Sharp: HD, Ultra HD, and Something In Between

Sharp has big plans in the works for HDTV and UHDTV. According to the company’s presentation at CES, they’ve placed more 60-inch-plus HDTVs in homes over the last 3 years than any other maker. And they plan to keep the emphasis on big going forward in their 2014 Ultra HDTV and HDTV models, along with a new product category that the company calls Quattron+ (more on that in a bit).

First let’s get to the UHDTVs. Sharp’s 2014 Aquos Ultra HD 4K Series consists of sets with 60- and 70-inch screens priced from $5,000 - $6,000. This series uses a 120 Hz panel with Sharp’s AquoMotion 240 feature and is THX 4K Certified. Other features inlcude the company’s new SmartCentral 3 Smart TV platform with Miracast streaming, active 3D (2 pairs of Bluetooth glasses included), and four HDMI 2.0 inputs. Sharp also said it would announce additional UHDTV screen sizes later in 2014.

Sharp’s 2014 HDTV lineup consists of Aquos HD models in 60, 70, 80, and 90-inch screen sizes ($1,300 - $9,000) and Aquos HD with Quattron models with 60- and 70-inch screens ($1,700 - $2,700). The main differences between the two are that the HD models use 120 Hz panels, while the HD with Quattrons bump things up to 240 Hz. The latter series also has the extra yellow subpixels that Sharp says brings “one billion extra shades of color” to the image.

The big Sharp story here from a news standpoint, however, is the company’s new AQUOS Quattron+ TVs, which will be available in 60- 70-, and 80-inch screen sizes. These incorporate the company’s Revelation tech, which divides each subpixel in the display to create 10-million additional subpixels. That’s not Ultra HD, but it’s significantly more resolution than what you get from regular HD models. Quattron+ TVs are also future-ready— unlike regular HDTVs, they can play native 4K content. Priced in the $2,300 - $3,100 range, they will provide an affordable alternative to UHDTVs (though if 2014 is anything like 2013, prices for those sets will drop fast). There are two lines: SQ (60- and 70 inches) with a 240 Hz panel, 3D, and Bluetooth connectivity, and UQ (60-, 70-, and 80-inches) which adds THX Certification to the features list.

According to Sharp, all of its new Aquos HD, Quattron, and Quattron+ TVs will be available “in a matter of weeks,” while the Ultra HD 4K Series models will arrive this summer.

Sharp also dropped the news that it will have an 8K-rez set in its booth displaying glasses-free 3D, a future technology demo it produced in partnership with Philips and Dolby.

One last bit of news: The Sharp Universal (Blu-ray/SACD) player that we reported on in our CEDIA trade show coverage will be available in late spring. This model uses the WiSA standard to deliver up to 7.1 channels of lossless 96/24 audio to compatible wireless speakers.