Orange County Business Journal

Vizio Launches PCs

Jerry Sullivan Monday, January 9, 2012

Irvine-based Vizio Inc. is on to another new product: personal computers.

The company unveiled two desktop PCs and three notebooks ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The Windows-based machines will go on sale by June at “a price that just doesn’t seem possible,” Chief Technology Officer Matt McRae said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

The expansion into PCs has a look similar to other efforts by Vizio, which entered the crowded field of flat-screen TVs about a decade ago and has since grown to $3 billion in annual sales and a top spot for market share in North America.

Vizio has since made headway with accessories such as Blu-ray players, and launched a tablet. More recently it laid plans to begin selling LED light bulbs.

The new PCs come in a segment that has seen large and long-established companies—including Palo Alto-based Hewlett-Packard Co., among others—struggle with narrowing profit margins and competition from mobile devices such as notebooks and smart phones.

“It’s very similar to TV—we want to get in there and disrupt it,” McRae told Bloomberg. “We think most PCs have been designed for the small-business users, that others have not done a very good job of making them entertainment devices.”

Vizio is zeroing in on a slim laptop and a desktop computer called an “all-in-one,” which features a built-in monitor.

Hewlett-Packard unveiled an all-in-one PC for $1,200 in time for the Consumer Electronics Show this year. A number of other companies are coming out with slimmer laptops, a category known as ultrabooks.

CES starts Tuesday and runs through Friday.