Hulu Plus has become a holy grail of sorts in terms of app integration, and just as Indiana Jones was able to get his hands on the mystical cup in The Last Crusade, Vizio says it's managed to track down Hulu Plus and add it to its VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) platform.
Vizio also added Blockbuster On Demand, both of which you'll find embedded into several CE connected devices, including LCD HDTVs and Blu-ray players.
"Our Vizio Internet Apps platform continues to be the most innovative and compelling connected experience for consumer electronics," said Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer at Vizio. "Service and application partners focus on Vizio because of the seamless user experience, class leading features, and award winning devices. The result is a product that gives consumers unprecedented choice and access to the best of what the web has to offer."
Both of these additions are subscription services. For Hulu Plus, you'll have to fork over $7.99/month, while Blockbuster On Demand offers rentals ranging in price from $2.99 to $3.99, and purchases priced $5.99 to $19.99.
Foxconn, the same company that builds Apple's iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad products, has been contracted to manufacture smartphones and tablets for Vizio, according to DigiTimes.
Vizio's entry into both of these categories bodes well for U.S. consumers, as Vizio will look to aggressively undercut the competition's pricing, particularly Apple. Along with more than 45 other vendors jumping into the tablet fray, DigiTimes says a price war is likely to erupt, much like we recently saw in the eBook reader market.
Vizio plans to show off its 4-inch "Via Phone" smartphone this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), as well as its 8-inch "Via Tablet" slate. According to reports, the Via Tablet will run Android and include Wi-Fi connectivity, though it's unclear if 3G will also be part of the feature-set.
Vizio's latest 3D display trades in those heavy active shutter glasses for polarized specs, which are both lighter and cheaper to produce. They're the same kind you get at the movie theater, so if you pocket a pair rather than tossing it into the recycle bin on your way out of the theater, they should work with Vizio's new 65-inch XVT Series Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV.
Four sets of eye-gear come with the display, and according to Vizio, its 3D tech is up to 50 percent brighter than conventional active 3D systems, has one half of the visual crosstalk distortion, handles fast action motion without annoying blur, has a wider horizontal viewing angle, and isn't affected by eye-strain inducing flicker.
Vizio's display also ships with a handful of Internet apps baked in, including Amazon Video On Demand, Facebook, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, VUDU, and Yahoo TV Widgets, with more apps available.
While major content providers continue to shun the Google TV platform, at least getting hardware vendors lined up doesn't seem to be a problem. According to a Bloomberg report, both Toshiba and Vizio plan to unveil Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2011.
"We are very happy with the launch of Google TV with our initial partners Sony, Logitech, and Intel," Google said. "Our long-term goal is to collaborate with a broad community of consumer electronics manufacturers to help drive the next generation, TV-watching experience."
There's also talk of Samsung joining the fray, thought that's still up in the air. And technically, so are the plans of Toshiba and Vizio -- Bloomberg's information comes courtesy of "people familiar with the matter" rather than talking heads from each respective company.
No other company shipped more LCD TVs in the U.S. in the third quarter than Vizio, while Toshiba was the sixth most active, according to iSuppli.