Are Light Bulbs Next Bright Idea for VIZIO?

Orange County Business Journal
July 3, 2011
By Chris Casacchia

Irvine’s Vizio Inc., known for low-cost flat TVs that sell at big retailers, has some industry watchers scratching their heads with its latest product: light bulbs.

Vizio’s ongoing diversification into digital, mobile and online entertainment is a natural transition, given the company’s strong position in the TV market, according to analyst Paul Gagnon.

The move into light bulbs came “out of left field,” he said.

“I didn’t see that one coming,” said Gagnon, director of North America TV research at Santa Clara’s DisplaySearch, part of Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group Inc. “It’s a bit unusual for a company that started in the TV business not that long ago to branch out in that direction.”

Vizio designs and markets its flat TVs from its headquarters here. It was relatively unknown when it started in 2002 amid the flat-screen boom.

The company now has yearly sales of about $3 billion and has taken large chunks of business away from big-name rivals, including Samsung Group, Sony Corp. and Funai Electric Corp., which sells sets under the Philips brand in the U.S.

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