Television maker Vizio rolled its eyes at the PC industry and announced June 15 that it had started shipping Thin + Light Notebooks and an all-in-one PC that will "break through the clutter" and prove once and for all that "power, design and entertainment can flawlessly coexist in a PC."
In other words, Vizio created cleanly designed machines that look like something Apple might have made a few years ago.
The personal computers feature 3rd-generation Intel Ivy Bridge processors, "premium materials" and the benefits of the Irvine, Calif.-based company's HDTV heritage.
"PCs haven't always been made with design at the forefront," Matt McRae, Vizio CTO, said in a statement. "While customers want an elegant, multipurpose device capable of executing tasks and flawlessly delivering entertainment, some PCs still look like mundane work machines."
That may have been more true before the Ultrabook era, but no matter. Vizio has made some competitively priced, very nice-looking machines that will be sold at Sam's Club, Walmart and Costco stores, in addition to Amazon.com, Target and the Microsoft Store, and are likely to find the company a foothold in the market.
Two Ultrabooks, what Vizio is calling Thin + Light portable PCs, feature either 14- or 15.6-inch Full HD displays and a "razor-thin design made possible by a durable, anodized aluminum unibody construction," said the company. The portables are said to boot up in seconds and offer day-long battery life. Pricing starts at $898.
A Vizio Notebook features a 15.6-inch Full HD 1080p display, audio with SRS Premium Sound HD and an anodized aluminum unibody construction said to offer strength and durability. Concealed passive heat ventsone of a number of what Vizio calls "smart innovations"pulls in cold air to reduce the need for a fan. Pricing starts at $898.
Finally, the third form factor is an AiO with a 24- or 27-inch Full HD 1080p displaywhich appears to sit atop a metal lollipop stick fed into a base, but must be far more durable than its look suggests. Vizio describes it as having a die-cast aluminum neck with a hidden hinge and precision CNC detailing. There's also a "premium" wireless keyboard and wireless touchpad.
Dual High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) inputs allow users to connect cable boxes and game consoles, and there's a subwoofer for 2.1 surround sound audio with SRS Premium Sound HD.
Vizio said it developed the PCs with "contrast, image quality and viewing angles top of mind, giving PC users an experience only HDTVs could previously deliver."
Enabling the PCs to easily stream video, said Vizio, it included Nvidia Kepler-Class GeForce GPUstechnology that Apple also included in new notebooks introduced this week.
Sony, another television maker, is also relying on its display expertise to help make a name for itself in the highly competitive mobile market.
On June 24, AT&T Wireless will begin selling its new Android smartphone, the Sony Xperia ion. The phone includes a 4.6-inch HD Reality Display and a Mobile Bravia video engine that Sony says is borrowed from its television line and that offers "unbeatable HD viewing."