LAS VEGAS - Sharp will use International CES to unveil some of the first sets to emerge from its new 10 Gen LCD panel production facility, including models with what the company is calling one of its most dramatic picture-quality advances in HD LCD TVs to date.
Mike Troetti, Sharp Electronics marketing president, said Sharp has developed a color filter for its better Aquos LCD TVs that uses four colors instead of the traditional three primary colors to produce a full color spectrum on the screen. The filter adds yellow, to the red, green and blue combinations, to expand the color gamut of the sets from 1 billion to 1 trillion colors, while significantly increasing image detail.
"All of the four-color sets will use glass from Sharp's new Gen 10 panel facility in Sakai City, Japan. The full-product facility specializes in panels in the 40- and 60-inch classes.
"We believe that by giving retailers advanced technology like our four-color system, we can put profitability back, and by giving dealers something new to talk about we can get out of the price discussion and focus on a performance discussion," Troetti said.
Sharp will put the four-color system into three different Aquos LCD TV series. The 810 series will ship first in April, followed shortly by the 820 series, while the 920 series will ship at the end of May or early June. No pricing was available on new sets as this went to press.
All four-color series sets will also offer edge-lit LED backlighting for reduced panel cabinet depths, measuring 1.5 inches.
The series will also include AquosNet IPTV capability, adding video capability for the first time. The sets will include access to streaming content from Netflix and Vudu, via a built-in Ethernet port.
In addition, Troetti said new Sharp TVs were all designed around energy efficiency, with sets complying with the Energy Star 4.0 specifications.
The top-of-the-line 920 series will include the 52-, 60- and 68-inch screen sizes. All use edge-lit LED backlighting technology to enable a thinner screen size, and the aforementioned Sharp proprietary four-color filter system.
The 920 models will also employ Sharp's 240 AquoMotion technology to reduce image blurring in motion scenes. Cosmetics will feature a flat-glass "edgeless" look when viewed from the front. A black main frame is complemented with a light chrome accent around the unit, touched off with a Lucite finish around the bottom, and a clear Lucite stand.
The 820 series will also have an all-glass front, four-color filter system, edge-lit LED backlighting, 1080p resolution, 120 AquoMotion frame rate technology, and AquosNet IPTV capability with Netflix and Vudu content access. Screen sizes will include: 40, 46, 52 and 60 inches.
The 810 series, which is considered the entry level line four-color series, will feature a glass front look, and will include the 40-, 46-, 52- and 60-inch screen sizes, all with LED edge lighting. The design will offer a more traditional bezel edge look, Troetti explained.
For distribution, Troetti said the 920 series will be limited to selling floor retailers, while the 820 and 810 will be targeted at national accounts and multi-regional chains.
Also slated for the show will be two step-down series that employ a cosmetic design that is similar in feeling to the look of the 810 series. Screen sizes will include 32, 26 and 22 inches. All will use LED edge lighting.
For more traditional cold cathode florescent backlit models, the company will present the 60E88, which features a 60-inch screen size, 1080p resolution AquosNet widgets (no video service) and 240Hz AquoMotion technology.
Troetti said Sharp will introduce in the spring a number of Aquos product series that use CCFL backlighting. And he noted that at least temporarily, Sharp will not offer a non-Aquos Sharp line of LCD TVs.
In Blu-ray players, Sharp will introduce in the late spring a model with IP connectivity supporting Netflix and RS-232 control support.