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Dell unveils LCD TVs, new printer

The company announces 23-inch and 30-inch LCD televisions and a multifunction printer at Comdex Monday. ViewSonic, meanwhile, takes the wraps off a line of LCD monitors and a new tablet PC.

LAS VEGAS--Dell announced two larger LCD televisions and a new multifunction printer at the Comdex trade show Monday.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company has been selling a 17-inch liquid-crystal display (LCD) television, but will begin selling a 30-inch model for $3,299, spokeswoman Mary Fad said at a media event here Sunday. In addition, the company will begin selling a 23-inch model by the end of the year, Fad said, declining to reveal its price.

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The printer is based on the same components as the company's best-selling model, the A940 inkjet, but the new A960 will add more sophisticated fax abilities. Both models can print, scan, copy and fax; but the newer model has a 50-page feeder and built-in fax hardware that enables it to be used alone, said Gregory Davis, Dell's vice president of imaging and printing.

The A960 will have an introductory price of $179, including a $20 rebate at the time of purchase, but will cost $199 after the holidays, Dell said.

The televisions and printers illustrate the dramatic expansion of Dell's business ambitions. Dell got its start selling PCs but in recent years has moved into servers, networking gear, printers, and home electronics.

In Dell's most recent quarter, the company reported it had sold more than 1 million printers since it began the initiative in March, Davis said. Dell's printing and imaging group is profitable, he added, though he declined to release how much revenue it has brought in.

LCD televisions are starting to become more common as an alternative to traditional but bulky cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions and power-hungry plasma televisions. Asian manufacturers such as AU Optronics and Samsung are building new production facilities to build larger displays, with Taiwanese manufacturers showing 40-inch models at the Computex trade show in Taiwan this September.

Dell's displays use electronic processing technology to reduce flicker and smooth out diagonal lines, display engineer Jeffrey Thelen said.

Dell rival Gateway has been active in the LCD television market as well.

Another display maker, ViewSonic, started showing a new midrange line of LCD models here Sunday. The DigitalMedia VG series are designed for computers, though they also can display high-definition television (HDTV) signals and include speakers. The new models, which were announced Monday, are trimmer than their predecessors, spokesman Young Bae said.

ViewSonic plans four displays, a $389 15-inch model, a $529 17-inch model, a $619 18.1-inch model and a $749 19.1-inch model. The three larger models are due in December, and the smallest is expected in January.

In addition, ViewSonic announced Monday its third-generation tablet PC, a model with a 12.1-inch swiveling screen that allows it to be used either as a normal laptop or as a slate with the touch screen on the outside, spokesman Trevor Bratton said.

The V1250 uses Intel's Centrino suite of chips, including a 1.0GHz Pentium M processor and an 802.11b wireless module. It will cost $1,795 or $2,299 with a docking station, extra batter and DVD drive, Bratton said.