Vizio launches Mac-like PCs starting at $898

Vizio -- best known for making TVs -- is expanding into the PC realm with a new line of laptops and desktops.

Sarah Tew/CNET

NEW YORK -- Vizio, a company best known for making TVs, is officially throwing its hat into the PC arena.

The company is taking the wraps off three distinct lines of Windows computers: ultrabooks, mid-size laptops, and all-in-one desktops.

Vizio had previously announced its plans to jump into the PC market at the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but today's New York press event was the official coming-out party for the new systems.

While the company has previously dabbled in tablets, Vizio is known primarily as a scrappy competitor in the TV space. It's perhaps best remembered for helping to commoditize the burgeoning flat-panel television market during the last decade, gobbling up market share from the likes of Sony and Sharp. Of course, the PC market is already commoditized, with razor-thin profit margins for all the major players, save Apple.

But that may well be the company that Vizio is hoping to emulate here. At the New York launch event, Vizio CTO Matt McRae introduced the new systems by saying that current PCs are mundane, and not built with the consumer in mind.

These new systems mix high-end components with slick designs, including unibody construction, hidden hinges, and full HD displays. The look is definitely Mac-like, but also follows the current trend towards aesthetic minimalism in laptops and all-in-one desktops. The all-in-one models are especially influenced by Vizio's TV-making experience, with HDMI inputs for the display, a remote control, and Blu-ray options.

Playing off of Vizio's expertise in the home entertainment field, a Function-key shortcut can launch directly into online entertainment hubs, including Netflix and EA's Origin gaming service.

The two thin-and-light laptop entries are part of Intel's ultrabook program, and all are very sharp-looking. According to McRae, Intel devoted engineering resources to help Vizio built these high-end components (including Ivy Bridge processors, of course) into these slim bodies.

If you're looking for a Vizio PC, the company is building several mini-stores into shipping containers, and plans to bring them to consumers at festivals, public events, and even into retail stores, including a breakout mini-store inside some Walmart locations.

You can find more details of the individual systems below. Prices for each line start at $898.

Vizio CN15 15.6-inch laptop
Vizio CT14/C15 ultrabooks
Vizio CA24/CA27 all-in-one desktops

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This post has been updated since its original publication with additional details and photos from the press conference.

 

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