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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: Rival RGBY designs?
By phazers on 1/8/2013 1:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
This is probably because the yellow phosphor is a gimmick and offers no benefit.

I have compared the Sharp 70" Aquos 4-color sets side-by-side with Vizio, Sony, etc 3-color displays and you're right - not much of a noticeable difference - so it seems to be mainly marketing BS. I would have to do some research into the RGBY color gamut and compare it to the standard however to make sure however.

Also, I would have to be convinced that Sharp offers the best value by a large margin before I would do business with them again. I had a 46" Aquos a few years back, that developed a horizontal line about 1/3rd of the way up the display, about a month after the 1 yr warranty expired. I contacted an authorized repair center and they told me Sharp discontinued manufacturing that particular display, so it could not be replaced as none were to be had. So IMHO Sharp treats their customers pretty poorly, selling them disposable TVs. Luckily my platinum visa card extended the warranty by a year so I got enough back to go buy two Sony TVs. Have never considered Sharp since then..

RE: Rival RGBY designs?
By superflex on 1/9/2013 9:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
Sharp quality is poor at best. I purchased a top of the line CableCard compliant 26" Aquos back in 2006. The remote quit working after 2 years and the speakers quit another year later. I had to rig up some computer speakers to the TV in order to get sound to work and purchased another remote off ebay.
I recommend googling Sharp Aquos Quality before you plunk down any money for an overrated, overpriced crap quality product.

RE: Rival RGBY designs?
By tng on 1/9/2013 9:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
Anecdotal evidence of poor quality I think. I have owned 2 Sharps (52" and 42") for over 6 years and never have had an issue with either. What does that tell you? I got lucky, or you got unlucky?

Face it, just because you had a bad experience with Sharp does not mean that they are horrible. I can send you to forums where people will say the same things about Samsung, Sony, Vizio, ETC...

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