The Evolution Of Vizio Internet Apps

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2014

vizio-internet-apps

Vizio was one of the first and perhaps largest manufacturer to take on the Yahoo Internet TV platform. And early iterations could be a bit painful. Fast forward a few years, never minding that brief flirtation with Google TV, and we find ourselves a visually rich, customizable, and robust “VIA+” experience based on Yahoo Connected TV 6.5 and bolstered by the Opera SDK for HTML 5 apps, like Netflix.

All television sizes and lines (E, M, P) in Vizio’s 2014 lineup will have an app-enabled SKU. Beyond the set, remaining Google TV-powered Costar inventory is working its way through the sales channel, with the newer, sleeker Costar LT ($80) acting as its Yahoo-powered replacement. HDMI pass-thru is usually associated with Google TV, but Vizio carries over this clever Input 1 approach to the LT. Also new for 2014 is a redesigned QWERTY remote — it’s still not the most svelte we’ve seen but a dramatic improvement over the prior model.

Like the Rokus of the world, there is indeed a screen of app icons. However, favorites can be pinned to a scrollable dock overlayed over video content, providing a less disruptive experience, and not dissimilar to the new LG webOS smart TV interface. Of course all the usual Internet apps are present. However, of note, Vizio is the exclusive TV launch platform for the new Lyve photo & video service.

2 responses to The Evolution Of Vizio Internet Apps

  1. So tempting. But I’ve been “burned” twice by vizio already and am skeptical. I have one of those early smart TVs with Yahoo, and the interface/implementation truly is abysmal. Maybe they upgraded it, I don’t know. Haven’t opened it in over a year, perhaps more. Only reason I don’t worry as much is I didn’t care for that feature, it wasn’t part of my purchase decision.

    I did by the original Google TV powered Costar, and it kept dying, needing a factory reset to come back to life. Then there was a hack to get the new TV guide versus the old one.

    But… HDMI in (one input) is really an enticing feature. It’s why I tried Costar in the first place. I keep coming back to Roku, but I wish it had HDMI pass through.

  2. I’ve had two Visio products – a TV and a broadband router. Both were ruined by abysmal software. The tv’s DLNA never worked right, and the router has to be rebooted daily. I ended up replacing the router (since it was acting as a wireless network extender) and my main router with an apple AirPort Extreme. The TV now has an appletv attached to it to stream movies and Netflix.