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Sharp TVs Aim For The High End In 2nd Year Under Hisense USA

The Sharp TV brand is moving into its second year under Hisense USA management with a focus on 4K Ultra HD, high dynamic range and stepped-up digital advertising.

After taking control of Sharp TV product-development and marketing in the Americas in early 2016, Hisense placed Sharp TVs in leading retailers in North America starting in May and June, and the TVs are now in “just about every major CE retailer in the U.S.,” including major regional players, said Hisense USA marketing VP Mark Viken. “Retailers are still embracing the Sharp brand.”

Hisense’s current five-year brand-licensing deal with Sharp expires in four years, and “we’re 100-percent committed to fulfilling the agreement,” Viken said before CES. “The next four years will be very profitable [for the brand.]”

To keep the momentum going in 2017, Hisense management will step up its Sharp marketing efforts, particularly in digital advertising, and at CES is launching 11 new Sharp 4K TVs in screen sizes up to 75 inches. All 4K TVs are smart TVs, as are four of seven new FullHD 1080p TVs.

In the new 4K lineup, the Sharp brand is:

• expanding multizone full-array backlighting to six 4K models, with one 2017 SKU getting edge-lit local dimming and four others getting full-array backlighting without local dimming.
• launching the 75-inch P9500 flagship, designed to meet the UHD Alliance’s minimum performance requirements, including peak luminance of at least 1,000 nits and a color gamut of more than 90 percent of the DCI P3 standard used in digital cinemas.
• designing the flagship P9500 to meet THX performance criteria, making it the first Sharp display in a couple years with THX certification.
• offering three 4K SKUs with wide color gamut, up from two, though only the top model, the 75-inch P9500, features gamut-expanding quantum-dot technology.
• continuing to top out its screen sizes at 75 inches.
• offering the Aquos sub-brand on all 11 new 4K models, having appeared in the 2016 line on 10 of 13 4K SKUs.
• expanding distribution from North America to Latin America and South America.
• and continuing to offer HDR 10 on all models but isn’t adding Dolby Vision HDR to any models.

It wasn’t clear at press time whether any Sharp TVs would offer hybrid log gamma (HLG) HDR, expected to be available through pay-TV services and ATSC 3.0 TV broadcasts.

In other developments, Sharp is dropping the Roku TV OS from its lineup, having offered four 1080p Roku TV models in 2016. The Sharp brand is using its own smart-TV OS in 2017’s 4K and 1080p TVs.

For the U.S. market, Sharp also said it will not offer a 4K curved TV in its 2017 lineup because of demand. It offered one curved model in the 2016 lineup.

The brand has no plans for a 4K Blu-ray player, citing the growth of 4K streaming services with HDR.

In 2016, Sharp launched 27 TV SKUs under Hisense tutelage. Here’s the new 4K lineup:

P7000 series: The opening 4K series features HDR 10, full-array LED backlighting without local dimming, and 120Hz refresh rate in the 43-, 50-, 55-, and 65-inch sizes. Suggested retails are $449, $549, $649, and $999, respectively. Ship dates hadn’t been determined at press time. The SKUs feature Sharp’s SmartCentral smart-TV UI with integrated web browser.

P8000 series: The next step up in 4K consists of four models that add full-array back-lit local dimming in the 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch sizes at suggested retails of $749, $849, $1,999, and $2,699, respectively. Ship dates hadn’t been determined at press time.

P9000: The 75-inch P9000 also offers full-array local dimming but steps up to wide color gamut and 240Hz refresh rate. A gamut spec was unavailable. Pricing and ship date hadn’t been determined at press time.

P9200: The $1,799-suggested 65-inch P9200 also features wide color gamut and 240Hz refresh rate but comes with edge-lit local dimming. A gamut spec was unavailable. A ship date hadn’t been determined at press time

P9500: The flagship 75-inch P9500 steps up to quantum-dot technology, 480Hz refresh rate, and performance designed to meet Ultra HD Alliance and THX certification criteria. It also features full-array local dimming. Under alliance criteria, certified TVs must deliver peak luminance of at least 1,000 nits and a color gamut of more than 90 percent of DCI P3. Price and ship date hadn’t been determined at press time.

All 4K models feature four HDMI 2.0b inputs, MHL, three USB 3.0 ports, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO, and an analog headphone output.

New Full HD TVs consist of three SKUs in the P3000 series and four SKUs in the P5000 series. The latter adds smart-TV capability and 120Hz refresh rate.

Audio: Sharp is also showing four sound bars available since last April and May a suggested $79, $99, $249, and $399.