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Vizio details its Google TVs' sizes, LEDs

Vizio's VIA Plus suite of Internet apps, which includes Google TV capability, will be available in two screen sizes of LED-based LCDs so far.

VIA Plus Platform
Vizio's VIA Plus platform with Google TV will play nice with Android tablets and phones. Vizio
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Editors' Note Jan 8, 2011: The Vizio XVT3D6SP series was selected as the winner of CNET's Best of CES award in the TVs category.

Yesterday, Vizio announced that it would ship TVs equipped with the Google TV platform and today it followed up with more specifics on the models, which will form the XVT3D6SP series.

That series, designated by the VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) Plus moniker, will come in two screen sizes: 47-inch and 55-inch. Both are larger than any of Sony's NSX-GT1 models, which are the only other Google TVs officially announced so far.

VIA Plus adds Google TV to Vizio's suite of Internet Apps, and as described in yesterday's release, allows interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus will also support the OnLive gaming service (video). Vizio will also include a touch-pad-equipped QWERTY remote contol with the XVT3D6SP models.

Unlike Sony, Vizio elected to complement Google TV with a feature-rich television. Both Vizio sets have full-array LED backlight with local dimming, similar to the backlight featured on the XVT3SV series from 2010. They also offer passive 3D compatibility and 480Hz refresh rates.

Pricing and availability were not announced. Check out our write-up of the XVT3D5 for more on Vizio's passive 3D.

Vizio XVT3D6SP series features:

  • Full-array LED backlight with local dimming
  • Passive-3D compatible
  • 480Hz refresh rate
  • VIA Plus Internet Apps with Google TV
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connection
  • Touch-pad QWERTY remote

Vizio XVT3D6SP series models:

  • Vizio XVT3D476SP: 47 inch
  • Vizio XVT3D556SP: 55 inch

Editors' Take updated Jan 7th: I got the chance to check out VIA Plus in person yesterday and came away impressed. The "skin" for Google TV is "more app-centric than search-centric," according to Vizio, and uses icons arranged on the main menu. You can also move icons into different "favorites" categories. Moreover the feel of the interface is identical across Vizio's phone and tablet, and at first glance appears to be an improvement upon the overly-techy default Google TV interface.

The OnLive demo was really cool from a gaming perspective, but even more-so was a feature (available on all Vizio passive 3D TVs) that the company is calling "Versus." It's basically a way for two gamers in the same room to play head-to-head or co-op on the same TV, without an annoying (and cheatable) split-screen view.

Each gamer wears a pair of special passive 3D glasses and can see a different, full-screen 2D view, eg Player 1 and Player 2. Since 3D TVs are designed to send a separate image to each eye, the "Player 1" glasses would have to "left eye" lenses while the Player 2 glasses get two right eye lenses. According to Vizio it's working with publishers like Eidos to implement the feature, and it requires very little modification of the game itself ("as little as 12 lines of code").

I also got to play with the new remote, although unfortunately Vizio wouldn't let me photograph it (the remote Sharon demonstrates in the video below is the current, default Vizio QWERTY clicker). Its standout feature is a built-in touchpad designed for thumb operation that's just like a touchpad on a PC. As annoyed as I was by Sony's Google TV thumb mouse, I really like the idea of browsing Google TV with a small form-factor remote, as opposed to the full-sized Logitech Revue keyboard, for example. Vizio's new remote also has a smartphone-like slide-out QWERTY keyboard that the company says will be a big improvement over the current one.

Check out the video below for more on VIA Plus.

Now playing: Watch this: Vizio XVT3D6SP