete with anything in the market today at very reasonable prices.” 

Taking a Different Approach 

VIZIO wants customers to experience optimal performance while providing choice, so consumers can truly customize their computing experience to fit their individual needs. To that end, VIZIO and Microsoft worked together to build an efficient software preload, taking the learnings from the Microsoft Signature Experience for Windows 7-based PCs and including that on all VIZIO PCs to help deliver a great experience for customers, from out-of-box to support.

The company also has an eye on the future, knowing that Windows 8 will be released. According to McRae, VIZIO’s PC line was built with the new OS in mind. Though the lineup is shipping with Windows 7 initially, every VIZIO PC will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated $14.99 (U.S.) as part of Microsoft’s Windows Upgrade Offer. 

Having taken such a thoughtful approach, McRae said VIZIO is confident it can be successful in the PC market. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the company has been the newcomer before and prevailed in the face of competitive threats and skepticism. 

Given VIZIO’s track record, it is clear they are poised to be a contender.

Check out the new offerings from VIZIO at the Microsoft Store or retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club or Costco near you.

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