New York -
introduced Tuesday its first 80-inch Aquos LCD TV, billed as the industry's "largest available LED" backlit set.
Th company also unveiled a new 70-inch screen size in the same model class.
The 80-inch model LC-80LE632U (available now at a $5,499 suggested retail) features full-array LED backlighting, a 120Hz Fine Motion refresh rate, built-in Wi-Fi, and the Aquos Advantage Smart TV app system.
The FullHD 1080p product does not include Sharp's four-color Quattron system, 3D capability or local dimming technology, but it does feature a 6,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
Available apps on the set include Netflix, CinemaNow and Vudu (among others) in addition to Advantage Live, which allows Sharp technicians to remotely service the set over an Internet connection.
The set conforms to the latest EnergyStar guidelines and has been measured to consume just $22 worth of electricity for a year of average use, Sharp said.
John Herrington, Sharp's U.S. president, pointed out that huge display offers more than twice the viewing area of a conventional 55-inch set.
"It's truly like nothing else on the market," he said. "Consumers want bigger flat-panel TVs for deeper, more immersive viewing experiences, and that's exactly what Sharp's delivering here."
Mark Viken, Sharp marketing VP, said the display will be sold through those Sharp dealers with the clientele to support a large display. Among the launch partners are Magnolia, hhgregg, Fry's and P.C. Richard.
Viken said it will not be open to Internet distribution at this time.
The 80-inch set is said to measure less than 4 inches deep and weigh 130 pounds.
Viken said the 80-inch-class screen size should help Sharp keep its No. 1 market share position in 60-inch and larger LED LCD segment.
"One of the things we have learned in our research is that when people shop for a 60-inch TV, they go back and forth between whether they want a 55- or a 60-inch screen, and many of them step up to the 60," said Viken. "People who buy a 70-inch, and we assume the same will be the case for the 80, just want the biggest and best experience they can buy. They are coming in looking for a 70-inch or an 80-inch, and that's a big â€˜ah-ha!' for us."
So far this year, Sharp has introduced more than 15 LCD TV SKUs, in the super-large screen size segment. This year the company has released five Aquos 70-inch models and 10 Aquos 60-inch sets.
Other key features in the LC-80LE632U include Vyper Drive game mode -- which eliminates perceptible lag between video game consoles and the TV display -- and dual USB inputs supporting playback of video, music and digital photos on the TV.
Also introduced was a 70-inch model in the same LE632U model class carrying the same feature set.
Viken said Sharp has decided to introduce new screen sizes, like the 80-inch and the 70-inch before it, starting with entry-level products, followed later by step-up models. This explains why 3D and Quattron did not appear in the first 80-inch model. Additional model classes for the screen sizes won't be announced until next year, a Sharp representative said.
Sharp will support the new set with an extension on its "Big Is Too Small A Word" ad campaign this fall. Print, TV and web spots will highlight the "Viewmongus" set and mention the range of 60-, 70- and 80-inch screen sizes now in the Sharp assortment.
The campaign will run through December, Viken said.