LG and Vizio: Flat-tastic together?

LG Display, an LCD-panel making offshoot of LG Electronics, is sniffing around for partners to help it sell more LCD TVs. One possible bedfellow is Amtran, the Taiwanese parent of U.S. everyman flat-screen brand Vizio.

Pundits and investors don't see this particular alliance as a good thing.

Why? First off, if LG Display moves into the U.S. with a partner like Amtran, it will compete with and cannibalize sales of LG Electronics LCDs (that's the flavor of LG we're familiar with here in the U.S.). Even worse, LG Display will effectively drag its own name down by standing up with Amtran and Vizio - that brand just screams low-end and low prices.

But Vizio also screams "buy me!" to American consumers. The new brand took off at big box stores like Costco in 2007, and the company says it plans to sell 80% more Vizio TVs around the world in 2008.

Yet, LG Display has made no official overtures to Amtran/Vizio yet, and the company is still on track for record earnings. Even so, the rumor has LCD-biz suits concerned that, at this rate, LG Display will never catch up to main rival Samsung. -Rachel Rosmarin