San Diego - Despite trends showing U.S. consumers continue to seek
value above frills when making big-screen purchases, Jim Sanduski, Sharp's strategic product marketing
VP, said his company is well positioned to capitalize from changes in today's
"Price aside -- there is an opportunity for the consumer to super
size their primary TV from today," Sanduski told an audience attending the
DisplaySearch Flat Panel Display Conference at the Hard Rock Hotel here Tuesday.
Sanduski acknowledged DisplaySearch pronouncements that the race
to bigger and bigger generation LCD panel fabs may be over for good, but he
said Sharp continues to operate the world's only facility that produces Gen 10
mother glass, which has given the company strength in producing affordably
priced big-screen LCD TVs.
Still, Sanduski said, Sharp is not immune from the challenges in the
market and recently opted to shift its LCD panel strategy. Going forward, the
company is focusing on two ends of the panel business -- screens measuring 10
inches and smaller for the mobile device market and screens measuring 60 inches
and larger for the home-theater market.
Sharp will leave to competitors the monitor-sized 32-, 40- and
50-inch screen sizes, where "Sharp cannot add a lot of value," he said.
Meanwhile, Sharp's LCD panel fab in No. 2 in Kameyama is being "repurposed
from making 60-inch panels to mobile sized glass. The plant will produce
specialized glass called IGZO (indium, gallium and zinc), which is said to
yield super-high-resolution images, high picture quality and low power consumption.
Sanduski said the decision to focus on two ends of the LCD panel
business was dictated by the best possible revenue opportunities, pointing out
that 60-inch and larger TV panels account for nearly a fifth of industry revenue.
Sharp's $5 billion Gen 10 facility in Sakai, Japan, will continue
to focus on very large screen glass sizes, as it produces sheets of mother
glass measuring 9 feet by 10 feet, from a single glass substrate with credit
card thickness. Gen 10 mother glass will yield eight 60-inch panels from a
single sheet, offering the best possible cost efficiency.
Sharp will also continue to produce and develop its Quattron
RGB+Y technology, which is said to produce brighter yellows and greens, while
deepening the blues displayed in skies and oceans.
For the future, Sharp is studying LCD panels with 4K (QFHD)
resolution (3,820 by 2,160 pixels) and up to 8K Ultra HD (7,680 by 4,320
As for the market potential of 4K displays, Sanduski pointed out
that the content "infrastructure is coming along nicely, pointing out that many
films are shot in 4K today. The HDMI 1.4 spec supports 4K resolution, and our
expectation is that the 4K spec will be added to Blu-ray Disc."
Sony, he said, has already shown a Blu-ray Disc with up to 100GBs
of storage capacity on a single disc, which would be capable of holding a 4K HD
movie with room to spare.
Sharp currently anticipates a 4K TV market launch in late 2012 or
early 2013, Sanduski said.
Looking beyond that, Sanduski said Sharp is developing 8K display
technology, which is also called Ultra HD. Japan's NHK has already announced an
8K CMOS sensor at 120 fps, and it is possible today to make 8K scans from
original 70mm film. To store it, Sony's prototype multi-layer 200GB Blu-ray
Disc could hold one hour and 45 minutes of 8K-encoded material.
But Sanduski warned that an 8K market introduction could be some
time away. Among the bigger challenges left to be overcome is finding the
bandwidth necessary for multichannel service providers to stream the massive
data stream of the content.
In addition to LCD, OLED display technology holds promise for
additional future display approaches, and could be used for large-screen 8K
video as well.
Still, Sanduski said he expects large-screen LCD TVs to continue
to be one of the fastest-growing display technology segments for some time.
The new 4K and 8K technologies added to LCD will provide larger
sizes, picture-quality improvements, and new dimensions of color gamut and
clarity, he said.