Sharp Supersizes LCD HDTV

Further dashing the hopes of all those who long for a return to the days when a really big big-screen TV occupied more space in your living room than a pair of side-by-side refrigerators (and just about as stylish), Sharp recently unveiled a prototype 65-inch diagonal LCD HDTV - giving them, for the moment, possession of the official "World's Largest LCD Color TV" plaque. Prior to Sharp's announcement, the people who get paid to pontificate on such things ("panel pundits") had proclaimed a probable production-size limitation in the mid-forty inches for LCD TV diagonals. (Stunned by seeing proof that such a large screen size was possible, many of these panel pundits quickly switched to politics or weather forecasting, neither of which require much accuracy or accountability.)

The newly developed full-spec High Definition 65-inch set uses a TFT (thin film transistor) active matrix panel with 6.22 million dots (1,920 x 1,080 x RGB). It was manufactured in Sharp's Kameyama Plant which opened in January of 2004 and does start-to-finish manufacturing of LCD TVs from panel fabrication all the way to final TV assembly.

In September, Sharp announced production of their latest 45-inch diagonal LCD HDTV, the LC-45GX6U. The Digital Cable Ready set is "the first one to deliver a 1080p (progressive) image, the pinnacle of the high definition TV standards", according to Sharp. Demand for Sharp's larger screen size flat-panel sets has them considering the release of flat-panel LCD TVs with 50-inches and larger diagonals for 2005. Although no pricing has been specified, Sharp's intention is to be able to price these giant LCD HDTVs competitively with an equivalent-size plasma HDTV.

According to the research firm, IDC, sales of flat-panel TVs (LCD and plasma) accounted for a meager 0.5% of the total worldwide market for televisions in 2000. But the drop in price points for plasma and LCD, as well as the increasing range of screen sizes, will help flat-panel sets account for as much as 27% of the global market in less than three years from now. Sharp alone has seen a 90% increase in its LCD TV sales in the last six months. All of which just goes to show that although the world may be tiring of the Adkins Diet, we still want our TVs to be slim and trim.