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Ceatec: Japan tech show gets Sharp

Monster, monster — flat TVs get bigger

In Japan, the phrase 'liquid crystal means Sharp' is a well-known advertising slogan. At technology show Ceatec Japan 2001, the company was determined to prove it’s true.

The handful of new products Sharp displayed at Ceatec included the largest LCD television screen yet produced.

For most Japanese consumer electronics products 'smaller is better' is the golden rule, but with TVs 'bigger is better', said Sharp audiovisual business spokesman Akihiro Munatoshi.

Sharp added to its Aquos line of LCD TVs with 30in and 22in widescreen LCD panels. The 30in model comes with or without a digital satellite tuner. The satellite tuner version measures 1mx95x497mm and weighs 20.9kg including a table stand. The other set is a little thinner and lighter.

An exact date for a launch outside Japan has yet to be announced but consumers should expect to pay around £4-5,000 for the 30in Aquos.

A selection of entertainment peripherals was also unveiled. Sharp’s DVD 1-Bit Theater System combines a DVD player, audio amplifier and five surround sound speakers. The 1bit technology provides a more faithful digitisation of audio than existing systems so sounds are more realistic, accurate and closer to the original analogue sound, said Tohru Hayase, a manager of audio system division of Sharp.

Sharp’s long-promised consumer plasma display panel TV prototypes were also debuted. Unlike most of its domestic competitors, Sharp has been concentrating on LCD-based TV sets rather than PDP (plasma display panel) models, which are generally more expensive. The 43in and 50in prototypes on display at Ceatec included a digital satellite broadcasting tuner and were capable of displaying high-definition TV.

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