GE Launches Global HDTV Joint Venture

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
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Joint venture will deliver GE-branded HDTVs and complementary products with interactive Internet functionality; Unique partnership with NBC Universal will enable customized viewing of digital content

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — General Electric (GE) [NYSE:GE] today announced the formation of General Displays & Technologies LLC (GDT), a new joint venture with Tatung Company [Taipei:2371], a global leader in display technologies. GDT will design, market and service GE-branded HDTVs to deliver the best home high definition video, audio and Internet experience. The first series of premium product offerings will be available to consumers in Spring 2009.

“We are developing advanced, Internet capabilities for content delivery to televisions, without the need for a PC. This includes Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) through cable, satellite and advanced fiber optic television connectivity,” said Marc McConnaughey, CEO, GDT. “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.”

In addition to offering innovative HDTVs, GDT will partner with NBC Universal (NBCU), a leading media and entertainment company, to develop an open platform capable of delivering Internet and other digital content directly through the television.

“This is an exciting opportunity for NBCU to partner with GE and help design a cutting edge product that responds now to consumer desire for a seamless union of high quality digital content and Internet engagement, with an ease that still appeals to TV viewers,” noted Darren Feher, EVP & CTO, NBC Universal.

Ultimately this product will let consumers view digital HD content from popular websites directly on their television, coupled with clean in-synch integration with the preferences and personalization that makes the web so appealing.

Peter Weedfald, president North America, GDT said, “Sales of LCD TVs have grown 30 percent year over year as flat screen TV prices have fallen, opening up the market to new consumers. GDT is well poised to become a leader in today’s rapidly developing digital marketplace and provide the retail channel with pioneering products to meet this growing demand. In addition, the entire line of GE-branded HDTVs will be highly energy efficient, ensuring a cost effective and environmentally sound product for the home.”

GE is a 49 percent equity stakeholder in GDT, and as part of the agreement, GDT has entered into a new licensing agreement to market GE-branded HDTVs globally. Under the joint venture, GDT will benefit from GE’s world-class brand, business processes, quality assurance and financial strength. Additionally, as one of Taiwan’s most respected companies, Tatung brings global expertise in design, manufacturing and supply chain management, with facilities in Greater China, North America, Europe and South East Asia. “Tatung is thrilled for the opportunity to both invest and work directly with General Displays & Technologies, GE and NBCU to develop and deliver new interactive HDTVs and complementary products,” said Mrs. W.Y. Lin , executive vice president, Tatung Company.