Dell evaluating Internet TV devices and Google TV software

The company is looking at devices from set-top box makers and other ODMs

Dell on Thursday said it is considering the development of devices beyond PCs that would stream Internet content to regular television sets.

The company is evaluating new devices from set-top box makers and original design manufacturers (ODMs) that could seamlessly bring Internet content to TVs, said Chris Camilletti, desktop product manager at Dell. The company is also considering the Google TV platform, which merges broadcast TV and Internet into one interface.

The company has not yet officially announced any product, and is still investigating the market opportunity, Camilletti said.

In targeting TV, Dell is following companies like Apple, which makes the Apple TV, and Roku, which offers a digital video player that streams content from the Internet to TVs. A number of TV companies such as Samsung and Sony also have their eyes set on using the Internet to stream movies and TV shows.

But for now, Dell is using its PCs to bridge the gap between the TV and Internet. Dell on Thursday announced the Inspiron Zino HD desktop, pitching it as an entertainment hub that can bring Internet movies to high-definition TVs.

The device has VGA and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports, which allows a TV to become a monitor. Users can stream movies from the Internet to their high-definition TVs. The device is capable of storing up to 1TB of data, and an optional Blu-ray drive plays HD movies. Depending on the price, the Zino HD is powered either by Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon II or quad-core Phenom II processors.

The Zino HD is an entry point to make consumers aware of the capability to play streaming movies on TVs, Camilletti said. The device comes with a wireless keyboard and remote control to conveniently switch between the PC and TV.

The device is also designed for everyday computing, and an optional discrete graphics card is available for HD gaming. The Zino HD is priced starting at US$299 and will be available worldwide later this week.

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