LAS VEGAS--Google TV has a way of disappointing expectations, and one strong case in point is the Vizio's VIA Plus platform for TVs.
At CES 2011 we named the VIA Plus models as our favorite TV product of CES. They used Google TV to deliver what the company described as interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus was also said to support the OnLive gaming service. Those extras, along with the same kind of full-array local-dimming backlight we know and love, was enough to convince us that the so-equipped TVs were going to be pretty awesome.
Unfortunately, because of what Vizio describes as Google TV-related issues beyond its control, they never came out.
We asked about the VIA Plus sets during a pre-CES briefing with Vizio and were told they were still on the company's product release roadmap. The new release date is "early fall." They will have different model numbers and at least one change for the worse: that backlight is now an edge-lit affair. Vizio further specified that the new VIA Plus models would have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, and three screen sizes: 47-, 55-, and a new 65-inch option.
On the bright side, maybe having all that extra time to perfect VIA Plus will allow Vizio to do something really special with Google TV's Honeycomb customizations. We'll see.