By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Mahwah, N.J. — Sharp Electronics recently notified specialty A/V dealers handling the jointly administered Sharp/Pioneer Elite TV line that it will not be offering any new models under the premium brand this year.
Jim Sanduski, Sharp strategic product marketing VP, told TWICE that the company has been unable to acquire a key component part needed for the advanced TVs, which has forced it to put plans on hold for any new products for the foreseeable future.
He added the company has sold through inventory on models from the prior year.
“Due to the unavailability of a component, current 60- and 70-inch Elite LED TVs (model numbers PRO60X5FD and PRO70X5FD, respectively) have been discontinued and are no longer available,” Sharp confirmed in a statement Monday.
Whether or not the Elite TV brand returns with new models in the future remains to be seen.
Sharp gained access to the Elite brand for advanced LED LCD TVs after taking an equity position in struggling Pioneer, which has long used the Elite trade mark for its high-end home electronics products.
Sharp holds 30 million shares in Pioneer (a 9.2 percent stake) and is that firm’s largest shareholder.
The Japan Times reported in April that Sharp was looking to dispose of its Pioneer stake to help finance debt payments due this September. The story, citing unnamed “sources,” said the two companies intend to keep collaborating and Pioneer will retain its 0.8 percent position in Sharp.
Sharp-made Elite TVs offered some of the deepest black levels and highest contrast ratios yet seen from LCD technology.
In shootouts, the screens had rivaled even advanced plasma sets, including Pioneer’s discontinued Kuro models that some still rank as the benchmark by which flat-panel TV picture performance is judged.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.