Sharp unveils massive 80-inch LED LCD TV – impressions and pics

Moments ago Sharp unveiled its biggest LCD TV to date and what it claims is the “world’s largest LED LCD TV.” At 80 inches, the new Aquos LC-80LE632U is absolutely massive, dwarfing 55- and 60-inch televisions much like 46-inch TVs dwarfed traditional TVs a few years back. The unit is a natural step up from the 70-inch Aquos the company unveiled earlier this year. We were live at the unveiling in New York and snapped some photos of the new TV. The pictures don’t really do the unit’s size or picture quality justice, but Sharp had a nice size comparison, showing the TV next to a dozen 19-inch standard TVs (well, cardboard cutouts of standard 3:4 TVs).

“Our 80-inch AQUOS TV delivers more than double the screen area of a 55-inch TV, for an amazing viewing experience,” said John Herrington, president, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America. “It’s truly like nothing else on the market. Consumers want bigger flat panel TVs for deeper, more immersive viewing experiences and that’s exactly what Sharp’s delivering here.”

The new Aquos has a full suite of smart TV apps and features like Netflix, CinemaNow, Vudu, Amazon, Hulu, as well as built-in Wi-Fi. For gamers, it has “Vyper Drive,” a mode that reduces lag between games and the 1080p 120Hz TV screen. It’s about 3 inches thick and weighs about 130 lbs, light enough for two people to carry. But don’t whip out the credit card just yet, because you may not have a high enough limit. The 80-inch Aquos will hit retail in “early October” for $5,500. But if you can afford it, this TV can basically turn a 9-foot viewing space into a movie theater.

It’s expensive, but we were impressed by the visual quality in the 80-inch TV. Sharp executives explained how difficult it is to get a consistent LED brightness over such a large screen size but the results were fairly impressive. We look forward to checking this unit out in a full review. With TVs getting so large, it seems almost necessary that 4K models begin hitting shelves sooner than later. Will 2012 be the year of the new HD standard? Sharp executives seem confident that it’s coming soon.

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