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Vizio: new HDTV tuners, same low prices

Vizio: new HDTV tuners, same low prices

Vizio, purveyor of the high-value P50HDM plasma and the L32 LCD TV, announced a pair of aggressively priced flat-panel HDTVs at CES, each equipped with ATSC tuners that allow them to receive over-the-air HDTV via an antenna. Notably, the inclusion of the tuners allows Vizio to market the sets as "HDTVs" instead of lowly "HDTV monitors," even if most buyers won't hook up the antenna.

The 42-inch plasma of the pair, model P42HDTV, has a 1,024x768 native resolution, HDMI and VGA inputs, and a QAM tuner to receive unscrambled HD channels via cable on some systems (but lacks CableCard). Its claim to fame is a rock-bottom list price of $1,799, and it'll hit stores--we assume Costco and Vizio's Web site at first--in February. The company also added an ATSC and a QAM tuner to its formerly tuner-free L32, calling the new model, unsurprisingly, the L32HDTV. It'll be available in March for $999.