Vizio Announces Eight New HDTVs and Internet App Partners

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Low-cost HDTV maker Vizio has formally introduced eight new HDTVs in its XVT line, and announced content and application partners who are on board to provide content and apps for its VIA (Via Internet Apps) feature on Via Connected HDTVS.

First up, Vizio’s new XVT line aims at the high end, challenging makers like Samsung and Sony on their own turf, rather than continuing to wage the battle for the entry level HDTV market. The new XVT sets all feature 1080p resolution, fast refresh rates (120 Hz in 32- and 37-inch sizes, 240Hz refresh rates in 42-, 47-, and 55-inch sizes), and Vizio’s “TruLED” with Smart Dimming for improved contrast. Selected models will also feature Vizio’s Via Internet Apps—and all models are Energy Star 3.0 compliant. The XVTs feature three to five HDMI inputs (more on the bigger models, and all sport SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume audio.

All told, the XVT time will span eight models, with sizes ranging from 32 inches all the way to 55 inches; along them, three models (a 42-inch, a 47-inch, and a 55-inch) feature Via Internet apps, and three feature localized LED dimming (a 42-inch, 47-inch, and 55-inch)—two models (the 47-inch SV472XVT and the 55-inch VF552XVT) features both technologies.

Vizio plans to introduce the XVT line through the rest of the year, with one model (the 55-inch VF550XVT) already available, and others scheduled to land in July through December. Suggested prices range from $749.99 for the 32-inch model all the way up to $2,199 for the two high-end 55-inch unit.

At the same time, Vizio has announced new content and service providers for its forthcoming Via Connected HDTVs, which rolls Ethernet and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi networking into the units to pull content from the Internet directly, without need for a separate PC or media center. Users will be able to interact with apps using a Bluetooth-driven QWERTY-equipped remove control. Vizio’s Via platform is a widget-based system that supports Adobe Flash for pulling up video or “rich” applications; in addition to existing partners like Rhapsody, Amazon Video on Demand, Blockbuster on Demand, Pandora, and Netflix, Vizio is lining up eBay, Facebook, Showtime, Twitter, Vudu, and others.