High-definition TV displays investment opportunities

Q: What companies can I invest in to get a piece of the high-definition TV boom?

A: Seems like every year TVs get bigger, and it's only natural for investors to look for ways to cash in on the trend. Here is a list of some of the publicly traded companies that have their fingers in the high-definition TV business:

•TV component makers. Sometimes the best way to cash in on a trend is by investing in behind-the-scenes companies. There are scores of companies that make the parts that go into high-definition TVs. The leading players include Texas Instruments txn and Broadcom brcm, who make circuitry needed for the high-definition TVs to draw images on the screen. Next, are companies such as Corningglw, AU Optronics auo, LG Philips lpl and Universal Display panl, which are involved in making the flat panel screens themselves.

•TV manufacturers. Theese are the brand names you're probably familiar with as a consumer. Companies such as Sony sne and Philips phg are just two well-known examples.

•TV retailers. Companies such as Best Buy bby, Circuit City cc and Amazon.com amzn all profit from selling high-definition TVs.

•Programming companies. This is a broad area, because just about all TV programming companies are developing content to take advantage of high definition. But certainly, Disney's dis ESPN is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the trend, since sports have been a killer application for high-definition.

•Transmission companies. Any company that moves high-definition signals to homes will benefit if more consumers are willing to pay more for the service. Cable companies such as Comcast cmcsa and Time Warner Cable twc are two examples.

That's just a partial list, to get you thinking. Keep in mind, though, that just as the dawn of stereo TV was a short-lived boom for TV makers, the same will probably be true with high-definition.

Matt Krantz is a financial markets reporter at USA TODAY and author of Investing Online for Dummies. He answers a different reader question every weekday in his Ask Matt column at money.usatoday.com. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at mkrantz@usatoday.com. Click here to see previous Ask Matt columns.