VIZIO also drops plasmas
Whether the rumors that Pioneer plans to pull out of the plasma TV business prove true or not, one other maker of flat-panel TVs has left plasma behind: Vizio.
The five-year-old company, which originally made a name for itself selling lower-cost plasma and LCD TVs, will concentrate solely on LCD TVs. The companyís Web site still features plasma models, but Vizio introduced no new plasma models last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, and is now virtually out of its existing plasma inventory, according to the company co-founder Laynie Newsome. As a result, just three large-volume plasma manufacturers are left marketing their sets in the United States: LG, Panasonic and Samsung.
There were several reasons behind the decision, Ms. Newsome said. Plasma sets simply donít show as well in big box stores, which are typically lighted by bright fluorescent and halogen lights, giving consumers the impression that LCD TVs have a more exciting picture. Also, the company wanted to devote all of its available shelf space to the technology that moves off the shelves fastest. As with the majority of its competitors, Vizio will concentrate on adding features to its line of LCD sets. Its first LED-backlit LCD TV will come to market this July, a $1,999 55-inch model that also features 240 Hz technology.
The company will also introduce its first Blu-ray player in May, a $199 model that includes BD Live and 7.1 channel surround sound. While Vizio has competed well on price, as its international competitors reduce their own prices, the company understands that it needs to expand its product offerings to improve the overall perception of the brand with consumers.