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Sharp Unveils 80-Inch Aquos LED LCD TV

10/03/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Sharp unveiled its first 80-inch Aquos
LCD TV, billed as the industry’s “largest available
LED” backlit set, along with a new 70-inch Aquos
last week.

Sharp’s 70-inch is one of two new Aquos sets in
the same model class as the 80-inch set.

The model LC-80LE632U (available now at a
$5,499 suggested retail) is 80-inches and features
full-array LED backlighting, a 120Hz Fine Motion refresh
rate, built-in Wi-Fi, and the Aquos Advantage
Smart TV app system.

The FullHD 1080p product does not include
Sharp’s four-color Quattron system, 3D capability
or local dimming technology, but it does feature a
6,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.

Available apps on the set include Netflix, CinemaNow
and Vudu (among others) in addition to
Advantage Live, which allows Sharp technicians to
remotely service the set over an Internet connection.

The set conforms to the latest EnergyStar guidelines
and has been measured to consume just $22 worth of
electricity for a year of average use, Sharp said.

John Herrington, Sharp’s U.S. president, pointed
out that huge display offers more than twice the viewing
area of a conventional 55-inch set.

“It’s truly like nothing else on the market,” he said.
“Consumers want bigger flat-panel TVs for deeper,
more immersive viewing experiences, and that’s exactly
what Sharp’s delivering here.”

Mark Viken, Sharp marketing VP, said the display
will be sold through those Sharp dealers with
the clientele to support a large display. Among the
launch partners are Magnolia, hhgregg, Fry’s and
P.C. Richard.

Viken said it will not be open to Internet distribution
at this time.

Viken said the 80-inch-class screen size should help
Sharp keep its No. 1 market share position in 60-inch
and larger LED LCD segment.

“One of the things we have learned in our research
is that when people shop for a 60-inch TV, they go
back and forth between whether they want a 55- or
a 60-inch screen, and many of them step up to the
60,” said Viken. “People who buy a 70-inch, and we
assume the same will be the case for the 80, just want
the biggest and best experience they can buy. They
are coming in looking for a 70-inch or an 80-inch, and
that’s a big ‘ah-ha!’ for us.”

So far this year, Sharp has introduced more than
15 LCD TV SKUs, in the super-large screen size segment.
This year the company has released five Aquos
70-inch models and 10 Aquos 60-inch sets.

Other key features in the LC-80LE632U include
Vyper Drive game mode — which eliminates perceptible
lag between video game consoles and the TV
display — and dual USB inputs supporting playback of
video, music and digital photos on the TV.

Also introduced was a 70-inch model in the same
LE632U model class carrying the same feature set.

Viken said Sharp has decided to introduce new
screen sizes, like the 80-inch and the 70-inch before
it, starting with entry-level products, followed later
by step-up models. This explains why 3D and Quattron
did not appear in the first 80-inch model. Additional
model classes for the screen sizes won’t be announced
until next year, a Sharp representative said.

Sharp will support the new set with an extension on
its “Big Is Too Small A Word” campaign this fall. Print,
TV and Web spots will highlight the “Viewmongus”
and mention that range of 60-, 70- and 80-inch screen
sizes now in the Sharp assortment.

The campaign will run through December, Viken
said.

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