In June, Hisense announced it had licensed the Sharp brand name for use in the U.S. Many wondered what this would mean for the longstanding brand, but seeing its latest lineup that utilizes both Sharp and Hisense technology, including quantum dot technology, it doesn’t seem that we have to worry about the integrity of the brand name declining.
“The Sharp brand has long been esteemed in the TV industry for pioneering sophisticated picture technologies and creating the big screen category,” Sharp’s Mary O’Neill said in a statement. “2016 will be no different, with unique viewing features coupled with paramount quality, immense screen sizes and high value.”
For the first time in a Sharp TV, the 4K flagship Aquos N9000 line will feature SPECTROS quantum dot technology, high dynamic range (HDR), and a curved panel. The N9000 line supports both the VP9 and HEVC codec, so compatibility with existing streaming 4K content will be very good, and likely future-proof. With more local dimming zones than ever before, the line will feature enhanced brightness and contrast, with deep blacks.
Sharp says that the use of quantum dot allows it to achieve 91 percent of the Rec.2020 color space, which should make for brilliant, vivid color. With built-in support for Netflix, Amazon Video, and more, finding 4K content shouldn’t be a problem. Available in either a 65-inch curved model or 70-inch flat model, the N9000 series will be shipping in mid-2016. The 70-inch LC-70N9100U model will retail for $3,300 while the curved LC-70N9000U will sell for $3,000.
Aquos N8000 & N7000
For those willing to forgo quantum dot, the N8000 and N7000 lines offer sizes just as large or larger than the N9000 line at a lower price. Both lines are HDR enabled and feature the same AquoMotion and AquoDimming as the N9000 line, though the N8000 line features full array local dimming while the N7000 line only features multi-zone local dimming. Both models also feature 2×2 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and the same smart TV functionality as the N9000 line.
The N8000 line is available in 75-inch and 70-inch models selling for $3,000 and $2,300 respectively, while the N7000 line runs as high as $2,000 for the 70-inch LC-70N7100U down to $500 for the 43-inch LC-43N7000U.
Sharp calls the remaining models the “core 2016” lineup, and this will likely represent some of the best-selling models. The company says the N6000 line offers “entry-level 4K and smart capabilities,” but the price is much more affordable than the above models. What this line lacks compared to the above models is local dimming, so black levels won’t be as good, but HDR is still supported, as is AquoMotion.
In terms of bells and whistles, the UHD upscaler and built-in apps of the pricier models are still included, as is the dual-band Wi-Fi. The N6000 line is available in 55-inch, 50-inch, and 43-inch sizes, which sell for $750, $600, and $450 respectively.
Aquos N5000, N4000, & N3000
Offering even lower price points as a trade-off for swapping out 4K, the N5000 line offers the widest range of sizes, starting at the 65-inch LC-65N5200U, which sells for $1000, all the way down to the 40-inch LC-43N5000U, which sells for $350. While the built-in apps and AquoMotion remain, the Wi-Fi isn’t quite as nice, and you’ll be missing the niceties that come along with 4K in addition to the lower resolution.
The N4000 line represents Sharp’s new line of Roku TVs. The line features over 3,000 streaming channels and is available in four different sizes from 55-inch to 32-inch. The top-of-the-line LC-55N4000U sells for $600 while the cheapest model sells for $250.
Finally, the N3000 line is what Sharp refers to as “feature TVs,” meaning they lack smart features but do feature a built-in USB media player, MHL, and Audio Return Channel (ARC). There are three models in 50-inch, 40-inch, and 32-inch sizes selling from $450 to $190.
What the future holds for the Sharp name remains to be seen, but if this lineup is any indication, it seems that the products remain worthy of the name.