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It was hard to avoid Vizio at the Super Bowl yesterday. The Irvine HDTV company was obviously a major sponsor of the football game with its sponsorship of the pre-game show, the field camera and several commercials.

But the big Super Bowl spot starring musician Beyonce failed to resonate with many critics, though it definitely wasn’t the worst of the bunch.

Vizio hired Wally Pfister, the cinematographer for “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins” to create a commercial for its new VIA TVs, short for Vizio Internet Apps TVs.

The spot shows a mechanical arm handpicking familiar Internet “content” — from the Twitter bird to the Flickr logo to the Internet celebrities like the overweight guy lip synching “Numa Numa,” Youtube Tay Zonday singing “Chocolate Rain” the Dramatic Beaver and others.

It’s a commercial you’ll need to watch a few times to catch all the pop-Internet references. And it may take awhile for it to make sense — ahh Internet on a TV. Clunky, yes. Vizio could have brought it all home with a family sitting in their living room viewing the content on their big-screen TV.

Internet critics were harsh. One site called it “somewhat disturbing.” The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Kafka titled his review, “How to Cram Most of the Web Into One Super Bowl Ad–And Not Sell TVs” plus four words: “Swing and a miss.”

Entertainment weekly also criticized Vizio for failing to get its point across — Internet on demand on a TV – and used words like “old memes” and obscure” to describe the ad.

But not everyone agreed. USA Today’s Ad meter ranked the Vizio ad at No. 39 out of the 63 commercials. One contributor for the Examiner.com ranked it her favorite ad for the whole game, calling it “cool because the TV just looked so high tech and the tv of the future.”

And maybe people really did get it. As Television Without Pity points out: “Outdated Chocolate Rain reference aside, this Vizio internet apps commercial was a mural of all the greatest things the internet has to offer, all crammed onto a TV. I can have zombies, David After the Dentist and Beyonce on the same thing I use to watch The Bachelor? Sold. Great pitch.”

Noted: The Vizio VIA TV isn’t a TV that lets you surf the Web. It only offers Internet apps so you can view specific online content. The TV itself was supposed to go on sale last summer but was delayed. The company allowed a certain group of consumers buy the TV at a discount in late 2009. The TVs are now available online.

Watch all of the Super Bowl 2010 commercials at Hulu.com.

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