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Subpixel processing and a pair of 4K sets promise to up the graphical ante of the Aquos line

Sharp Corp. (TYO:6753) showed off a variety of TV sets this morning at a press event at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Central themes were big, high resolution, and smarter televisions.

I. 3D, Smart TVs are Here to Stay, Says Sharp

The Japanese set-maker continues to forge ahead with its own proprietary smart TV technology dubbed "SmartCentral".  Its refresh of its Aquos line includes 21 new sets distributed among the 6-Series (low-end), 7-Series (mid-range), and 8-Series (high-end).  Each set features a dual-core ARM architecture processor.  The sets range from 60+ inches to 80+ inches.

The latest version of SmartCentral adds the ability to use your Android or iOS device as a remote control.  It also features SmartBeam, which allows you to push files from your mobile device onto your LCD set.  A Flash- and HTML5-capable web browser will also be built into the sets.

Taking a page from Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) playbook, Sharp's luxury 7- and 8-Series models feature diamond-cut silver brushed-aluminum finishes.
Sharp Aquos 8
Sharp Aquos 8-Series (60-inch)

All of the TVs have built in Wi-Fi and 1080p "Active" 3D compatibility.  The new twist on 3D is improved filtering on the Bluetooth link; customers can now use the Bluetooth powered glasses without fear of interference from other Bluetooth signals (previously customers were advised to turn off other Bluetooth-communications in the area when watching 3D content).

Also included in the lineup is Sharp's proprietary sub-pixel processing, which the company claims offers double the detail per pixel as rival RGBY/RGB LCD designs.

The lineup answers two of the big questions of last few years' shows -- will 3D and smart-TVs flare out? While neither technology has wowed in terms of adoption or customer enthusiasm, the solution Sharp and other manufacturers appear to be pursuing is to simply overhaul the entire lineup to feature some level of these technologies.

II. Going Big

Sharp was also eager to plug its 90-inch LED set, which it brags is the biggest available LED-illuminated LCD TV on the market.  Launched in June 2012, this will continue to be a crown jewel in the company's lineup, getting a minor refresh with improved SmartCentral technology.

But 1080 is not the final destination for Sharp.  The company will be launching a pair of 4K (3,840 × 2,160 pixel) sets this year.  Sharp dubs these models "ultra-HD" (UHD) sets, pointing out that they quadruple the pixel count of 1080p.

Sharp ICC Purios
[Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

The first, the ICC Purios, will hit this summer. Named after Sharp's processor partner -- the I-cubed Research Center Inc. (ICC) -- the ICC Purious will pack ICC's (integrated cognitive creation) image processor, which supposedly mimics the way a human brain deals with images.  The 60-inch set is the first 4K model to receive THX certification, according to Sharp.
Sharp ICC Purios
Sharp ICC Purios

Sharp will push out a second set -- an Aquos-branded UHD set -- sometime in the second half of the year.  That set will feature an upscaler, which will try to convert standard 1080p content to 4K (similar to how the Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) PS3 upscales DVD content to 1080p).

The latter set will also feature "Moth Eye" a nano-scale conical coating, which mimics moth eyes.  Apparently moths have evolved the ability to minimize glare off their eye lenses to avoid predation.  Inspired by nature, Sharp applied a similar design to eliminate glare on the set.

In case that wasn't enough, Sharp showed off an 85-inch 8K LED-lit LCD TV prototype (7680 x 4320 pixel).  The ultra-ultra HD (so to speak) set won't be available this year, but Sharp calls it a "glimpse of the future of high definition".

Sources: Sharp [1], [2]



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RE: 8K???
By theapparition on 1/8/2013 9:25:06 AM , Rating: 3
4K refers to the approximate horizontal resolution. Current HD TV (1920 x 1080) would be considered 2K.

8K is doubling that horizontal resolution.

That's why they are called "K" (thousands) and not "X" (times/multiple).


RE: 8K???
By mgilbert on 1/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: 8K???
By OCNewbie on 1/8/2013 10:01:02 AM , Rating: 4
You said it in your first sentence: the horizontal resolution of 4k is 3840 (they're rounding that 3,840 up to call it "4K", as in 4 thousand). Nobody said anything about 4x or 8x (as in four or 8 "times") the resolution. It's 4K and 8K, again, as in thousand.


RE: 8K???
By CaedenV on 1/8/2013 11:19:37 AM , Rating: 2
minor correction, but 2K is a slightly different standard which is a bit wider than 1080p.

Similarly, theatrical 2K 4K and 8K are not 1.78:1 (aka 16:9) ratio, they are a wider 1.85:1. This basically means that we are still going to have good old pan and scan between 4K movies which adopted the theatrical 4K format 10 years ago, and the UHD 4K format which is coming out now. I was really hoping to have less standards when 4K came out... but I guess consumers can never win.

Anywho, oddly enough 2K only refers to the theatrical 1.85:1 format, while 1080p only refers to the popular 16:9 format even though they are extremely similar.

I really wish that the Manufacturing marketing directors would have just said UHD instead of 4K... it really makes things overly complicated.


RE: 8K???
By Shadowself on 1/8/2013 1:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY.

The Digital "TV" "standards" are
NTSC: 480p/i : 720 x 480
ATSC, 720p/i : 1280 x 720
ATSC, 1080p/i : 1920 x 1080

Digital Cinema Standards are
2K : 2048 x 1080
4K : 4096 x 2160
8K : 8192 x 4320
16K: 15384 x 8640 (not a standard, but being discussed)

To my knowledge 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 are not recognized as "standards" by any independent organization.

There are also other "standards" like the various IMAX resolutions.

I too was hoping for things to converge to a single set of standards, but, alas, it is easier to just double the horizontal and vertical numbers of what you already have rather than work to make things the same. Then you just attach buzzwords (e.g., "4K") to what you have (accurate or not) and market the hell out of it.


RE: 8K???
By Fritzr on 1/11/2013 3:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Digital Standard Resolutions
720×480 : Widescreen DVD (anamorphic)
1280×720 : HDTV
1440×1080 : HDTV (4:3)
1920×1080 : HDTV
1998x1080 : 2K Flat (1.85:1)
2048×1080 : 2K Digital Cinema
3840x2160 : UHDTV
4096×2160 : 4K Digital Cinema
7680×4320 : UHDTV
8192x4320 : 8K Digital Cinema
10000x7000 : IMAX
15360x8640 : 16K Digital Cinema

The 1080 series is
1920x1080 (HD -- this is the hi-res Hi Def)
3840x2160 (UHD -- this is the lo-res Ultra Hi Def)
7680x4320 (UHD -- this is the hi-res Ultra Hi Def)
15360x8640 (16K Digital Cinema)

The 2K/4K/8K do not designate a particular res, they designate families of resolutions with similar horizontal res. 1080pHD falls in the 2K group, but the group designator has never been used in marketing. The naming rules for UHD (4K/8K television) were announced at CES 2013. The Super Hi Vision (8K UHD) is also being retired.

The outlier in the Digital Cinema group is the 16K which is an (U)HDTV resolution. The 16K Digital Cinema should be 16384x8640 which doubles the 8K Digital Cinema. Expect renaming for that standard in 5 to 8 years when the HDTV manufacturers begin playing with that 1.5*IMAX resolution.


RE: 8K???
By theapparition on 1/10/2013 10:21:34 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the info. I didn't know that.


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