Motorola Enters Flat-Screen TV Market
Jan 7, 2004
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Motorola Inc. is unveiling its new flat-screen TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, U.S., to be held Jan. 8-11.

The company is said to be entering market because of the high profits and heady growth of the market, as well as the belief that the TVs will mesh with Motorola's cable set-top box products.

Motorola, which used to make TVs under such brands as Quasar before selling the business almost 30 years ago, is initially selling flat-screen TVs in the Chinese market, where its brand name is strong. From there, it will expand distribution of the TVs, which are built by its Hong Kong-listed partner, Proview International Holdings Ltd.

"It's very realistic to say that we think North America is the next entry point," said John Burke, general manager of Motorola's cable unit's consumer business.

Some analysts believe it could enter the U.S. market this year. At CES, Motorola will display 10 LCD TVs, in screen sizes ranging from 15 to 46 in.

However, the Schaumburg, IL, U.S.-based company, which gets the bulk of its sales from cell phones, has its skeptics.

"Motorola is playing an enormous catch-up game," said Charter Equity Research analyst Edward Snyder, who has a "market perform" rating on the stock. "They're very smart guys, but they have no history in it."

Mr. Burke remains "paranoid about the competition," but believes Motorola's experience in the cable sector, where it's the leading provider of set-top boxes, will allow it to thrive as consumers demand more high-speed Internet connections at home. (Reuters)

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