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 market.
“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.
Sanduski acknowledged Display-
Search 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
No. 2 in Kameyama, Japan 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 superhigh-
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 pixels).
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.