GE and Taiwan's Tatung come together for HDTVs

Washington: American conglomerate General Electric has announced that it has partnered with Taiwan's Tatung Co. for the production of innovative high-definition television sets (HDTVs).

The joint venture is called General Displays & Technologies (GDT), and will design, market and service GE-branded HDTVs. The first such sets would come to market in early 2009, according to a GE statement.

GDT chief executive Marc McConnaughey says that the new HDTVs would be a step forward in achieving the goal of merging the Internet and television experience without a personal computer. He said the company is developing advanced internet capabilities for content delivery to televisions, without using a PC.

McConnaughey said that this would include Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) via cable, satellite and advanced fibre-optic television connectivity. He said his company's long-term strategy would be to allow customers to customise their viewing experience by downloading widgets along with a plethora of services, directly to their HDTVs.

GDT will also enter into a partnership with GE-owned media and entertainment company NBC Universal. This partnership will develop an open platform that will be capable of delivering Internet and other digital content directly via television.

Darren Feher of NBC Universal (NBCU) termed the opportunity as exciting. He said NBCU will aid in the design of a cutting-edge product that responds to consumer desire for a seamless union of high-quality digital content and Internet engagement.

Tatung has manufacturing facilities in China, South East Asia, Europe and North America. The Taiwanese company will hold 51 per cent of the joint venture company, with GE holding the remaining 49 per cent stake.

Reports suggest that the joint venture plans to corner a five to 10 per cent share of the $200 billion market.