updated 11:30 am EST, Tue January 10, 2012
Vizio details 2012 TV and Stream Player roadmap
Vizio on Tuesday expanded its entire TV-focused strategy for 2012 by starting with its own equivalent to an Apple TV. The VAP430 Stream Player is dedicated solely to bringing Google TV 2.0 to sets that don't already have it. It links to the TV through HDMI, with a pass-through for other devices, and can share media on the local network through Wi-Fi and DLNA.
The Stream Player ships with a dual-sided remote that carriers a QWERTY keyboard. Pre-orders aren't expected to start until the spring for the device, however, which puts its release in mid-year.
Also coming in support of the Android-based platform are the VBR430 Blu-ray player, which adds its namesake optical player to the equation, as well as 47-, 55-, and 65-inch VIA Internet Plus TV sets that build Google TV inside. Vizio promises the sets themselves have contrast ratios of at least 1,000,000:1, but isn't specific on release details.
A newly shipping XCV100 Video Camera is available to give not just Vizio's own TVs but any Skype-capable device, including computers and mobile hardware, two-way video calls. VIA Internet Apps-equipped TVs can use it for Skype. Four microphones let the HD-capable camera pick up audio as far away as 16 feet.
A VHT215 2.1 Sound Bar includes a wireless subwoofer and upgrades Vizio's core, compact audio system, while a VSD210 High Definition Audio Dock supports every iOS device up to iPads. Both are available today for unmentioned prices.
Among Vizio's core TV line, it plans to headline them with the CinemaWide line. The sets are reportedly the first in the US to ship with a 21:9, theater-level aspect ratio and will display supporting movies at the native 2560x1080p encoding instead of with black bars. The initial roster includes the 50-inch XVT3D500CM, 58-inch XVT3D580CM, and 71-inch XVT3D710CM. All can display 3D using four pairs of bundled passive glasses, have a minimum 1,000,000:1 contrast, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The smaller two sets use 120Hz refresh rates, while the 71-inch line leader updates at 240Hz. None yet has a definitive ship date or price.
More conventional viewing is served by newly-shipping, traditional ratio TVs. The E series ranges from 32 to 65 inches and still carries Wi-Fi, Vizio's in-house interface, and two sets of passive 3D glasses. Moving to the M or R series gets more advanced LED backlighting and includes four pairs of glasses.
The E series is shipping now for prices between $550 and $850, with prices and ship dates for the M and R yet to come.
Every non-Google TV now has access to the Yahoo Connected TV store and can get access to custom apps from CBS, Showtime, and other networks.