Analyst: Dell to launch line of LCD TVs later this year

Dell is expected to break into the consumer electronics market this year with the release of a line of LCD (liquid crystal display) television sets, according to an analyst in Taipei.

"Dell will have some alliance with Korean and Taiwanese panel vendors and they would like to make LCD TVs," said David Hsieh, director of Taiwan market research at DisplaySearch, adding that Dell is expected to begin selling LCD TVs before the end of this year.

The move into the market for LCD TVs marks a departure from Dell's traditional computing hardware business and reflects the company's growing interest in the consumer electronics business and the blurring line between consumer electronics and computers, Hsieh said.

"It's very clear that Dell wants to get more recognition in the (consumer) electronics area," he said.

A Dell spokesman declined to comment on the specific product, but he pointed out that during Dell's second-quarter earnings conference call, Dell President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Rollins mentioned TVs as one of several products Dell is thinking about introducing.

The company resells LCD TVs through its Web site from Viewsonic and Planar Systems, among others.

Dell would not be the first U.S. computer vendor to get into the market for TVs and other consumer electronics devices. Rival PC maker Gateway grabbed headlines in May of this year by announcing plans to offer a range of electronics products alongside its line of PCs, including PDP (plasma display panel) televisions, game consoles and home theater systems.

While LCD TVs have attracted attention for their sleek profiles and shipments have risen quickly, demand remains relatively low. That is expected to change next year when expanded LCD production capacity comes online, helping to drive down panel prices and stoking demand, Hsieh said.

"The explosion time frame will be the end of next year," he said. "Right now is just the beginning."

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Sumner Lemon

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