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Dell Aims to Offer Flat-Panel TVs, Other Electronics

Wed Sep 10, 6:43 PM ET


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dell Inc. (Nasdaq:DELL - news), the No. 1 personal computer maker, plans to begin offering a broader range of consumer electronics products and could start selling flat-panel TVs fairly soon, the company's chief operating officer said on Wednesday.


Dell's move comes as rival computer makers are also targeting the market for televisions and consumer electronics. Gateway Inc.(NYSE:GTW - news), for example, sells flat-screen TVs and low-cost digital cameras.


"My guess is that we'll be in flat-panel TVs at some point. We have not confirmed it but my guess is we'll be in it within a reasonably short period of time," Dell Chief Operating Officer Kevin Rollins told reporters before a speech here.


"It's a matter of time before we evolve into a broader range of consumer electronics products," he said.


PC makers, facing slower demand for personal computers, are turning to personal entertainment devices such as digital cameras, MP3 players, and high-definition TVs. These are seen as key growth areas in the $100 billion consumer electronics market currently dominated by the Panasonic unit of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd.(6752.T), Sony Corp (news - web sites). (6758.T), Thomson SA (THMP.PA) and Philips(PHG.AS).


Dell, meanwhile, has done well with its Axim line of personal digital assistants and Dell-branded printers, which are manufactured by Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE:LXK - news) It recently started selling third-party plasma television screens through its Web site.


Rollins also said he saw a great future for digital entertainment and online music services in particular as the recording industry continues its efforts to root out piracy.


The recording industry this week sued 261 individuals for allegedly pirating songs over the Internet in its most aggressive effort to date to stamp out rampant online copyright infringement.


"I think it's going to be a great industry," said Rollins, noting that Dell was currently linked up with various members of the recording industry.


Rollins said the company anticipated many opportunities with the advent of the "digital home," in which consumer electronics and personal computers could function as one in households.


"We are looking at a lot of opportunities to extend the use of the PC for home" entertainment, but added, "I have nothing to announce today."
 

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Sounds very interesting, a pc maker getting into the flat panel tv business. Could the promise of convergence be right around the corner? Could Apple be far behind??
 

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Dell's strength is distribution. Not R&D. Not disagreeing with you, but I would look to others for the promise of convergence. Switching and attachments are nice / necessary, but the breakthroughs will probably come from software, chips and other domains.
 

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Agreed djs. In fact, this makes one wonder if they won't begin selling only their own brand plasmas. Probably not, considering they do sell *some* other brands of standard PC monitors today. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, as there are times when there's no beating Dell a) if they have the panel you want and b) if you catch one of the frequent deals that fly around.
 

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Even if they begin selling Dell branded plasmas they won't stop selling other brands. Just look at their LCD models. Dell has Dell branded LCDs for computers but still sells many other brands. However, you probably will see consumer plasmas in addition to industrial ones.
 
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