The most impressive thing anyone is going to see at CES 2013 is a big, beautiful TV. Unfortunately, most of these are only being made for the 1%, for now. But Vizio's might be the first ultra-HD within reach. Kinda.
We checked out the monster 70-inch Vizio XVT (also available in modest 65 and 55 versions), and the quality is astounding—and on par with everything 4k we've seen from Vizio's pricier competitors. Simply, I doubt anyone will be able to tell the difference between a 70-inch Vizio and a 70-inch [Expensive LCD Brand] side by side. And since Vizio consistently undercuts its rivals by pretty large margins, the XVT series is likely the first 4k (or Ultra HD, as it's now being called) set that might be attainable. It's still going to be very expensive—let's keep that in mind—but it'll be the difference between very expensive and insanely expensive. Sadly, Vizio isn't talking about pricing or availability, but it's a solid assumption.
But what'll very expensive get you? A damn incredible picture, with resolution so sharp that it provides a depth illusion that's more enjoyable than most 3D displays. I watched a Dreamworks video loop that'd been compressed down from hundreds of gigabytes to around 60, and there was no noticeable artifacting. And even with my nose jammed up against the glass, pixels were discernable only with a squint. That's the allure of 4k, right? Pixels vanish.
But what about content? Vizio says it's still working on a solution for bringing native 4k resolution TV and movies to customers who shell out for these giant things—perhaps something along the lines of Sony's media server. But the company realizes it's not going to sell a lot of these things if people can't watch anything that takes advantage of 4k. Which is true. That said, upscaling will still be an option for the Blu-rays and hi-def cable you've got already.
This will be the next big jump in television. And it's reassuring to see that, even if it takes a couple of years, Vizio will have a "budget" set that goes toe to toe with anything else.