VIZIO has done for HDTVs what Dell did for PCs and Southwest Airlines did for air travel: sell them for less. The company sells low-cost flat panel and plasma LCD HDTVs. It competes head-to-head with Japan's Sonyand Samsung; its products, however, are made in China and Taiwan. VIZIO has logged large annual revenue gains by selling quality televisions for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars less than its competitors. The company was founded by CEO William Wang in 2002 and, initially, its TVs were only sold at membership retailers such as Costco Wholesale, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Sam's Club. Since then it has extended its reach to discount retailers Wal-Mart and Sears. VIZIO entered the PC arena in 2012.
Best known for its TVs, VIZIO also makes Blue-Ray disc players, speakers, headphones, Internet routers, and other consumer electronics products, including PCs.
With home computers becoming an integral part of home entertainment systems, VIZIO entered the PC market in mid-2012 with a new line of laptops and desktops starting at about $890. By combining its entertainment know-how with the power of the latest Intel Core processors, VIZIO hopes to set a new standard for the Windows experience. The line consists of the VIZIO Thin + Light, Notebook, and All-in-One PC.
VIZIO also controls the design and marketing of its products and partners with contract manufacturers to make TVs less expensively than its competitors. Its collaboration with AmTran Technology Co., based in Taipei, has proven to be an integral part of the success of both VIZIO and AmTran. AmTran, which has an ownership stake in VIZIO, generates some 80% of its revenue from sales to VIZIO, while VIZIO relies on AmTran as a supplier for most of its TVs.
VIZIO's low-cost business model and partnerships with high-volume retailers, such as Wal-Mart, has paid off for the company, which was named the #1 shipper of LCD TVs in the US in 2009. Since 2002, VIZIO has sold more than 30 million TVs. To VIZIO, having the top LCD TV in the US is a first step. The TV maker also entered after the market for smart TVs, which are integrated with Internet functionality, shipping its first model during the second half of 2011. – less