Flat-Screen TVs in Catalog near You NEW PRODUCTS
Eric C. Evarts, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates plans to have a flat-panel monitor hanging on the wall in every room of his new lakeside Seattle home.
Now they're available to anyone - anyone who can afford them, that is. Hammacher Schlemmer, the Chicago-based catalog retailer of space-age home goods - and the first to sell such revolutionary products as the cordless telephone and the microwave oven - is offering the first flat-panel TV that can hang on a wall, just like a painting.
The cost? A mere $25,000 for a 42-inch wide-screen model. At that price, Hammacher Schlemmer expects to sell 40 units. A 21-inch model costs $15,000. Each is only 4 inches deep. The TV's use liquid-crystal display technology developed by Fujitsu, which builds the screens. Final assembly is done by QFTV of New York. They can receive signals from videocassette recorders and computers - "just about any video device made," says Hammacher Schlemmer spokesman Ralph Roberts. The wide-screen model is proportioned to handle video in movie-screen format. At 65 lbs. for the big screen, however, it will still need pretty hefty anchor bolts to stay up on the wall. Other large flat-panel monitors, meant for computers, are scheduled to go on sale this spring, but for the next six months Hammacher Schlemmer's will be the only one that can receive TV signals, Mr. …