Sharp to sell 65-inch LCD TVs internationally this year

Sharp will begin selling HD (high-definition) TVs with 65-inch LCD screens internationally before the end of the year, the company said at a news conference Friday. They are the biggest-screen LCD TVs yet announced, according to Sharp.

Its LC-65GE1 Aquos TV measures 65 inches across the diagonal and can display an HD picture with 1,920 pixels by 1,080 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 said.

It will go on sale in Japan from Aug.1 with a suggested retail price of YEN 1,680,000 (AUD$20,660). Pricing and availability for international markets haven't been decided yet, said Takashi Okuda, corporate director of Sharp's audio-visual systems group.

On top of their size and price, the 65-inch TVs will not be easy to come by. Sharp will make about 300 units per month for the domestic market and between 1,000 and 2,000 per month for the international market, Okuda said.

The largest LCD TV on sale currently is a 46-inch model by Samsung Electronics.

In 2005, sales of LCD TVs will overtake those of CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs in Japan for the first time, Okuda said, quoting Sharp's internal estimates. The company wants to capitalize on the boom by expanding its lineup and selling more models with bigger screens, he said. Most LCD TVs sold by Sharp are in the 30-inch range, Okuda said.

Sharp also announced seven LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs that will go sale in Japan in July and August, and said 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 the year. They include a 45-inch HD TV with a suggested retail price of YEN 693,000 that will go on sale in Japan Aug. 10.

Accompanying this are 37-inch and 32-inch models, together with one 26-inch and one 22-inch model. None of these models have 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels of resolution. The 45-inch and the smaller models will go on sale internationally before April, the company said. Overseas prices were not disclosed.

All the new models announced Friday use a new backlight technology that allows the TVs to show more natural shades of red, according to Sharp.

Sharp was the biggest shipper of LCD TVs of all sizes last year, with a quarter of the global market and a 41 percent share of the Japanese market, according to U.S. market research firm DisplaySearch.

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Paul Kallender

IDG News Service
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