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Sharp Expands 1,080p AQUOS LCD TV Line

Sharp will show at International CES a full line of AQUOS LCD TV products, including expanded feature sets and screen sizes with 1,080p resolution, and a coordinated distribution structure, said Bob Scaglione, Sharp CE group marketing senior VP.

“We intend to offer the widest selection of 1,080p LCD and front-projection products in the industry,” said Scaglione. “With our new Kameyama II [LCD] factory we feel we have a strong advantage over our competition for 2007.”

Sharp will look to bring its value-added AQUOS LCD TV line to a wider audience this year, while it continues to offer a mainstream “Sharp” branded assortment in 2007, but “the majority of our growth will come from AQUOS,” Scaglione said.

Highlighting new AQUOS offerings is the company’s D92U series, featuring full 1,920 by 1,080p resolution.

Targeted at independent channel dealers with dedicated sales support, the line will add 120Hz frame rate conversion, removable speakers and expanded inputs.

Screen sizes include 42W inches (shipping in March at a $3,499 suggested retail price), 46W inches (January, $4,199) and 52W inches (January, $5,299).

The top-of-the-line TVs use Sharp’s proprietary Advanced Super View panel, and deliver a 15,000:1 “Dynamic contrast ratio,” allowing deeper black levels and sharper picture clarity, Scaglione said.

Also included is the company’s “Fine Motion Advanced” and “Quick Shoot” video circuitry to produce 120Hz frame rate conversion for a 4ms response time.

A proprietary five-wavelength backlight system is added to deliver a wider color spectrum for more vivid reds and greens than was previously possible, Sharp said.

Two models will be presented from the D82U AQUOS series. The 52W-inch LC-52D82U ($4,799) and 46W-inch LC-46D82U ($3,699) will ship in March. Both produce 1,080p resolution, and 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios.

The D82 Series models, available for national account distribution, also include 120Hz frame rate conversion and Sharp’s proprietary four-wavelength backlight system. Inputs include three HDMI/HDCP and two HD component terminals, all of which are compatible with 1,080p signals.

On top of the existing AQUOS D62 line, Sharp is adding in February 32W-inch ($1,599) and 37W-inch ($1,899) models to the current 42W-inch and 56W-inch offerings. The new models will include dual HDMI, 1,080p input over both HDMI and component video terminals, 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratios and 6ms response times.

The mainline 720p AQUOS D42 Series this year will range in screen size from 26W inches to 42W inches.

Four models will be offered in the 42W-inch (shipping in February at $2,199), 37W-inch (shipping now at $1,699), 32W-inch (shipping now at $1,399) and 26W-inch (February, $1,099) screen sizes. All feature 1,366 by 768 resolution and include Advanced Super View panels with a Dynamic contrast ratio of 6,000:1.

New cosmetics include thinner bezels with piano black finishes and hidden speakers.

New this year is an AQUOS HDTV Game Player Series (GP1U), including models in the 37W-inch ($1,999) and 32W-inch ($1,699) screen sizes. Both will ship through national distribution channels in March.

New features, including “game mode,” were added to optimize picture quality for video game playing, Sharp said. In addition a custom-designed remote control is added to allow users to quickly “jump” into the game mode, and access the side-placed terminals for easy connections to video games.

Game mode includes a newly developed “Vyper Drive” game reaction speed that reduces lag time between the game console and the TV. Both panels offer full 1,080p resolution, 10,000:1 contrast ratios, 176-degree viewing angles and 4ms response times.

Inputs include three HDMI/HDCP (with one mounted on the side), and two HD component terminals (one on the side), all of which are compatible with 1,080p signals.

The company is also planning to show as a technology statement flat-panel Internet TVs, called “Network AQUOS with PowerLine Communications (PLC) modems.” The TVs are designed to transmit two consecutive HDTV streams from a PC in the home through one powerline. Sharp will partner on a demo with Intel and Yahoo!, showing how consumers will be able to view streaming videos, photos and music from the Internet on their TV screens.

At the show, Sharp will also demonstrate LCD technologies in development including 2,000 by 4,000 pixel resolution and its Mega Contrast LCD technology.

In front projection, Sharp will show three DLP models including the DT-510, which will ship through national distribution channels in January at $2,499. The compact unit is offered in a gloss-white cabinet and weighs 8.8 pounds.

Resolution is listed as 1,280 by 720p, contrast is 4,000:1 and brightness is 1,000 ANSI lumens.

Also being shown is the XV-Z3100, which will ship through the independent retail distribution channel in January at a $2,699. The portable DLP projector features 720p resolution, 1,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, and a 6,500:1 contrast ratio through the use of dual-iris technology. Other features include I/P conversion, 3-2 pull down, color management, three-step Bright Boost and HDMI interface.

Sharp will also show its currently shipping flagship 1,080p projector XV-Z20000 (newly priced at $11,999), which was previously introduced at CEDIA Expo.