New York – Sharp began shipping two more series of Ultra HD 4K TVs, expanding the company’s 4K selection to nine SKUs, launching the company’s first five TVs running Android TV, and introducing the company’s first 80-inch 4K TV.
The selection also includes the company’s first THX-certified 4K TV, a 70-inch model in the top UH series. It’s said to be the first THX-certified 4K TV announced in the industry.
The products in the UE and UH 4K series have already begun to appear in such stores as Best Buy, Amazon, P.C. Richard, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Sam’s Club, Conn’s, and HH Gregg.
Because of limited retail space, Sharp is focusing on “having the right models at the right screen sizes priced for volume sales,” said Jim Sanduski, president of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America (SEMCA), during a press conference. Although the TV market “is a brutal market,” and Sharp “has had some financial struggles,” Sharp “has no intention of vacating” the U.S., he said. Sharp recently received additional funding and expects to post an operating profit in the current fiscal year, he noted.
The company’s expanded lineup of 4K TVs will leverage a 4K market whose unit sales will jump four times this year to more than 4 million, with 4K accounting for more than 30 percent of TV revenue, Sanduski said.
Combined, the UE and UH series feature five screen sizes at 60, 70, and 80 inches at UPP prices from $1,699 for a 60-inch UE series model to less than $5,000 UPP for the 80-inch UH series model. They join four UHD SKUs shipped earlier this year in the UB series in screen sizes from 43 to 65 inches and starting at an everyday $599. The UE and UH shipments expand the company’s 4K selection to nine SKUs from last year’s two, complementing a 2015 selection of 10 1080p TVs.
All of the models are sharply priced , with the under-$5,000 UPP of the UH-series 80-inch TV coming in lower than the prices of competitors’ 78- and 79-inch LED LCD TVs, said Jhun Kim, senior product marketing manager.
Also new in the new UE and UH series are adjustable feet in the 70- and 80-inch models. The feet can be moved from the left and right edges of the displays toward the center to provide for placement on more cabinets. The models in the two series also reduce bezel width to 0.3 inches from 0.4 inches in last year’s 4K lineup.
All of the company’s 4K TVs feature HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 copy protection, and all are the company’s first 4K TVs with VP9 codec to stream YouTube 4K video.
The two UH series models, in 70- and 80-inch sizes, add Spectros technology to offer quantum-dot-like color-gamut expansion, as did two 60- and 70-inch 4K TVs in last year’s line. The technology expands the color gamut by 21 percent over traditional LED TVs, the company said.
The 80-inch models in both series step up to full-array LED backlighting, without local dimming, from edge-lit LED lighting.
None of the 4K TVs in the three series can be upgraded to add high dynamic range (HDR) capability, but the company will add HDR, Quattron yellow-pixel technology, and proprietary pixel-splitting technology to deliver 8K-like display performance when its “Beyond 4K” TVs appear in early 2016, said Kim.
The UE series consists of three models at 60, 70 and 80 inches as suggested retail prices of $2,099, $2,899, and $5,599, respectively.
The UH series consists of a 70-inch model at a suggested $3,299 and an 80-inch model at a suggested $6,299.