Vizio to Demo Google TV Sets at CES

Vizio will dash the theory that Google asked TV set makers to halt shipments of new Google TV appliances by introducing two new Google TV sets at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Rumors of Google TV delays by hardware partners may have been exaggerated.

Vizio on Jan. 3 announced it would demonstrate TV sets and Blu-ray players preloaded with the Web-meets-TV service at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

Vizio said it will show off the VIA Plus 47-inch XVT3D476SV and 56-inch XVT3D556SV HDTVs at their private CES showcase at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 6.

Via Plus is the company's line of Android-based devices, encompassing HDTVs, Blu-ray players, smartphones and tablet computers. Engadget has images of the products here.

Vizio said in a press release that its Google TV-enabled VIA Plus HDTVs and Blu-ray players will come with Bluetooth-capable QWERTY universal remote with a directional touchpad, 802.11n WiFi and enhanced onscreen navigation, including Google search and the Chrome Web browser.

These are the standard features Sony has offered for its Google TV-enabled televisions and Blu-ray players since their launch in October in time for the holiday season.

However, Sony and Logitech created separate software applications to let users control their Google TV appliances from Android-based handsets and tablets.

Vizio is enabling its new smartphones and tablets to operate the company's Google TV appliances via a built-in IR blaster with universal remote control app. This ecosystem integration is unique among the small Google TV universe today.

Google TV Product Manager Rishi Chandra expressed his pleasure with Vizio's move in a brief blog post Jan. 3.

"Vizio is making a new line of TVs and a Blu-ray player incorporating Google TV that will hit shelves later this year," Chandra wrote.

He reaffirmed that Google will roll out developer tools and the Android Market for building Google TV applications.

The Vizio news comes just two weeks after The New York Times said Google asked TV set makers to delay introducing Google TV-based products at the 2011 CES so that the company can improve the software.

Logitech, whose Revue companion box was the first Google TV device to hit the market, vehemently denied that Google asked for a stay.

The company noted that Google TV updates are delivered over the air and independent of the hardware, making it senseless for Google to request manufacturing stoppages from hardware partners.