Last week, we welcomed California-based consumer electronics company VIZIO into the LeEco family. An innovator in home theater technology, the company comes with a well-respected brand and a deep commitment to consumers. In other words, it’s the perfect match for LeEco.
In this Q&A, VIZIO’s chief technology officer, Matthew McRae, discusses the company’s philosophy, what has led to its incredible success and our exciting new relationship.
LeEco: Let’s start with introductions — VIZIO is a well-known TV brand, but for anyone getting to know you for the first time, how would you introduce the company?
Matthew McRae: Since 2002, we’ve been committed to creating unparalleled entertainment experiences and redefining what it means to be smart. By holding to that, and through listening to our customers, we’ve taken on — and taken down — some of our biggest competitors to become one of the leading smart TV brands and #1 brand for home audio in the U.S.
We place all of our efforts on delivering the best experience for our customers. As an example, to improve picture quality, we designed our own panels using Full-Array local dimming. We put a grid of LEDs behind the display panel and, by using a custom algorithm, we can control the brightness of each LED to match what’s playing on the screen. We also pioneered a technology called High Dynamic Range, and we were the first company to feature Dolby Vision, the highest quality High Dynamic Range, that lets us create extremely deep blacks, while also producing very bright whites. This matches more closely what a human eye can perceive and what we see in the real world.
Audio is also very important to us. We’re one of the only companies in the world that offers a 5.1 surround system that you can set up in 15 minutes and immediately get a complete sound experience. If you want to immerse somebody in that and have an emotional connection, you need to have both great audio and video performance. It’s that attention to the complete entertainment experience that has set us apart in the industry.
LE: VIZIO has a very customer-centric philosophy. Tell us about it and where it comes from.
We didn’t want to innovate a solution for the top 10% of the market. It mattered that everybody could have access to the best technology, [but] designed in a way that simplifies peoples’ lives and delivers the ultimate entertainment experience. We also realized that whatever we did as a company, we had to make sure we strengthened the emotional connection people have with our products.
We met with movie studios, directors and content creators to understand their views and how to make that connection stronger. We achieved what filmmakers intended by replicating the theater experience in the living room. Our goal was to have consumers fall into that content, forget they’re sitting in a room watching a piece of glass and actually believe that they’re part of the story.
“LE: What was it about LeEco that made it the right fit for VIZIO?
MM: We share the same ethos. LeEco has a very consumer-centric focus. It’s building high-quality hardware with high-quality content and user experiences. Just like VIZIO, it has a passion to disrupt the status quo. Those are things that align us as we look forward to expanding globally.
LeEco is already creating new opportunities and experiences. It’s creating content that emotionally connects with consumers, and it’s doing this across devices, much like VIZIO. We’re extremely excited to be part of a team that’s defining the future of connected entertainment.
LE: Is there anything about VIZIO that many fans might be surprised to know?
MM: We realized early that the Internet would be a primary method of distributing content. So VIZIO was one of the first TV brands to come out with a smart TV platform full of popular apps, and the first major TV brand to embed Wi-Fi across the board, utilize Bluetooth and produce a sliding QWERTY keyboard remote control, so you can find content fast.
LE: You’ve got a line of Home Theater Displays. What’s your favorite content to watch on it?
MM: Content in Dolby Vision on our newest displays, which feature High Dynamic Range. It’s incredible to watch action movies. And when an explosion happens on screen, it’s bright enough to dilate your eyes. It actually feels like you’re in the story.
LE: What was your favorite part of the announcement event?
MM:It was amazing to see both companies already working together on such an exciting event. This is the start of something big.
LE: Is there anything else you want LeEco fans to know about the company or this latest news, in particular?
MM: We just launched VIZIO SmartCast, a new content ecosystem that allows you to move content seamlessly across the devices in your house. You can use a smartphone or tablet, and move content back and forth between your displays and audio products, all from a single interface. The multi-screen user model is critically important going forward, and it will be one of the main things that people are looking for in the future.
LeEco shares the same strategy. It has direct alignment with what we were doing — from creating a disruptive environment to an open forum that brings innovation to the masses — which is why teaming up made so much sense.
Photo of Matthew McRae courtesy of VIZIO