Shares of fabless semiconductor designer Trident Microsystems (Nasdaq: TRID) aren't looking too fab today.

The stock fell like a wounded swan last night, dipping as low as 21.4% below the closing price because of a gloomy guidance update. The midpoint of the revenue target range for the upcoming fourth-quarter report moved down 13%, from $135 million to $117.5 million. That revenue miss translates into much bigger effects on net and operating profits thanks to a mostly fixed cost structure in between.

TV and set-top builders, which are Trident's largest customers, typically order chips to build their wares well ahead of the holiday season, so the original guidance was already pretty weak, according to seasonal patterns. On top of that, TV customers pushed some of their orders to the next quarter and set-top-box clients ordered more lower-end and fewer high-end chips than expected.

Finally, and I'm quoting here, "The company currently expects the factors that negatively affected fourth quarter revenues will be even more pronounced in the seasonally weak first quarter ending March 31, 2011."

It all adds up to a big "Ouch!" for this four-star CAPS company.

The announcement comes in the midst of the CES industry gala, and Trident is doing its best to send cheerful signals through that channel. Not one, but three press releases issued this morning seem designed to drown Trident's revenue sorrows in a flurry of new product announcements.

In the final analysis, this amounts to bad news for the consumer electronics industry. Trident fell short because 3-D TVs and digital video solutions alike have failed to fan the flames of consumer fervor. Particularly after acquiring the media processors division from NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI) last year, the company serves nearly every major TV and set-top-box player from Samsung and Philips (NYSE: PHG) to Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI-WI). This makes Trident a capable predictor of broad trends across that sector -- and the news is not good.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Alpha owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.