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Gateway debuts wide-screen TV

The company continues its foray into consumer electronics, unveiling a rear-projection television with a 56-inch screen.

Continuing its foray into consumer electronics, Gateway on Thursday unveiled a rear-projection television with a 56-inch screen on Thursday.

The computer maker said that the television will sell for $3,799 and is one-third the depth of traditional rear-projection televisions. Although consumers have been clamoring for wide screens, some have been turned off by the sheer bulk of rear-projection televisions, according to Gateway. The company's model is less than 19-inches deep. It is slated to begin shipping Nov. 13.

 Poway, Calif.-based Gateway, which has been losing money, has already introduced plasma and LCD (liquid-crystal display) televisions as part of a concerted effort to expand into the consumer electronics market. Dell, Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard also have taken steps in that direction.

Gateway said it is trying to change from a traditional PC company into "a branded integrator of personalized technology solutions." Tim Deal, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said the company is on the right track to tap into a trend toward more networked homes.

But, he said, Gateway faces a challenge in competing against consumer electronics giant Sony. "There's a perception of quality with a Sony product that consumers may not necessarily have with a Gateway product," Deal said.

Sony, Samsung and Panasonic also sell rear-projection TV products.

Gateway said its new television is based on Texas Instrument's "Digital Light Processing" (DLP) technology. DLP involves an array of microscopic mirrors that reflect light more efficiently, projecting a brighter picture, according to Gateway. In addition, the company said that the technology results in a clearer projection and is not susceptible to heat, humidity or vibration.