Vizio climbs aboard Google TV bandwagon with $99 set-top

Vizio has joined Sony (NYSE: SNE) aboard the Google TV (Nasdaq: GOOG) bandwagon by finally applying a name and price tag to a set-top box it introduced at CES. The name, Co-Star; the price, $99—or $100 less than the box Sony introduced yesterday.

Like the Sony model, the $99 Vizio Co-Star is said to offer the latest version of Google TV and connectability to a cable or satellite box so viewers can watch live or recorded programming and Google TV apps simultaneously. Speaking of simultaneous, while all this box talk was happening Goo gle TV was said to be rolling out in Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Brazil and Mexico.

Getting back to Vizio, the Co-Star features 1080p HD and 3D video support along with the requisite 802.11n WiFi connectivity. It includes a Bluetooth remote with a touchpad and QWERTY keyboard that's also universal enough to be configured to work with other electronics in what's likely to be a crowded home entertainment center.

"We combined the powerful features of Google TV with an intuitive and easy to use interface, giving users the power to enjoy an entire world of entertainment," Vizio's CTO Matt McRae said in a news release.

While some might think that the Vizio Co-Star, and even the Sony set-top and Google TV, threaten incumbent cable, telco and possibly satellite operators. That threat is muted by the inference included in a Vizio news release disclaimer that reads: "High-speed/broadband Internet service and access equipment are required and not provided by VIZIO.  Additional fees and/or subscriptions may be required for certain content and services.  VIZIO makes no warranties, representations, or assurances of any kind as to the content, availability, or functionality of third party content or services."

Those who don't mind those qualifiers will probably be happy to know that the box will be available for pre-orders in July, on the Vizio Web site, and shipping will be free during an introductory offer "while supplies last."

For more:
 - see the Vizio release

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