LAS VEGAS – Sharp Electronics is unveiling here a new QuattronPlus step-up level of TV resolution that narrows the gap between Ultra HD and FullHD TV.
“We think consumers are excited about higher resolution now because of the introduction of 4K, and they are starting to get what resolution means in terms of increased detail on the screen, and we want to take advantage of that momentum,” said Tony Favia, Sharp Electronics product planning senior manager. “We think QuattronPlus will deliver the highest-resolution FullHD TV in the industry.”
Sharp is adding the technology to two series of Sharp Aquos LED LCD TVs in 2014, called the SQ and UQ.
The SQ series will include models in the 60- and 70- in screen sizes, while the UQ series will offer models in 60, 70 and 80 inches.
Mark Viken, Sharp brand marketing VP, explained that QuattronPlus takes a standard 1080p Quattron quad-pixel panel and adds on top of that what the company is calling its Revelation Technology, which uses both hardware and software advances to go from the standard 6 million subpixels on a FullHD TV panel to more than 16 million subpixels of QuattronPlus.
For comparison purposes, a 4K Ultra HD panel produces 24 million subpixels, putting QuattronPlus between FullHD and Ultra HD resolution. Other step-up features in the UQ series over the SQ include THX FullHD Certification, high-quality built-in audio system with a 15-watt subwoofer, and Bluetooth audio.
Viken said the chief benefits of the added tech is enhanced resolution, a brighter picture than even Ultra HD produces today, and the extra color benefits of the Quattron panel, which adds yellow to the standard red, green and blue subpixels.
Better yet, because the system is based on a standard FullHD LCD panel, the production costs are lower than those for an Ultra HD displays.
Sharp wasn’t discussing pricing as this went to press, but assured the QuattronPlus products will represent a significant cost savings over the purchase of a high-quality 4K TV and presents a better overall picture than many of the bargain Ultra HD sets introduced last year.
“Frankly, even when you see [QuattronPlus] up against what we call a real 4K TV, you’d be hard- pressed to tell the difference,” Viken said.
Sharp includes a QuattronPlus up-scaling system that converts FullHD and lower-resolution signals to the 16 million subpixel structure. The set will also accept a native 4K signal and down-covert it to fit the panel. The technology supports 2,160 pixels of vertical resolution.
“This will be the only FullHD [flat-panel] TV we are aware of that will accept a native 4K signal, so it is future- proof, as well,” Viken added.
Because Sharp is the only company with an RGBY quad-color LCD panel, it is uniquely capable of producing the expanded subpixel density of the Quatton Plus.
This is because Sharp is able to use a split pixel process — addressing subpixels both vertically and horizontally in the picture mapping process.
Sharp said QuattronPlus processes horizontal panel resolution by combining a green subpixel with half a red and half of a blue subpixel for pixel one and takes a yellow subpixel combined with half of the blue and half of the red for pixel two.
Sharp explains that green and yellow are the colors that deliver the most brightness to the image, and in the RGB phase they both have a similar area of overlap. So there is some redundancy between the green and yellow that allows Sharp to create higher pixel density.
In up-scaling FullHD content, QuattronPlus also has the unique position of being able to display native images on the base native FullHD panel, and can then upscale FullHD material using the Revelation technology to increase the apparent resolution and detail.
QuattronPlus will be one of four umbrella TV technology classes in the 2014 Sharp line. Others include Sharp Aquos HD and FullHD LCDs (LE650 series), Quattron FullHD (EQ series), QuattronPlus FullHD (SQ and UQ series), and Sharp’s Ultra HD TVs (UD series).
Models in all five series will include dual-core processors and Sharp’s revamped Smart Central 3 smart-TV platform offering a more robust and graphically rich media guide with advanced intelligent search features, expanded built-in streaming service partners, and guide listings that combine cable/satellite/telco TV programs with streaming services into one integrated menu. An optional IR blaster box will be available for added convenience using smartphone app control.
The Smart Central 3 sets will also offer a host of second-screen interconnectivity capabilities, including MiraCast (in all but the LE650 series).
From a design standpoint, QuattronPlus SQ series will offer a plastic bezel, while the UQ features real brushed aluminum. UQ models will also ship with active-shutter 3D glasses in the box, while the SQ models will not.
The UQ models will also include Sharp’s Super Bright technology first unveiled in select step-up 2013 models to increase both brightness and image contrast. Also, both series include 240Hz refresh rates but the UQ models add AquoMotion backlight scanning technology to boost the effective refresh rate to 960Hz.
All of Sharp’s 2014 sets will offer LED edge lighting, except for the Aquos HD 90-inch model with full-array LED backlighting.
The Aquos HD LE650 series lineup will include the 60-, 70-, 80- and 90-inch screen sizes. All other series will include 60- and 70-inch models in 2014, except the QuattronPlus UQ series, which adds an 80-inch model.