The new shape of television

Tech Culture

Couch potatoes of the future may just be watching their own potato-shaped television. That's because a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer by the name of Hannspree is designing flat-panel TVs with more personality.

The company is replacing those everyday flat black television cases with bright colors, unique shapes and even materials that are closely related to the viewer's style. For example, the company's soccer-themed model called "Dribbling" is made of black and white leather just like a real soccer ball. Hannspree has licensing deals with Disney, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

Hannspree TVs

Other television designs include an artistic rosewood box, a fuzzy sheep, a pumpkin carriage, a neon teddy bear, and a hand-stitched baseball hide. The screens are relatively compact--just large enough for a child's bedroom or desktop.

Hannspree said it will open a branded retail gallery in Beverly Hills, California, in July and a flagship showroom in San Francisco in September. Television sets are expected to retail between $449 and $1,399.

The company said it is also forging links with some major U.S. retailers and distributors, which it hopes will sell its products in store and online starting in October 2005.

Hannspree said it is already ramping up for good demand with two assembly plants, in Kao-Hsiong and Wu-Gu, Taiwan, and nearly 900 employees around the world.

The company was established in July 2002 and took on the name of Hannspree as a reference to 20 percent ownership of flat panel display manufacturer HannStar and a Chinese word that equates to something like "infinity" alongside the word "spree," which the company said brings up images of carefree indulgence.

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