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HDR, Quantum Dots, Come To Sharp-Brand TVs

The Sharp TV brand is making its CES debut under Hisense USA management with the launch of its first Ultra HD TVs with high-dynamic range (HDR), its first 4K TVs with color-gamut-expanding quantum-dot technology, and its first curved TV.

The lineup also includes three 4K TVs certified as meeting the UHD Alliance’s newly released 4K performance standards. The three Aquos TVs are the $2,299 70-inch N8100U, $3,299 70-inch N9100U, and the $2,999 curved 65-inch N9000U. The top two models feature quantum dots, and all three feature full-array local dimming, with the top model offering 192 dimming zones.

The two quantum-dot TVs deliver 91 percent of the Rec 2020 color gamut, which exceeds the P3 gamut delivered by digital cinemas.

All 25 new models were developed by Hisense engineers “with advice and support from Sharp” to “make sure Sharp products live up to the licensors’ quality standards,” said Mark Viken, Hisense USA marketing VP and former Sharp executive.

To consumers, the Hisense and Sharp TV brands will be “two separate and independent brands, each with its own target customer and voice” in terms of features and consumer communications, he said. “Each brand appeals to a different customer,” with Hisense skewing a bit younger and being more fashionable, he said.

Sharp’s position has been that of a premium brand whose customer skews older, Viken said.

Despite differing customer bases, “sometimes both brands will be in the same retailers depending on their target customers and what the retailers are trying to accomplish,” Viken said. Although the two brands will be managed independently, the brands will share the same sales staff to present a “one-stop shop” to such dealers, he added.

Debut line: Here’s what the debut line offers:

Of the new models, 11 SKUs will be 1080p, and 13 will be 4K, the latter in 43-to 75-inch screen sizes. All 4K TVs will process Open HDR signals even if the screens don’t meet the UHD Alliance’s HDR performance criteria. Those models will nonetheless deliver greater dynamic range and brightness levels closer to what the studio intended, said Hisense USA product director Chris Porter.

The brand also unveiled five 1080p smart TVs in 40-to 65-inch screen sizes, three 1080p TVs without smart technology at 32 to 50 inches, and four Roku OS TVs, up from three, in screen sizes of 32 to 55 inches. The 32-inch Roku TV is the brand’s first Roku TV in that size.

The Roku OS smart-TV platform accesses all of Roku’s streaming audio and video services.

Step by step: The 2016 lineup costs of four core series and six Aquos series.

Three of the core series consist of 720p and 1080p TVs, and one core series consists of 4K TVs.

In the three 720p/1080p series, four of 12 models run the Roku TV OS, and five feature Sharp’s own smart TV platform. Prices in the three series range from $189 to $999 for 32-to 65-inch models.

The core 4K series consists of three models, all with Open HDR processing and smart TV apps, in sizes from 43 to 55 inches and prices from $449 to $749.

In the Aquos lineup, all 10 SKUs are 4K models. They’re arrayed across six series with prices running from $499 to $3,299 in sizes from 43 to 75 inches.