Viewmongous LCD HDTV

Sharp is finally ready to begin selling - in Japan, at first, and then in the U.S. later in the year - the LC-65GE1, a jumbo 65V-inch1 LCD flat-panel HDTV, touted by Sharp as "the world's largest LCD model". The new giant HDTV uses a full-spec high-definition low reflection Advanced Super View LCD panel with 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (1080i). Sharp says that high-speed full-motion video artifacts are significantly reduced as a result of Sharp's QS (Quick Shoot) technology. In the new model, crimson has been added to the standard red, green, and blue backlighting in order to recreate previously unreproduceable colors such as "the deep red of aged wine". (No mention was made of the set's ability to accurately reproduce the color of the $3.99 bottle of cheap rose I bought last week, but I guess that's to be expected.) The TV's audio package includes Sharp's 1-Bit Digital Amplifier and bottom-mounted High-Aperture Speaker System.

A few of the important specs and features found in the LC-GE1 are as follows:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 800:1 contrast ratio - when viewed from in front of the screen (with eyes fully open)
  • 170-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles2
  • 450 cd/m2 brightness
  • Brightness Sensor - monitors the brightness of the viewing environment and automatically optimizes the level of the backlight in the set (your disco ball on the ceiling is going to have to go...)
  • Low-power-consumption LCD panel
  • 60,000 estimated service life3 of LCD backlight
  • No-Signal Auto Power Off and No-Action Auto Power Off functions reduce unnecessary power consumption
  • Picture Off allows the user to manually turn off the picture but still listen to the audio

Inputs include HDMI and DVI jacks, a built-in high-speed 56kbps modem, an Ethernet port, two i.LINK jacks, and an optical digital audio out. The LC-65GE1 also provides a center-speaker input jack, which allows the speakers in the panel to be used as the center channel of a multi-channel surround sound system.

Sharp expects the record-shattering 65-inch LCD HDTV to be available in Japan during the beginning of August, 2005. The initial monthly production will be a scant 300 units. The LC-65GE1 is expected to cost a significantly well-off Japanese person about 1,680,000 yen. For anyone living in the US who has a yen for it and can't wait until the end of the year, the LC-65GE1 - at current exchange rates (subject to change without notice) - will set you back around $15,000 (before shipping to the continental US, import taxes, long distance phone calls, and instruction manual translation services).

And worth every penny.

1According to Sharp, a V-inch "is a measure of the true size of the flat TV screen, standardizing on the length of the diagonal dimension of the actual viewing area." And you thought the "V" stood for "Viewmongous".

2For those who don't know this delicious little tidbit regarding specifications, the maximum limit of the viewing angle is determined by the point at which the contrast ratio drops below 10:1.

3"Service life" is a measure of time until the screen brightness declines by half under continuous viewing in a room at 77 degrees (F) with screen brightness set in Normal mode.