August 20, 2007 1:20 PM PDT

The secret of Vizio's success

(continued from previous page)

For Vizio, small is big. The company employs 85 people in the U.S., and most of them are in customer support. The company also has a few employees overseas. Most of the actual manufacturing is conducted by contract manufacturers. Lavish corporate parties and massive salaries are largely absent.

Vizio also emerged with an unusual distribution strategy. It started by selling TVs solely through Costco and Sam's Clubs, though it now sells some models in Wal-Mart, Sears and Circuit City. These retailers, which are selling an increasing number of TVs, typically are looking for gross margins on their products only in the 10 percent range. Electronics retailers are looking for 25 percent or more. For Vizio, that's a two-way benefit: the price of its TVs are comparatively lower than those from major manufacturers at electronics stores, and major manufacturers can't participate as fully as they'd like to at places like Costco.

The lower prices coincided with another trend: Customers became more acclimated to buying electronics at superstores. Thus, the company was selling cheap TVs at the places people were frequenting. Last year on Black Friday--the traditional blockbuster sales day just after Thanksgiving--Vizio sold between 35,000 and 37,000 TVs.

But will it be able to sustain its strong momentum? Most likely yes, especially since the frantic holiday sales season is nearly upon us, according to iSuppli's Patel. The third and fourth quarters are very important to the TV business, and iSuppli is betting that Vizio will continue to grow its shipments.

"Now, having said that, we do understand that other brands like Samsung, Sony and Sharp are not going to sit quietly," Patel said. "They are going to work on their pricing strategy or promotion plans to compete effectively with the onslaught Vizio has brought on."

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$1000 for 47 inch set?
Not that I've seen. Most low end 42' sets are still over $1000.
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
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I found the 42' at Walmart on sale for $896. I want to know about quality.
Posted by liqoriche (1 comment )
Link Flag
Quality will be great. we bought a philips 1080p 42 inch from costo for 800 and it is amazing
Posted by zia1494 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Yes Virginia, they are $1k or less
<a class="jive-link-external" href=";tag=pdtl-list" target="_newWindow">;tag=pdtl-list</a>
just price a vizio 42" panel on CNET's price comparison in the link above.
Posted by kadebaird (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vizio - I definately like them
We bought our 32" Vizio last year. We bought it after an endorsement from a colleague. She had a 50" model.

Ours has been great.

My colleague's died just after the 1 year warranty expired and do you know what?

Vizio STILL replaced it.

As far as I'm concerned, that speaks very positively about them. They could have legally put the screws to my colleague and they didn't.

I'll be going back to these guys.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WORST Customer Service EVER
ordered from them in mid-March. They shipped it FedEx, pretty late. Had to take the day off from work to take delivery. So far, ok, if annoying. Then, because of their crappy packaging material, the TV is broken on delivery. Now the nightmare starts in full: it took me at least 3-4 calls to find someone who could figure out what to do for me to get a replacement. Their people are not the brightest, to say the least.

Then THEY started calling ME: "Why are we sending you a new TV?" "We don't see you in our system." "Where are you in our system" (Yeah. They kept demanding I tell them where I was in Their system). I tried to get them to tell me how to send back the old, broken TV. Noone could tell with any certainty or clarity. One of their guys could barely speak English. But I was finally promised a "return label" in the new TV's package, which I could use to send back the old one.

And yet it got even worse: on the day the new one arrived, I had to take a day off from work again for this delivery. Now UPS had the unfortunate task of delivering for these idiots. Of course, the return label was NOT provided as promised. At this point I'm so angry I can barely stand up straight. I've been on the phone with their rude nasty people at least a dozen times, EACH TIME being interrogated as to exactly where "I was" in their broken system. So after more calls, finally a manager calls me. And says someone will pick up the old broken TV that day. This is the first person at the company who seemed like she had a brain above the reptilian level. An actual human being. Wow. At Vizio. She is truly the exception.

The clicher: today, MORE THAN 10 DAYS AFTER I THOUGHT THIS NIGHTMARE WAS FINALLY OVER (!!!) some cretin "customer service manager" named "Donovan" or whatever (who had the nerve to tell me she did not HAVE a supervisor or manager, apparently she thought I would believe she reported straight to the president - "and he's in Taiwan a lot" she helpfully informed me - nice tidbit, huh?). She begins to AGAIN interrogate me as to where I was in their system, and threatened me that they would charge my credit card for another TV, or repossess their old one, if I did not cooperate.

Un-believable! Just incredible. At this point, the modest savings of a couple of hundred bucks earned by buying Vizio were more than outweighted by the lost time and aggravation.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and DO NOT deal with these clowns.

They have the worst customer service I have ever experienced.
Posted by erobak (23 comments )
Link Flag
Really, truly the worst buying experience of my life. I guess if you can go to Costco or something like that and not have to deal with the Vizio people directly, it might be ok, as the prices sure are low. The quality of the TV is not that high either, though, so you get what you pay for, right?

But if you have to deal with the Vizio people directly, or think you might have to, do yourself a HUGE favor and STAY THE HELL AWAY! They are the rudest, most retarded, most uncooperative bunch of people I have ever dealt with. Add to that that their systems seem completely broken and it's an almost shockingly bad experience.

If you get your TV at all, without any problems, you can count yourself lucky.
Posted by erobak (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
how can you say that?
Let Me ask you something? how is it that you and about 5 other people Can sit there and badmouth Vizio TV when 75 other people are giving positive Reviews. did it ever dAwn on you that maybe you just had Someone inexperienced helping you This Company wants to goto the top IM sure they Know that they wont get there by being rude to customers.or by selling Junk-I have however read that if a customer does get a defective set which I have read Sony, Samsung, Phillips have all shipped defective TV's That Vizio will Repair for l year in home service or Replace the Unit with a brand new to. as for after warranty go that, up to you its only 179.99 from Vizio for 5 years in home service or Replacement. So if you add 629.99+179.99 = 809.99 that's still an Amazing Price for A nice 32" LCD HDTV right? Every brand sells defective stuff its just how it goes. you happen to be the one of few who this happened to there are too Many good Reviews out therefor you to take this personal. I Urge you to call Vizio and ask for a supervisor and they will do everything to make you happy
Posted by dunhill421 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Dunhill he can say that because it is completely true. VIZIO is a company I wouldn't buy from again if they had a $100 50" TV. Customer service is awful and the warranty is complete b.s. This is a horrible company with mediocre products that aren't covered by the very "Limited Warranty".
Posted by altr0s (3 comments )
Link Flag
I'm forced to agree with erobak and altr0s. My set is only 5 months old, and it already died on me. VIZIO service won't be able to send someone for a full week from the date I called. That's acceptable service to them, I guess.

Yes, the price of these LCD HDTVs is relatively low, but what good is a low price if you need to replace the set after a year or two? As it is, I'm stuck with a $550.00 lemon that'll probably need replacing before it's two years old.

Do your homework before buying a VIZIO. I didn't, and now I'm gonna pay for my carelessness.
Posted by Marie784 (1 comment )
Link Flag
I like mine a lot
I purchased my Vizio 42 inch LCD with 1080p resolution at an unheard of price of $1139.00 at Sears. You will not find a comparable TV within hundreds of that price. So far it's outstanding, and when I had questions or concerns about the product I've used the discussion forum on Vizio's site, and found it to be helpful and responsive. While I'm concerned to read the other comments about poor customer service and dead TV's, I cannot complain about my experience--in fact, the picture quality and ease of use is so good I am going to wear out my new sofa in record time! Let's hope that the low price is due to low overhead and reasonable profit margins, rather than poor quality or lack of committment to service.
Posted by midiexpert (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Comparable and within a few hundred ...
"You will not find a comparable TV within hundreds of that price."

Samsung LNT4061F $1499 at all the regular retailers.
Posted by roninhyde (12 comments )
Link Flag
U Get what U Pay's JUNK!
You will fail in about another year...Don't expect VIZIO to help. VIZIO SUCKS they have the worst service and poor quality products.
Posted by acekj1 (6 comments )
Link Flag
Sony in 6th Place...They should be last...
Sony has gone from being a high quality product to just plain junk. Their failure rate is higher than any other mfr and their prices are still as high as they were when they were really quality.
If Sony was the only product on the shelf then I just wouldn't buy. Everything that I have had that has been Sony has broken just after the warranty and then to get it repaired costs almost if not more than just buying another.

Samsung I like but they have been "jacking up" their prices lately. They are still a good product but just a bit more than I want to spend. So have I bought a vizio yet? No. Will I? Probably because whenit comes down to it most of what you are buying today is only module repairable and their are only a few modules in an LCD or Plasma set so unless you're lucky enough to just have the power supply go out then you are SOL. So why not buy Vizio or Westinghouse or any of the other lower end sets. You could buy two or three of them for the same price as you would pay for a Sony, Pioneer, or Samsung.
And don't start getting into the fine detail specs either because those specs don't last long and I don't mean the resolution or connections I mean the contrast ratio, dead pixels, etc.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Improved quality with newer models, seemingly
I bought a Visio from Costco in April 2006. After about 6 months some weird problems started showing up with the remote control receiver unit: channel change would sometimes power off the unit, at other times it would be unresponsive, volume button would switch channels instead, etc. I tried with a couple of other remotes, but saw the same behavior. I returned it to Costco and decided to roll the dice again by getting a later model as replacement (the price had even gone down by about 200 bucks!). I've had the new one for about 9 months now, and so far it's been behaving.
Posted by WattaDai (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
if you want a relatively hassle free t.v buy go to a Sam's club or costco. I personally work at Sam,s and I can assure you your treatment will be good . also I have sold 1366x768 res in the 42" under $ 900 for a while now and expect to see more price down coming.
Posted by underwood44 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Best value
Can you get a better display or feature set?


Can you get a better display or feature set for a similar price?


After being a Sony man forever, I dumped them for company that balances features and price in a very nice way.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Common sense for a change
I like that.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
I am extremely happy with mine
I check all tv at Costco and the only one slightly better picture was the sony. But the sony only had 1 hdmi. My vizio has inputs for evrything. Best tv IU ever owned. My next tv is also going to be a vizio.
Posted by yacahuma (530 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It takes about 24 to 26 months but it WILL FAIL and VIZIO CUSTOMER SUPPORT IS WORST EVER! So, do yourself a favor and don't buy a VIZIO they are JUNK.
Posted by acekj1 (6 comments )
Link Flag
Visio is good
but get the extended warranty. Inside in Phillips, guess how I know.
Posted by Dans1942 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duh. It's obvious. VIZIO is cheap brand. They have relatively good quality(but still not good as competitors). And they sell at COSTCO~! That report is not very surprising
Posted by cirenow (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's wrong with Costco?
And just what is wrong with Costco? Have you ever shopped there?
Costco has extremely good products, great pricing, and doesn't sell
junk. Sure, you might have to buy in volume and end up with too
much laundry soap for a while, but you also get great deals on high
cost items with a superb return policy.
Posted by danielmaui (14 comments )
Link Flag
So what is your point? Besides your head.
Yes they are inexpensive. Yes they are sold at costco.

OH! Now I get it. You are one of the shoppers that believes brand and higher price equals quality.

Well you continue to shop in your boutique and the rest of us will get reasonable products at reasonable prices.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
...What's wrong with Costco?
I've shopped regularly at Costco for many years, and I've found that everything they sell has always been high-quality. If I was looking for a flat-panel TV, Costco is one of the first places I'd go, and if I went there, I'd get a much better deal than I would at other stores.
Posted by Jortibereal (32 comments )
Link Flag
I Love it!
Why should anyone in 2007 pay for a "name" like Sony? Theres no
real difference to the average eye. None. Besides, you know the
customer service you'll get with Sony: BAD. Why NOT take a chance
on the new guy --at a lot less money? Its a no-brainer.
Posted by TVToy (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Brand plus High Price does not equal quality.
In this new world of "throw away" electronics why anybody would pay 2-3 times the cost for a similar item is beyond me.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
WARNING! Keep the BOX (so you can return it when it breaks)
We had the unfortunate experience of owning a VISIO plasma.

Because we stupidly threw away the box, we were unable to take it back and get a new one when it stopped working (a few days after the warranty expired.)

VISIO refuses to provide component level schematics, so their products can be repaired only by very expensive board swaps.

When they work, they are great, but KEEP THE BOX and buy from a store like COSTCO with a good return policy.
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Always a good idea, and the receipt too.
Good comment but not limited to visio.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
It's Finally Happening...
People are finally realizing that Sony isn't all that they would love to fool people to believe.

They products look great (granted, they are super shiney and sleek) but they DO NOT LAST. This comes from a guy who owned a Vaio, PSP, Cybershot, etc....Sony = never again.
Posted by Darkneptune (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not so...
You're generalizing on a Mfr/Product and it's not fair. Don't you know that all electronic components are potential victims to failure? Yes, some more than others but realize this... if we all buy that high dollar value item you darn well better buy an equally high dollar power surge/filter device to go along with it. I, like you, have been a Sony fan for the past 20 years. To my credit, I have had only 1 or 2 items fail on me. I've been fortunate I guess... but I can tell you some stories of a lot of other brands that have failed.
Posted by b00dah (151 comments )
Link Flag
Total Agreement. Sony not built to last...
In the 70's and 80's Sony had a solid well deserved reputation for quality, bar none. That has changed and Sony outsources the construction of their products as most other consumer lines to Taiwan, Singapore, and now China.
When you buy Sony now you are only buying a Sony design you are not buying a Sony Built product. That was not the case when Sony was quality because it was all built in Japan by high quality (almost fanatic) workers with high quality Japanese and American parts.
What you get now from Sony comes from the far east but not Japan, and the parts are subcontracted out to whomever. It not like they are using Panasonic or Nichicon capacitors anymore they are using sub-par components.
As far as Sony Service forget it. Sony is just a throw away just like the rest.
Next time you look at a Sony look at where it is built and where the components came from....SURPRISE.
I can design a great product but unless I build it with quality parts and subject it to rigorous quality control (like they used to) then it is a crap-shoot.

I have a history with Sony and they were on my "Cannot do wrong" list until everything I bought from them started failing and to get parts from them is almost as expensive as just repurchasing.

Sony is history. They are the Packard-Bells of the consumer electronics. They were once good but now are satisfied with mediocrity.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
I returned mine...but new ones are much nicer
I bought a 37" Vizio LCD a few years ago from Costco for the
outrageous price (then) of $1899. I was running satellite HD
through it and the Vizio had a tough time reproducing black
levels, plus SD channels has a lot of false contours (banding)
which looked pretty bad.

I wound up returning it 9 months later -- yay, Costco -- and
buying competitors' products until I would up with a Panasonic
42" plasma, which is great. But I notice when I go into stores
that the Vizios today are far bettter in contrast and color than
those of even a year ago.

Keep up the good work, Vizio, you're putting pressure on all the
other display manufacturers to make better and more affordable
Posted by grtgrfx (221 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Learn About Vizio's Disposable HDTV
In this copyrighted exclusive story titled: "Your New Disposable Flat Panel HDTV", HD Guru (Gary Merson) investigates the high cost of repair of no-name HDTVs including Vizio, Westinghouse, Olevia and others. It covers the true cost during the warranty period and after the warranty expires. It is a real eye-opener and a must read for anyone considering buying one of these flat panels. Just go to find it under recent posts in the right side column.
Posted by HD Guru (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Westinghouse is No Name?
So far, my 37" 1080P Westy is working great. Cost under $1000. I Mainly use it as a large (1920x1080) computer monitor, but it's also great for TV.

I followed your link and read the article. For the large Vizio sets (42" and up), Vizio now pays for repair shipping both ways.

I suppose you could spend a few hundred more on a "name" brand to avoid an unlikely (probably $30) return shipping cost. But I don't understand why you would want to.

I pondered these issues and did a lot of research online before deciding on the Westy. I noticed that the people complaining about the Westy were those who had never purchased one. Actual Westy owners seemed to love them. If Westinghouse had a quality problem, thousands of people would have been ******** up a storm. So it seemed like my odds were pretty good.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Vizio a good t.v.
Purchased a 37" lcd from costco works good picture is good but sometimes it buzzez at night after running it for 2 or more hours. not very loud buzz just a small buzzing noise if you stand behind t.v. you can hear it. Other than that great t.v. good picture and price was excellent. Give vizio a few years they are forcing to bring pricing downa and will have better t.v.s in the future.
Posted by egranillo (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anyone who things the Vizios look very similar to the Sonys and Samsungs should really have their vision checked...
Posted by dwkeller (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good ole Statistics...
Aside from the obvious picture quality difference between Vizio and the Sony/Panasonic/Pioneer sets is a huge error in the story. "Televisions shipped to retailers" is the most ludicrous statistic ever. Go to a big box electronics store and ask for a Pioneer Elite or a Panasonic Pro model and they MIGHT have a single one in stock. There will be 2-3 in the regional warehouse and will be shipped from there. Goto any Costco, Sams's, etc. and pick out your very own Vizio and you have your pick from a stack of one hundred. Vizio's shipped back will be ten fold as well. I am a quite disappointed in CNET for letting this one slide...
Posted by ev61 (111 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vizio is the worst product known to man ive been through 4 tvs in 6 mnths and they claim direct tvs boxes cause the problems but the tv up stairs seems to work just fine hmmmmm maybe they forgot there may be another tv haha any ways vizio should be sued for robbin people with toys they sale instead of tvs in my opinion its the worst company ive ever seen
Posted by 1_23 (1 comment )
Link Flag
vizio sets
i don't think any vizio set is even close to samsung and SONY quality, if you have a set sitting in Warehouse (Costco Sam's) with really low end SONY or SAMSUNG even then it is not better, it is for those people who can see differnce between SAMSUNG and VIZIO, they have to pay half the price of SONY for a VIZIO. It is like those Kia/Huyundai add comparing it to BMW/Mercedes.
Posted by iserum (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I own a Hyundai ... it's much more reliable than a Mercedes or BMW ... just because "brand name stigma" is higher for those autos than Hyundai doesn't amount to anything these days. The same holds true for Visio. The picture quality and cost point are excellent. Good systems engineering practices have been applied by Visio to produce a quality product and excellent support.
Posted by JLDJR (1 comment )
Link Flag
Vizio maybe appealing to people because of the price but the quality sucks and the more it sucks people will complain and their sales will drop. This television is a piece of crap. They know it and they think they don't need to respond to this. Well only time will tell. I wish I could talk to the CEO I would tell him the reality to going to market with a crappy product.
Posted by abolesel (1 comment )
Link Flag
Reality: LCD's Don't Look Very Good
The funny part of this whole story is that LCD's don't have the picture quality of CRT's or Plasmas. Between motion blur and lame black levels, LCD's are still second tier.

As the newer LCD's begin to roll out, and they begin to address these issue, 120Hz &#38; Localized LED dimming, those issue should fade. But LCD's today generally stink. Save yourself the bad picture quality and get a plasma.
Posted by ecotony (231 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vizio is based in Irvine
Vizio is headquarted in Irvine, CA. Not Costa Mesa.

Irvine, CA 92618
Phone:(949) 428-2525
Toll-Free: (888) VIZIO CE
(888) 849-4623

Posted by rikkus256 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
your comments are rude and have no value
one of my good friends works at Vizio she is the head of one of the customer service departments , she does a very good job!! and all of the people there are not retarded! maybe you are the one who started the ordeal with a bad attitude, I myself know that an angry screaming customer on the phone is not the easiest to deal with. remember noone is perfect, and mistakes do happen.
Posted by lbaby6916 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I was not a screaming customer. I was a nice customer that told them I had been very happy with my VIZIO...and was very disappointed when it failed after only 2 years. And they would do nothing to help me get it repaired. I have never had such bad customer service with anything and I buy a lot of electronics.. VIZIO SUCKS! POOR QUALITY....VIZIO is JUNK!
Posted by acekj1 (6 comments )
Link Flag
I purschased a 50inch Plasma and I got the VIZIO "Pop of Death" after only 26 months. This is a known issue that happens at about the 2 year timeframe. I was first told by as VIZIO tech that they would repair it but I would have to fax my proof of purchase...then call back.. Well, I did and I called back and after talking to 3 techs I was told they would do nothing for me....even though this is a known manufacturing defect and it has happened to a lot of their TVS. So, don't make the the same mistake I anything but a VIZIO. I bought mine at COSTCO...but I had a Circuit City sales man tell me that an average of the 3 out 4 come back there. So, don't by VIZIO the customer support sucks and so do the TVs.
Posted by acekj1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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