SEOUL May 7 LG Electronics Inc, the
world's No.2 TV maker, plans to launch Internet-enabled TV based
on Google's platform in the United States in the week
of May 21, as the South Korean firm seeks to gain a larger share
of the emerging Internet TV market, a senior LG executive said
The second version of Internet TV by Google, which hopes to
replicate the success of its Android mobile software in the TV
market, comes after its previous model, unveiled in 2010, failed
to catch on with consumers.
Google's attempt to capture the living room audience has
seen limited success so far due to a lack of web content and
support from hardware manufacturers.
"Production of Google TV will start from May 17 from our
factory in Mexico and U.S. consumers will be able to buy the
product from the week of May 21," Ro Seogho, executive vice
president of LG's TV business unit, told reporters.
Ro said LG will decide whether to expand the offering to
Europe and Asia after reviewing sales performance in the U.S.
TV manufacturers from LG to its bigger rival Samsung
Electronics Co have their own Internet-enabling TV
platforms and are aggressively pushing their own technologies,
along with Google TV, to gain the initiative in the emerging TV
market and prop up margins with high-end products amid growing
competition from low-cost producers.
LG plans to fit around 60 percent of its TVs with its own
NetCast platform installed, to allow viewers access to the
Internet, social networking and online games as well as LG's own
LG saw its TV division profit margin rising sharply to above
4 percent in the first quarter, helped by strong sales of
high-end models such as 3D TVs and Internet-enabled sets.
Google TV allows consumers to access Google services such as
search and YouTube videos on their television screens.
Google has long held ambitions in the television arena,
hoping to extend its online advertising business to the big
screens that still command the lion's share of global
advertising budgets, and to make the best use of its ownership
of YouTube, the world's most popular online video site.
But Logitech International, one of Google's
initial partners that developed a set-top box offering the
service, said late last year it had lost tens of millions of
dollars building set-top boxes for Google devices due to weak
Research firm IHS iSuppli estimates the global
Internet-enabled TV market will grow nearly 60 percent this year
to 95 million sets. That far outpaces the TV market overall,
which is expected to expand by just 2 percent this year.