Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to offer a new line of networked flat panel televisions, something Vice President and General Manager Jim Sanduski called “HDTV 2.0”, designed to make the television the hub for the family’s digital entertainment. The commoditization of the flat panel market has pushed the industry into a “crossroads,” Sanduski said at the Society for Information Display 2007 International Symposium, Seminar and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif., on Monday. Sanduski formerly served as Samsung’s senior vice president of sales until making the move to HP last November.
HDTV 2.0 is described as adding support for place shifting, enabling content derived from Internet-connected PCs or media servers to be displayed on them, achieved through the use of Ethernet and wireless networking connections on HDTV sets. This will make these televisions more expensive, thereby bringing higher margins back to the retailer.
HP’s 2.0 sets, due out later this year, will also include “MediaSmart” software, allowing consumers to browse, select and buy movies from third-party services. HP’s penetration in the flat panel market is anything but deep at this point. The company did not even rank in the world’s top 36 television makers, according to analysts at iSuppli. Sweta Dash, director of LCD and projection research for iSuppli, said that adding the new features will definitely reduce the commoditization of the product, and it may even improve HP’s bottom line as well.