Imagine owning a television set that looks and feels like a baseball, a cello or even the horse-drawn coach that whisked Cinderella to the ball.
Hannspree Inc., a Taiwan-based TV maker, is preparing to offer such designs as it launches US operations this summer.
As electronics companies flood the market with new plasma and LCD TV sets, Hannspree wants to stand out by offering appliances that appeal on the basis of style or just plain wackiness.
"We want to tie our sets into a person's individuality and personality traits," said Rick Calacci, senior vice president of marketing for Hannspree.
Among the more than 100 designs are sets that look like a golf ball. Even the TV's stand looks like a tee.
The baseball set is made of leather and features the same number of stitches found in a baseball. The cello set is made of rosewood. Other models look like apples, cows and sheep. For soccer enthusiasts, the back of one set looks like a giant black-and-white soccer ball.
Hannspree hired four design firms to help construct its flat-screen LCD sets, which will retail for $449 to $1,399. Hannspree is opening stores in Beverly Hills and San Francisco and has deal with several major retailers, which Calacci won't name.
Who will want a television that looks like a giant sheep in their living room?
"This is strictly pride of ownership," Calacci said. "It's for the people who want to be the first on the block with this product."