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Sharp dives into 3D with Quattron 3D TVs, Blu-ray players, projector

After a 3D no-show at CES this year, Sharp has finally found its missing extra dimension. On Wednesday, the company announced its 3D Quattron TVs, a pair of ultra-slim, wall-mountable Blu-ray players, and its first 3D projector.

The Quattron LE 925 series LCD TVs will adopt the same quad-pixel tech its high-end 2D sets use, but folding in 3D capabilities. Besides producing more accurate color thanks to a dedicated yellow pixel, Sharp claims its latest LCD tech is well-suited to 3D because it can produce the brighter images needed to counteract the dimming effect of 3D glasses – up to 1.8 times brighter than a “standard LCD,” by the company’s own numbers.

Interestingly, the Quattron TVs will perform both 2D to 3D conversion, like Toshiba’s Cell TV, and 3D to 2D conversion. Yes, 3D to 2D conversion. Those who don’t care for the effects of 3D, or start to experience nausea, can double click the power button on Sharp’s LCD button to put them in 2D mode. Defeating the purpose? Absolutely, but now Grandma can watch Despicable Me alongside the whole family without Dramamine.

Although Sharp didn’t demonstrate its 2D-to-3D conversion, the company claims it will offer 16 levels of intensity to allow each user to choose what looks most realistic, and convert any content including streaming movies from Netflix and downloaded movies playing off USB thumb drives.

The 60-inch and 52-inch LE 925 models will sell for $5,299.99 and $4,199.99, respectively, with launch dates yet to be announced. Each TV will comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, but additional pairs will retail for $199.99 apiece.

The accompanying Blu-ray players have been scaled down to incredibly thin dimensions, and feature slot-loading for discs and holes on the back to allow wall mounting. Both the $499.99 HP-BD90U and $429.99 HP-BD80U will support outside streaming content including YouTube, Netflix and Vudu.

For the home theater crowd, Sharp will also introduce its first 3D-ready DLP projector in the form of the XV-Z17000. It will use a single-chip DLP design to produce contrast ratios up to 30,000:1 and brightness up to 1,600 ANSI lumens. Like the new 3D TVs, it will also include two pairs of 3D glasses. Sharp will announce pricing at CES, and launch the projector in the first quarter of 2011.