updated 05:50 pm EDT, Thu June 23, 2011
Vizio mid-year update sees new earphones, more
Vizio continued a string of mid-year AV updates with a turn towards audio and Blu-ray players. The VHE211is its first real mobile in-ear headphones and include a built-in mic for iPhones and other smartphones to handle calls. Vizio claims to have better quality than usual in the class with 9mm neodymium drivers and a flat design to fight tangling; they ship in white or black this summer for $30.
An upgrade is also coming to the company's home router. The XWR200 boosts the Wi-Fi speed to 450Mbps to support the most recent notebooks and mobile hardware. Its Ethernet jacks have also been upgraded to gigabit speeds. Range should also be better with both the antenna needed for the 450Mbps speeds and more power amplifiers. Vizio is still in early stages with the XWR200 and won't ship it until the first half of 2012.
An upgrade to the company's higher-end soundbar, the VHT215, is coming soon. The new version has two HDMI 1.4a inputs, one matching output, and one input each for co-ax optical, digital optical, and regular stereo. A new front panel display better shows volume and active input on the system, whose signature trick is a wireless subwoofer. The bar ships in August for $329.
3D TV owners are getting new XPG201 (single-pair) and XPG202 (two-pair) passive shutter glasses kits that tout curved lenses. Their pricing isn't available but will see both in stores before the end of the month.
A slew of new devices are already in stores. The XVTHP200 ($310) home theater headphones have a wireless dock for listening to an iPod. XVTHB100 Bluetooth headphones ($100) pair up with any device for both listening and audio out. The VBR122 and VBR133 Blu-ray players ($110 and $120) both offer basic movie playing along with Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Netflix; the VBR133 adds 3D. An XWH200 universal Wireless HD kit ($230) brings the standard to Blu-ray players, game consoles and other devices where going wireless with 1080p 2D or 3D video isn't normally an option. Finally, the VSB205 ($119) is a basic soundbar that lacks a wireless subwoofer and has regular RCA and 3.5mm inputs.