LAS VEGAS —
Just more than 100 days into his role as president of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America, John Herrington said that among his top priorities will be to reconnect U.S. consumers with Sharp as the leader in LCD TV technology.
Sharp Electronics, which was among the earliest pioneers of LCD displays, and continues to lead the Japanese market in TV market share, has seen its once firm grasp in the top three U.S. LCD TV brands slip in recent years.
Under the challenges of price-aggressive competitors, such as Vizio, Samsung and LG, Japanese companies including Sharp, Sony and Panasonic continue to try to come to terms with the crippling impact of the rising value of the yen against the U.S. dollar.
Sharp has sought to overcome the currency disadvantage by introducing innovative new phases of LCD technology, such as Quad-Color system, and its application to 3D.
Much of the work has been done, Herrington pointed out, adding that that Sharp “already enjoys strong brand equity” with retailers and “97 percent of consumers already know about us. Our challenge is to reconnect with them and bring excitement to the market.”
Herrington praised the success of Sharp’s extensive national TV advertising spots of the past year that supported the launch of the Quattron Quad-Color HDTVs and 3D TVs, using the humorous testimony of highly recognizable spokesman George Takei of Star Trek and Howard Stern fame, and 3D movie partnerships with the producers of the 3D animation comedy “Despicable Me.”
That campaign will continue into 2011 with further campaigns to be announced as Sharp ramps up production of next-generation LCD TV panels from its Gen 10 facilities, Herrington said.
This year, the plant affords Sharp the ability to step up in screen size, offering a new high-performance challenge to plasma and rear-projection DLP technology competitors that have played off of their bigscreen value message for the past several years.
Sharp will feature a 70-inch screen size in its core Aquos Quattron consumer line using the X-gen panel, and full-array LED backlighting technology to deliver a 6,000,000:1 Dynamic contrast ratio. The set, like most in the Aquos line this year, will also offer a suite of connected streaming features.
In his goal to reconnect Sharp with consumers, Herrington said Sharp’s TVs will offer consumers the ability to connect to Internet based content.
This year’s LCD’s will support a variety of apps and content partners, and will simplify the processes of hooking up to broadband networks through extensive use of built-in Wi-Fi connections in most step-up model lines.
Some of Sharp’s streaming content partners this year include: CinemaNow, Netflix, Vudu, and Alphaline movie services, plus DLNA compliance and access to the Aquos Advantage Live service for support.
Sharp will also look to broaden its offering in 3D TV this year behind the Quattron technology, Herrington said.
He added that Sharp’s approach using its LCD technology presents a better way to get together with the family.