US computer giant Dell is to start selling its own digital music players and TVs as it expands its range into the consumer electronics market.
Dell's new digital music player - the Digital Jukebox
The new products are due to go on sale in the US during the last three months of the year, in time for the important festive season.
Chairman and chief executive Michael Dell said "many" of the products would be available outside the US "in the coming year".
Dell's digital music player - the Digital Jukebox - and the accompanying online music store where customers can download music, will provide competition for Apple's iPod music player and iTunes website.
Despite sluggish sales of personal computers in recent years, Dell has managed to expand its market share by its aggressive pricing.
It has been able to do this by selling directly to the public, and tailoring manufacturing closely to demand.
Fierce price competition within the computer sector has led other manufacturers to look to beyond their core market.
Gateway now sells flat-screen televisions, while Apple has enjoyed strong sales of its iPod music player and sold more than 10 million songs through its iTunes music store since its launch earlier this year.
Dell said the move into wider consumer electronics was a logical extension to its current product range.
"We are revolutionizing technology for our customers - again," Michael Dell said.
Dell's new flat screen TV can also be used as a computer monitor
"We want our customers to enjoy music, movies, home films and personal communications, when, where and how they want.
"We are expanding our product offerings and enhancing Dell.com, and doing it in time for the holiday buying period so important to consumers."
Its new digital music player - the Digital Jukebox (DJ) - will be able to play tracks downloaded from the new Dell Music Store.
Dell's 17-inch flat-screen television, the W1700, can also be used as a computer monitor.
Analysts warned that Dell faced a fierce battle to win market share in the consumer electronics field, despite its success selling computers.
"Dell has a long way to go before gaining market share in the consumer electronics market," said Bill Armstrong, a retail
analyst at CL King & Associates, before Dell's announcement.
But he added Dell's entry into the sector could hit the more established consumer goods makers.
"There are a lot of players and its entry could put pressure on product prices," he said.
Aiming for number one
Michael Dell was upbeat about the prospects for the new products.
"In 1997, we weren't really in the consumer personal computer business," he said.
"We're now number one in the largest market in the world.
"It's conceivable that we could do the same in these other categories, as well."