SEOUL (Dow Jones)--LG Electronics Co. (066570.SE) unveiled an expanded line of flat-screen televisions with built-in hard drives for video recording, music and photo storage, staking out a spot at the leading edge of an up-and-coming technology.
LG, the world's second-largest seller of TVs by units after its crosstown rival Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE), will sell the new line at home in South Korea first, then roll it out to the rest of the world later this year, executives said.
The hard drives can store 250 gigabytes of information, roughly equal to 92 hours of regular TV programs and 21 hours of high-definition programs.
The announcement comes as electronics manufacturers, media companies and others offer consumers more flexibility in their television viewing and as the trend toward consolidation of functions in electronic devices continues.
The hard-drive feature is likely to become standard in TVs in the next few years, said Kwon Ilgun, a research fellow at LG's display lab.
The hard drive-equipped TVs cost about $300 to $500 more than flat-screen TVs of comparable sizes without drives.
LG said it will put hard drives into liquid crystal display TVs that are 37, 42 and 47 inches in screen size and plasma TVs with 42- and 50-inch screens. Without the drives, the sets range in price from roughly $2,000 to $5,000.
The TVs are also equipped with slots for nine types of digital memory cards, which can be used to display pictures from digital cameras, for instance. LG last year offered three flat-screen TVs in Korea that were equipped with 160-gigabyte hard drives.
In Korea, the company will heavily advertise the new TVs in the months leading up to the World Cup tournament this summer. A new commercial for one of the plasma models depicts a British soccer player using the hard drive to study goals scored by Korea's national team.
LG is the second-largest seller of plasma TVs worldwide, after Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (6752.TO), maker of Panasonic products, according to DisplaySearch, a U.S.-based market research firm.
LG trails several companies in LCD-TVs and vies with Samsung and Sony Corp. (6758.T) as the leading seller of tube-based TVs worldwide.