By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Moving closer to its spring market introduction, General Displays and Technologies (GDT) gave guests at its off-site International CES showroom a peek at the first fruits from the pending rebirth of the GE-branded television business, including samples of the company’s three LCD TV model series.
A joint venture company between Tatung and General Electric, GDT announced last fall plans to bring the GE brand back to the U.S. TV market with lines of highly styled and innovative LCD TVs. In subsequent years, the company plans to transition in TVs with built-in IPTV functionality that might be able to leverage some of the content and services offered by General Electric’s various media holdings, among others.
Unlike other Asian LCD TV manufacturers adopting established Western brands, GDT will look to offer more premium-oriented televisions without going after the opening-price-point business, said Peter Weedfald, GDT North American operations president.
“We believe in making the experience of high-definition TV very easy for consumers. You will see what we call Easy IO — easy cable management, easy wireless audio, matching speaker-bar systems, wireless headsets, easy programming, USB, pause live TV and easy setup. More importantly, I think we are going to deliver award-winning picture quality.”
Weedfald said the products are jointly developed using a team involving GDT, an outside design firm, and Tatung. So far, sales have been going well, with several unnamed retailers already signed on to carry products beginning this spring.
“We will deliver a rational channel strategy. We have several retailers who are very interested, and we will work very hard to put the full might and muscle of advertising, market and salesmanship behind the products to help our retailers drive the business,” Weedfald said.
The company has positioned the initial three TV lines in a good, better, best assortment, with the better and best series slated to ship this April, followed later in the summer by the opening GX160 models series. Pricing on the models will be announced closer to the actual shipping dates, the company said.
To start, the initial three model-series lineup will forgo any IPTV extras, but will offer a majority of models with FullHD 1080p resolution. All were said to be designed with an emphasis on picture quality and ease of use. All models include an easy setup feature that presents a onscreen information guide to walk users through setup when power is first connected.
The opening GX160 series will include the 19-, 26-, 32- and 37-inch screen sizes with 720p resolution. The 19-inch model will include LED backlighting.
The LX60 series, which is positioned as the mid-step in the GE mix, will include the 22-, 32-, 42- and 46-inch screen size. All feature FullHD 1080p resolution, and the 22-inch LX60-22BLED includes LED backlighting.
All models will include SD card slots and USB ports for music and photo file playback. The three larger models will add a pause-live-TV feature, which uses memory on an included USB/SD card dongle to enable users to pause a live TV program and resume viewing it several minutes later without missing any action.
Other features across the line include a wireless audio module, touch-pad LED indicators, and ambient light sensors to reduce power consumption in various room lighting conditions. The three larger models offer four HDMI-CEC inputs, while the 22-inch offers two HDMI-CEC inputs.
At the top of the line is the TG120 series offering 42- and 46-inch screen size models with Full 1080p resolution and 120Hz frame rate technology for clear motion images. Both feature 5.5ms response times, SD card and USB dongle connections for photo and music files, wireless audio TX modules, light sensors and touch-pad LED indicators.
The 42-inch TG120-42B includes 10-bit color and a 4,000:1 contrast ratio, while the 46-inch is listed at 8-bit color and 5,000:1.
In addition to TVs, GDT plans to market wireless headsets and speaker bars and a lineup of computer monitors.
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