The television has been a part of American life since the 1950’s. Today, around 1.4 billion homes own at least one TV set, a figure that represents a staggering 79% of the total number of homes throughout the world. Despite more recent technological advantages such as the home computer and the smartphone, both of which now allow us to view TV programs, the TV remains as popular as it has ever been.
TV’s have come a long way since the early days when they were only able to show images in black and white, and only on very small screens. Over the years, TV’s got bigger and bigger, while other advancements such as sharper images and flat screen technology all helped to dramatically improve the viewing experience.
In an industry initially dominated by large American companies such as General Electric and Bell Television, the advent of globalization brought a multitude of new players into the market, many of which were from the Far East. One company that emerged from the Far East was Samsung, which in the last 50 years has grown into one of the world’s powerhouses of consumer electronics.
Since a TV represents quite a large investment for the average household, naturally homeowners want to make sure that they are getting the best return for their hard earned cash, so the question that everyone needs to be answered is, how do Samsung’s TVs really compare to those made by Vizio? We are going to take a closer look to find out.
Background and reputation
Believe it or not, one of the world’s biggest electronic companies actually started life as a small family owned fish retailer. Based in South Korea, Samsung remains a family owned company or Chaebol (as they are known in South Korea), and owes its success to the fact that over the years it aggressively expanded into so many different industries.
The company began to make electronic appliances back in 1969, when Samsung Ltd. formed its new Samsung Electronics division. Today the electronics division is responsible for 70% of Samsung’s total profits, something that has seen it turn into Samsung’s flagship company. In 2009 alone, it was able to sell more than 31 million flat-screen TVs, making it the world’s largest TV manufacturer by market share.
Samsung is well-known for the outstanding quality of all its electronic products. Their TV’s are famous for their high-quality images and innovation, as in the case of their curved TV sets.
Vizio is a relatively new player to the TV market, being founded in California back in 2002. Within in 5 years of its creation, Vizio was already recording profits of more than $2 billion annually, something that resulted from the company’s aggressive marketing strategy which revolved around pricing their TV’s lower than all of their main competitors.
This pricing strategy was born after the company’s founder created a 42-inch plasma TV that was then sold for $2999. The ultra-low price generated an enormous surge in interest in the TV as similar sized plasma TVs were selling for upwards of $6000 at the time.
Another reason for the surge in Vizio’s success is the company’s focus on current and future user trends. Most of their sets no longer feature a channel tuners system as this is becoming an increasingly obsolete system. Instead they focus on current or emerging trends such as allowing TVs to facilitate smartphone or tablet control and streaming etc.
For the most part, both Samsung and Vizio manufacture TVs within the same screen size range. Samsung does make several larger screen model TVs such as the 110″ UHD 4K Flat Smart TV S9 Series 9 model. So if it is the sheer size that you are after, then Samsung is best.
When it comes to screen resolution, both companies are relatively evenly matched. Both manufacturers use LED-LCD technology for their displays despite better quality OLED technology being available for commercial use. Both have incorporated Ultra HD or 4k screen resolution into all their latest TVs. To give you a bit of a better understanding of what 4k means, an ordinary HDTV is 1920 x 1080 pixels while a 4k screen is 3840 x 2160 pixels. 4k screens have a much better resolution that makes the image far more detailed and crisp. The Samsung L and K TV series and the Vizio E series are all examples of TVs that incorporate such technology.
Something worth noting is that Samsung is one of the leading players in R&D for screen technology. Samsung does source some of its screens from companies such as LG, though this is only for certain models. Vizio sources all its screens from Amtran Technology, a Taiwanese company that has extensive experience in TV panel technology.
Most reviewers tend to rate the audio quality from Samsung TVs as being better than those made by Vizio. Honestly speaking, any real difference is minute and is not very significant since most people buying a decent TV these days will more than likely invest in a good quality surround sound system anyway.
Since TV speakers are located quite close together and can only be of a certain size, they will never be as good as a separate sound system. Therefore, it is definitely a good idea to get a surround system, especially if you love watching your movies loudly, to make sure you get the best quality audio experience to go with your TV.
Smart TV Functionality
Smart TVs are able to do an amazing range of things. They can connect to the internet to act as a web browser or to allow for streaming from popular sites such as Netflix or Hulu etc. Some smart TVs even allow you to add apps and other features from play stores, while others even allow smartphone integration and handy features such as voice commands.
Vizio has concentrated heavily on integrating the latest smart technologies into their TVs. Their Internet Apps Plus Smart TV software has been commended of late for the huge improvements made in its usability. It allows for a huge range of Smart functions and makes adding additional apps and features as easy as ABC. It is available on all the latest Vizio series TVs including the M series and models such as the VIZIO SmartCast™ M-Series™ 75″ Class Ultra HD HDR XLED Plus™ Display.
Samsung’s Tizen Smart TV software is very similar to that of Vizio, though it is better at interfacing with smartphones and tablets. For those people who intend to use an android phone, particularly a Samsung smartphone, then Tizen is definitely the best option. All K model Samsung TV’s including the KS7000 incorporate the Tizen TV software.
The advent of the digital age created Smart TV boxes, DVD players, surround sound systems etc., dramatically increased our thirst for extra ports. The most common type of port needed these days is the HDMI port.
For the most part, Vizio usually adds 2 HDMI ports to its TVs while Samsung goes 1 better with 3 HDMI ports. Once example of a TV that comes with 3 HDMI ports is the Samsung UE43MU610. This won’t make much of a difference to the average Joe, but if you are someone who has one or more games consoles as well as a DVD player, then you might have to opt for a Samsung TV to handle all your equipment.
A few years back Samsung claimed to be the first company to release a TV with a curved screen. Though this claim is disputed by rivals LG who also claimed to be the first, Samsung gained a worldwide reputation for innovation.
Rather than trying to play catch up by releasing their own curved TV, Vizio instead began to run a series of TV advertisements that mocked and denigrated this new technology. These adverts featured special Anti-Curve Glasses that allowed viewers to turn their new curved TV back into a flat screen one in an obvious attempt to paint curved TVs as being ridiculous.
As the introduction highlighted, Vizio’s business strategy is to offer TVs with all the quality and performance of its rival’s, but at a lower cost. Since this is true across the board, it is extremely rare to find a Samsung TV of similar specification cheaper than one made by Vizio. To illustrate, the Samsung UE65MU6220 currently costs around $1,200 while the VIZIO M-Series 60″ Smart TV only costs around $1000.
Warranty and Support
Both companies offer really good warranties that only differ very slightly.
Samsung’s warranty lasts for 12 months and comes at no extra fee. During this period, they will repair any TV completely free. The only drawback is that in most cases you will be required to take the TV to your local Samsung repair center, something which could mean a long trip for people who live in the middle of nowhere.
Vizio also offers a free 12-month warranty, though they offer to send a repair team out to the homes of all owners with a TV with a larger than 30” screen size. This also includes a Zero Bright Pixel Defect Guarantee that covers the TV for a screen replacement in the case that it suffers from this defect.
Well, there you have it. The truth is that it is really hard to choose between Vizio and Samsung when it comes to high-quality TV sets. Each manufacturer does have its own niche within this market, though the differences are only slight, unless you are a fan of technologies such as the curved screen, in which case Samsung comes out on top.
As we have seen, despite stories to the contrary, Samsung also source components such as screens from third-party manufacturers like LG, something which brings them into line with most other TV companies. This fact lays waste the claim of Samsung’s quality advantage being derived from its sole use of in-house components.
That said, the most commonly agreed upon opinion among experts is that Samsung has the edge on Vizio when it comes to overall screen and audio quality. For most people, however, this difference is really not going to be noticeable enough to affect their purchasing decision all that much. Since very few people will ever get to compare the models side by side, most never notice the difference.
Brand reputation might actually be a bigger deciding factor than screen resolution. Despite its meteoric rise, Vizio is still a relatively unknown brand while Samsung is an industry giant that has a well-established reputation for quality that could be enough to tip the balance. No consumer with any common sense is going to opt for a cheaper TV when they are not sure of the brand quality they are getting. This is where Samsung really has the edge.
That said, few other factors have as much of an impact on which product a consumer buys as price does. When it comes to price, Vizio is the hands-down winner. It offers similar spec televisions at prices that Samsung has never even tried to beat.
As people become increasingly aware of the Vizio brand and its reputation for quality, more and more might begin to turn away from Samsung and buy a Vizio TV. For those people who do make such a decision and opt for a Vizio TV over a Samsung one, they will in most cases, end up saving enough money to buy a second TV with the money they save, something that makes their brand the real winner.