Sharp Flips the Switch on New LED-Backlit LCD Aquos HDTVs

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Sharp is looking to get a jump on the second-half-of-the-year market for televisions by announcing its new Aquos LED televisions, a new series of LCD HDTVs that take Sharp’s existing Aquos LCD technology and pair it with energy-saving full-array LED backlighting for improved image quality and utility-friendly performance. And the Aquos LED series also introduce Aquos Net, a new service that enables owners to tap into Web-based content, as well as contact Sharp customer service.

"With the introduction of the AQUOS LED Series, we are bringing consumers an affordable display solution with superior picture and environmental performance that provides a true value," said Sharp senior VP and group manager Bob Scaglione, in a statement. "Sharp is able to deliver a price-competitive yet high-performance product by producing many of the key components of the TV, including the LED components and the LCD panel."

Sharp says the new LED backlighting system enables the sets to offer greater brightness and contrast levels than previous LCD sets: the company claims the Aquos LED units offer dynamic contrast ratios of more than 2,000,000:1; the sets also offer a 120 Hz refresh rate, a 176° viewing angle and a response time of 4ms. The sets also use no mercury, and sport the lowest power consumption of any LCD TV sets on the market: one of the units exceeds Energy Star guidelines by 60 percent. The sets also features four HDMI 1.3 ports along with ATSC, QAM, and NTSC tuners.

Aquos Net will enable user to tap into Web-based content, either taking over the whole screen or running in a split-screen mode so users can check information without necessarily interrupting their programming. Sharp has lined up the usual plethora of general content—weather, stock quotes, traffic reports, etc.—along with the Aquos Gallery, a selection of high-def scenery and nature images from the NBCU portfolio that users can run as a slideshow—because, obviously, that’s a key reason to buy a large-screen television. Aquos Net will also provide users access to customer support, including the capability for Aquos reps to connect remotely to the TV and adjust settings and picture quality. (How long, do we think, before Aquos TVs attract their own league of attackers?)

The Aquos LED units should start shipping this month in 32-, 40-, 46-, and 52-inch sizes; suggested prices are $1,099,99, $1,699.99, $2,199.99, and $2,799.99, respectively.

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