July 23, 2013 in Business

LG, Samsung release curved TVs

From Wire Reports
 
Associated Press photo

Tim Alessi of LG Electronics USA announces Monday the first U.S. availability of LG’s OLED HDTV in Richfield, Minn.
(Full-size photo)

Flat screens have been a selling point for TVs for more than a decade. Now, LG and Samsung are making a selling point of screens that are not flat.

The two Korean electronics companies are launching TVs in the U.S. this week that have concave screens, where the middle bends away from the viewer. That’s the opposite of the convex bulge of the old cathode-ray tube TVs. The idea, the companies say, is to have the viewer see the screen straight on, even at the edges.

The sets have a suggested price of $15,000. LG’s set will be sold in some Best Buy Stores. Samsung’s will be sold by specialty stores.

The curved sets are made possible by a technological breakthrough – the picture is formed by a thin, bendable layer of organic light-emitting diodes. OLED screens are common in high-end smartphones, but larger sizes are difficult to make, accounting for the high price of the new sets.

UBS AG in settlement with U.S.

GENEVA – The U.S. government has reached “an agreement in principle” to settle its lawsuit against Swiss banking giant UBS AG that seeks to recoup more than $900 million in losses from mortgage-backed securities, the bank announced Monday.

In 2011, the U.S. government sued UBS and 17 other financial firms for selling some $196 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities to housing financing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, the securities turned toxic when the housing market collapsed.

Among the major U.S. banks targeted by the lawsuits were Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., but the action extended to other large European banks including The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and Credit Suisse.

Netflix report upsets investors

SAN FRANCISCO – Netflix’s revival of the comedy series “Arrested Development” didn’t reel in as many subscribers to the Internet video service as Wall Street had hoped, turning a solid second-quarter earnings report into a reality check.

Even though Netflix’s profit more than quadrupled, the report released Monday flopped among investors because it didn’t live up to the lofty expectations propelling the company’s high-flying stock. The shares have nearly tripled since the beginning of the year, raising the pressure on Netflix Inc. to deliver spectacular numbers.

That didn’t happen during the three months ending in June, despite the much-anticipated return of “Arrested Development” after a seven-year absence. Netflix’s stock slid $9.96, or nearly 4 percent, to $252 in extended trading after the numbers came out.

Toyota opens training facility

TAJIMI, Japan – Toyota is opening a training facility for mechanics complete with a test course that simulates 13 driving conditions including cobblestones and bumpy roads as part of the automaker’s efforts to avoid a repeat of its recall fiasco.

A ceremony with Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda and government officials was held at the $90 million Tajimi Service Center Monday in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, near Toyota city where the car maker is headquartered.

Toyoda said quality must remain a priority even as the company becomes more global, with buyers driving on a range of road conditions. The center will initially train about 2,600 mechanics year, and eventually 4,800 mechanics a year, the company said.

Taco Bell drops kids’ meals, toys

Taco Bell is discontinuing its kids’ meals and toys at U.S. restaurants beginning this month, the Irvine-based Mexican-style chain said Monday.

The fast-food giant said it’s the first in the industry to undertake the effort, which it said will be in effect nationwide by January.

The company, which along with Pizza Hut and KFC is part of the Yum Brands Inc. family, said kids’ meals and toys had an “insignificant impact on system sales.”

Individual menu items on the kids’ lineup, including the crunchy taco, the soft taco and the bean burrito, will now appear on the regular menu.

American consumers have been losing interest in kids’ meals for years, according to research from the NPD Group.


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