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Sharp Stages East Coast Hi-Res Sendoff

Scarsdale, N.Y. – Sharp Electronics Thursday completed a bi-coastal retail rollout for its THX-certified UD27 4K Ultra HD TV line, and Wireless High-Res Audio player, with a launch event at the showroom of specialty retailer Value Electronics, here.

The event brought out local and industry press, Sharp executives and executives with audio manufacturer Krell Electronics, which provided supporting amplification hardware to drive an in-store demo of the SD-WH1000U ($5,000 suggested retail) Wireless High-Res Audio player.  Sharp billed the player as the first wireless player of its kind on the market.

The audio player supports a range of high-res audio formats with up to 96kHz/24-bit encoding, including stereo and multi-channel SACDs, Blu-ray Discs and DVD-video discs and digital file formats, including FLAC, DSD, WAV and others. Digital files can be input via an in-home network, or from connected storage systems including USB sticks and hard drives.

The player then outputs wired or wireless (WiHD and WiSA) signals. Wireless audio is fed to surround speakers via VR-WR100 ($999 each) bridge amps, one per speaker.

The player supports audio up to the pre-amp stage, but requires outboard amplification to drive the speakers.

The audio player marks a renewed interest in delivering high-end audio for the electronics manufacturer.

Jim Sanduski, Sharp Electronics Marketing Corp. of America (SEMCA) interim president, said the company is using both high-res audio and the UD27 Ultra HD TVs to support specialty retailers with the expertise to properly sell the sophisticated new technologies.

Value Electronics also showcased both 60- and 70-inch versions of the Sharp UD27 series Ultra HDTVs, which store proprietor Robert Zohn championed as one of his best 4K values of the year – Sharp officially lists suggested retail prices of $3,199 and $3,599, for the sets, respectively – but Zohn was quoting lower prices to customers.

Both Zohn and equipment reviewers present at the demonstration applauded Sharp for delivering what appeared in an informal inspection as having very strong picture performance, with good black levels, “great” screen uniformity and peak luminance, accurate REC-709 color gamut, flat gamma and “remarkably brilliant” off-axis viewing angles, all of which contributed to the sets’ THX 4K certification.

Zohn told TWICE that Sharp’s selection of Value Electronics as the East Coast site for the retail sendoffs “means a lot to our business, because we have an opportunity to invite all of our premium high-end clients to these events, and it drives a lot of business to us.”

“Value Electronics was the perfect location to display our UD27 4K UHD televisions and our Wireless High-Resolution Audio Player here on the East Coast with high-end clientele that matches perfectly with the demographics that this type of product deals to,” Sanduski said. “Today there is a trend toward high-resolution, not only in video but in audio, and our message going forward is that Sharp is a high-resolution leader.”

He added that Sharp intends to be a good partner to the A/V specialty channel that depends on such technologies.

Zohn explained that Value Electronics has caught the eye of leading manufacturers like Sharp, because of the wide visibility Zohn attracts as an industry speaker and the host of a nationally acclaimed annual Flat Panel TV Shootout, which takes place at his family’s shop each summer.

The Sharp UD27 Ultra HDTVs arrived too late for the 2014 edition, however.

Sharp staged the West Coast equivalent of the high-resolution equipment sendoff at Video & Audio Center in Santa Monica, Calif. last week.