Vizio is at it again. The price-busting flat-panel TV specialist has set its sights on the huge-screen category with a 60-inch plasma TV, the VM60P HDTV, that will retail for $2,999 when it hits stores in February. That price is the best I've seen for any flat-panel TV larger than 50 inches, and it helps people shopping for a massive picture consider something other than rear-projection sets. The closest comparable HDTV I can think of, Panasonic's 58-inch TH-58PX600U, costs more and has a smaller screen, although if Panasonic's excellent track record is any indication, its picture may outclass the Vizio's. We won't know for sure until we get our hands on a VM60P review unit.
But the Vizio VM60P's spec sheet dominates the competition in one important area. It has four HDMI inputs, more than any other HDTV we've seen, regardless of price. That excellent connectivity is complemented by its standard native resolution (1366x768)--sorry folks, no 1080p at this size for three grand--along with the usual array of analog inputs and an HDTV tuner. The set can accept 1080p sources, although it naturally scales them down to the native resolution. Vizio's representative described a "bronze" color (he assured me it looks darker in person than in the picture here) along with a bottom-mounted, clear plastic "reflector" that casts the sound from the hidden speakers into the room that owners can remove if they like. Other highlights include Faroudja video processing and color temperature adjustments.
One final highlight? Knowing Vizio, that sale price will likely be discounted by the time the VM60P arrives in stores.