A joint venture between General Electric and Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Tautung will market LCD TVs next year in the U.S. The new company, called General Displays & Technologies, plans to introduce its first GE-branded models next spring, joining the likes of Westinghouse and Polaroid that leverage well-known brands to appeal to buyers in a crowded, confusing HDTV marketplace.
The GE TVs won't mirror the bare-bones features of those other brands, however, and we presume pricing will be accordingly higher. The most-interesting feature from our perspective is Internet connectivity.
"We are developing advanced, Internet capabilities for content delivery to televisions, without the need for a PC. This includes IPTV through cable, satellite, and advanced fiber-optic television connectivity," said Mike McConnaughey, the new firm's CEO. "The long-term strategy is to allow consumers to customize their viewing experience by downloading widgets and a variety of services directly to their HDTVs."
The company will partner with NBC Universal, a subsidiary of GE, to develop an open platform for content delivery.
Internet connectivity isn't the only unusual feature found on the new TVs. Here's a rundown of the LCD lineup:
- Available in "good, better, best" lines arranged into GX, DX and TX series. Each will include seven to eight screen sizes from 19 to 65 inches.
- Slim cabinet design.
- Low power consumption, enabled by a dynamic backlight (reminiscent of Philips Eco TV).
- One model will feature LED backlighting.
- One model will have a built-in Blu-ray player with BD-Live capability.
- Select models will have 2.4 GHz audio capability, presumably to connect wireless speaker accessories.
- Internet connectivity will take the form of optional set-top boxes, available in thee tiers of functionality, that will enable access to IPTV content. The boxes will be available later in 2009.
These features all sound pretty compelling, and it will be interesting to see how they're integrated and, of course, how the GE LCDs actually perform in terms of picture quality. The features mentioned above may also provide a preview of what other TV manufacturers will announce at CES this January.
What do you think of the new GE branded TVs? Does Intent connectivity and NBC U content appeal to you? Sound off in the comments section.