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Delays dog Gateway's plasma TV

The PC maker says it is seeing "minor delays" in shipping its new plasma-screen television--prompting grumbles from some buyers of the relatively low-priced device.

    The price may be right for Gateway's $3,000 plasma television, but the company is having trouble filling orders, prompting some grumbles from early customers.

    The company said that it is seeing "minor delays" in shipping the 42-inch screen Plasma TV that was introduced earlier this month as part of a broader push into digital electronics. Analysts noted at the time that the $3,000 price was seen as groundbreaking for the plasma screens, which often fetch thousands more.

    Shipping delays caused by the recent port strike have been compounded by higher-than-expected demand, Gateway said on Tuesday.

    "This holiday demand, and the impact of the West Coast port strike, have caused us to see minor delays in the Plasma TV shipment schedule," the Poway, Calif.-based company said in a statement to CNET News.com. "However, this will not have a long-term impact on our customers or Gateway, and we expect to be back on track later in the quarter."

    Omar Leyva, of Van Nuys, Calif., said that an order for a Gateway Plasma TV placed on Nov. 2 still hasn't been shipped, and that the latest shipping estimate from the company suggested that the machine might not arrive until Nov. 24. Leyva said the delay is prompting he and his girlfriend to look at other, possibly more expensive, alternatives.

    "Big hype, and that's all," Leyva said in an e-mail. "Now we are Frustrated every time we see their commercials."

    A Gateway representative said that new orders for the Plasma TV are being quoted with an expected ship date of Dec. 3. However, the representative said the company is aiming to soon cut in half the current wait time of three weeks for delivery.