LAS VEGAS -- That Sharp, they sure make some huge HDTVs. To no one's surprise, Sharp's emphasis on very big screens will remain in effect through 2013. The company announced 18 new LED HDTVs at its CES 2013 press conference today, and the "smallest" ones have screens measuring 60 inches diagonally.
The company's new 60-, 70-, and 80-inch 1080p TVs will be new additions to the company's highest-end Aquos Quattron 8 3D series, Aquos Quattron 7 3D series, and Aquos 6 series (both 2D and 3D). All the new TVs have 240Hz refresh rates, connected features and browsers that support Flash and HTML5 content, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. While the sets are still huge, the bezels have been slimmed down compared to last year's models; the new highest-end Quattron sets also have enhanced contrast and brightness capabilities.
What is a bit surprising is that all those sets will be 1080p TVs rather than UltraHD (or "4K") sets. Sharp did provide details on its UltraHD displays, and the company will have 4K and 8K prototype sets on display at this year's show, but we'll have to wait a bit longer until they're available for consumers.
Two Sharp UltraHD sets are planned for release by the end of the year, but neither model was officially announced at the show. The first one available will be the ICC Purios model in the summer; the company says it's the first THX-certified TV for 4K playback. Another Aquos UltraHD set is also due by the end of the year.
Despite the lack of immediate gratification on the big-screen 4K front, the company's ultra-high-resolution display technology will make a big showing at CES. Sharp's ultra-high-definition IGZO (iridium gallium zinc oxide) panel technology, which turned heads at last year's IFA show in Berlin, will be on display for the first time in the U.S.
IGZO displays won't be part of Sharp's UltraHD sets later this year, but they may be fairly prevalent in the world of tablets and smartphones. According to Sharp, the IGZO displays offer Ultra HD resolution with precise touchscreen response and low power consumption, two obvious benefits for today's mobile devices.
But like OLED and big-screen 4K sets, IGZO won't be cheap at first. The first Sharp-branded IGZO display in the U.S. will be found in the 32-inch PN-K321 monitor, which is priced at more than $7,000 and slated for a February release. There will also be an IGZO smartphone and tablet launching in Japan, but the company didn't announce details about any IGZO-screened mobile devices for the U.S. at the show.