Shares of rear-projection, high-definition television (HDTV) designer and developer Brillian (NASDAQ:BRLC) caught investors' attention last week when the company said in a Thursday evening press release that it received its first purchase orders for a new HDTV product from an unidentified "leading U.S.-based, nationwide retailer." The order is worth at least $6 million beginning in the third quarter.

Brillian, spun off from Three-Five Systems (NYSE:TFS) last year, is developing televisions based on something called liquid-crystal-on-silicon (LCOS) Gen II technology, which it says offers "a unique value proposition: a large-screen television with breakthrough image quality so realistic, it's nearly photographic." The company's plan is to allow other manufacturers to rebrand and sell the devices.

It's fairly remarkable how quickly flat-screen televisions and HDTV have become household words and, seemingly, as common as the brave little toaster -- particularly since large-screen television was for many years associated with ridiculous price tags and large, ugly projection boxes.

In consumer electronics, there will always be a market for companies with leading-edge technology -- but the entry of experienced electronics manufacturers like Dell (NYSE:DELL) and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) into the high-end TV marketplace can only have helped by increasing selection and driving prices down -- turning what was once a niche product into the latest home-entertainment must-have.

So, the market seems ripe for Brillian, for which $6 million in revenue would be more than welcome: In 2003, the company managed about $2.2 million in sales and didn't generate a gross profit. More deals like the one announced last week should help the company keep the investors who fund its operations (Brillian will surely have to raise more money again soon) interested and happy.

It's worked so far: The company's shares have outperformed Standard & Poor's 500 since hitting the market in September, though, the way has been bumpy.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.