Sound and Vision Embolden VIZIO

A 50-inch television isn't really considered big anymore.

Irvine-based Vizio has surged into No. 2 in the TV industry behind Samsung, offering models 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, even 80 inches across, measured diagonally, for $650 to $3,800. They come with Wi-Fi connectivity and apps like Netflix and YouTube streaming built right in.

What big-screen TVs giveth in size, though, they taketh away in sound quality, as speakers shrink to fit ultra-thin LED cabinets. That's giving Vizio its next growth market: selling separate sound bars to supplement TV speakers.

When people upgrade their picture with one of those giant TVs, a sound bar – which can sell from under $100 to nearly $400 – seems like a reasonable investment to upgrade sound quality, said Ben Arnold, an industry analyst at NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

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