Sharp launches biggest LCD TV set

MUMBAI: In a development that promises to strengthen the experience of viewing high definition television in key markets like the US Japanese electronics manfacturer Sharp has said that from August it will sell the world's biggest liquid crystal display (LCD) television measuring 65 inches (165 centimetres) diagonally.

The company will start sales in Japan and then move to the US and other markets in December. It will thus compete with Matsushita Electric Industrial and other makers of plasma TVs. Sharp's product The LC-65GE1 Aquos TV measures 65 inches across the diagonal and can display an HD picture with 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels of resolution. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, a brightness of 630 candela per square meter, and a viewing angle of 170 degrees the company says.

Sharp's South Korean rival Samsung Electronics in March unveiled the world's largest LCD panel at 82 inches (208 centimetres), but the Sharp television would be the largest LCD television on the market.

Previously, few in the industry had imagined an LCD television of more than 37 inches, as pixels can be of poor quality if the screen is stretched too far but Sharp claims to have developed technology to prevent such distortion. The product will cost $15,000.

The announcement could force Matsushita to lower the price of its 65-inch plasma display and may pressure some LCD TV makers as well. South Koreas LG Electronics, for example, currently markets a 55-inch LCD television for about $19,000.

However Sharps' product is still too expensive for most consumers and is priced well above some similarly sized sets in the US where a plasma TV sets above 60 inches can be bought for less than $10,000.

Sharp has also announced seven LCD TVs that will go sale in Japan in July and August, and says it intends to put a line of LCD TVs with screen sizes in the 50-inch to 59-inch range on sale in Japan and internationally within this year. They include a 45-inch high definition TV set.

Accompanying this are 37-inch and 32-inch models, together with one 26-inch and one 22-inch model. None of these models have 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels of resolution. All the new models use a new backlight technology that allows the TVs to show more natural shades of red, according to Sharp.

Reports indicate that Sharp was the biggest shipper of LCD TVs of all sizes last year, with a quarter of the global market and a 41 per cent share of the Japanese market, according to US market research firm DisplaySearch.

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