Known for manufacturing televisions over the last ten years, Vizio is taking the leap into the PC market with two all-in-one desktops and three laptop computers. This new lineup of computer products will be shown off at CES next week, but won’t be available until May 2012. The all-in-one desktops have been designed to use 24-inch and 27-inch monitors while two of the laptops utilize a 15.6-inch screen and the thinner ultrabook offers a 14-inch screen. No pricing has been announced for any of the models yet, but Vizio plans to adopt the same aggressive pricing strategy that the company uses to undercut other television manufacturers.
According to company officials, Vizio sees value in expanding out to selling personal computers as the market for computer hardware has grown over the last two years while the TV market has remained flat despite the launch of 3D-capable televisions. According to DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon, flat-panel television sales were down by four percent in 2011. Vizio is also targeting consumers looking for video and gaming entertainment by offering large displays with the all-in-one computers as well as sub-woofer speakers to create a fuller audio experience for users watching movies, television or playing the latest Call of Duty shooter.
While Vizio was declared the top LCD brand in the United States over 2010 by DisplaySearch, the company came under negative scrutiny during September 2011 after customer services representatives at the company told Vizio owners with broken televisions to simply purchase a new TV after the twelve-month warranty period expired. In several cases, the television was just 1 month over the warranty period and included defects such as red or black spots or lines across the screen. Other reports detailed experiences where a defective television was sent in for repair during a warranty period, but replaces with a refurbished unit rather than repairing the customer’s television.