After vacating the consumer electronics space (or letting companies like Thomson use the brand name for their own devices), GE is planning a return to the living room with a new company that will creates HDTVs with the help of display manufacturer Tatung. Blandly called General Displays & Technologies, the firm says it will be introducing sets under the GE name in spring 2009.
Why does GE want back in the television game? It appears that the company wants to leverage its NBC subsidiary, particularly its NBC Universal joint venture with Vivendi. General Displays will work with NBC Universal to create an open platform for delivering online content to the TV. It's also working on Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) functionality, which could be the technology that truly brings interactivity to the living room.
Presumably the interactive technology is what will put the "premium" in the "premium product offerings" General Displays will launch, since no mention is made of any TV specs (or display innovations) in the company's press release. We'll most likely see the sets rolled out for the public at CES in January. I'm not sure if the GE name really has any resonance with younger TV buyers, though maybe older folks will place some value on a set sporting the famous brand. The interactive platform will also need to be far superior to the ones that other HDTV manufacturers have trotted out to date if GE hopes to really stand out in an already overcrowded market.