LG to launch Google TV sets in U.S. later this month

Production of the new TVs is set to begin at LG's Mexico plant on May 17, and the first products will be available for purchase as early as May 21.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Television giant LG Electronics plans to launch Internet-enabled TVs in the U.S. later this month based around the Google TV platform, according to a senior company executive.

The move comes as the South Korean firm, the second largest manufacturer of televisions in the world, looks to gain a foothold in the emerging Internet TV market.

Speaking to Reuters, Ro Seogho, executive vice president of LG's television business, said that production of the new devices will begin at its Mexico plant next week, and the first products will be available for purchase as early as the week beginning May 21.

According to Ro, the decision on whether to expand availability of these devices to European and Asian markets will depend on how well they are received in the United States.

No information was released relating to screen sizes or pricing.

Google TV is a smart TV platform co-developed by Google, Intel, Sony, and Logitech. It is based on Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" and features a modified version of the Google Chrome browser which integrates web services with existing TV and online content. Google TV is tightly integrated with other Google services, such as YouTube and Google search, and offers access to the Google Play app marketplace.

It is likely that this move by LG is in response to continued speculation by analysts and pundits that Apple is planning to launch a TV either later this year or next year. Apple's offering could combine television viewing, a gaming center, media hub, computer, and even home automation functionality into a single unit.

Success with Google TV devices is far from guaranteed. Co-developer Logitech announced in November that it would no longer make Google TV devices after losing over $100 million with its own Revue Google TV set-top box.

The TV market is also experiencing a contraction, with Sony's television business losing money over the past eight years. The company has lost around $10 billion over the past ten years as it builds roughly 20 million sets a year.

Other manufacturers of Google TV sets include Samsung, Sony and Vizio.

Image source: Google.


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