Sharp demoed what it claims to be the world's first 80-inch 3D LED TV at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The full HD screen of the LC-80LE844U has more than twice the screen area of a 55-inch TV and features Sharp's Quattron technology for better 3D images, plus LED backlighting and 240Hz to decrease blur during fast-moving video.
The 80-inch set has built-in Wi-Fi and features Sharps's smart TV interface, SmartCentral, which has apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, and YouTube. The interface also allows for up to four family members to set up customized preferences and a free app will allow users to send photos, music and videos wirelessly from iOS and Android phones and tablets.
We'll have to wait for a hands-on demo to see whether Sharp's new-and-improved SmartCentral Internet-connected features can hang with those from LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Vizio, and the other HDTV big boys.
As Big As It Gets
Sharp was all about big TVs at its CES presentation, where it also announced more than 20 models of TVs with screens 60-inch or larger, some featuring 3D too. All 60-inch or larger Sharp TVs will feature SmartCentral, while some models will have built-in WiFi and/or feature a slim bezel design.
Most of the other major TV manufacturers stuck to the 40 to 55-inch range, though Vizio did have the popular 65" XVT3D650SV. It looks like Sharp is appealing to value-minded consumers who won't shell out for 3D bells and whistles but don't mind paying extra for a bigger screen.
Sharp also showed off the first 85-inch display with 8K (7680 by 4320 pixels) resolution, which is the equivalent of 16 times the resolution of a regular HDTV. After all, no matter how big you make a 1080p TV, you're still stuck with a limit of 1080 horizontal lines of pixels to work with, and bigger TVs have to spread those lines around a larger surface area than smaller TVs.
Whether Sharp manages to release a super high-res TV this year or not, it's clearly showing more interest in making TVs look bigger and better than in adding better 3D or loads of Internet-connected features. An interesting big-screen idea from Sharp was also an 80-inch interactive whiteboard display with touchscreen capabilities aimed at business users, the PN-L802B.
And Sharp's answer to mobile TV is a range of portable sets ranging from 20 to 60-inch, weighing from only 5 pounds for the smallest model and with the SmartCentral interface.
The 60, 70 and 80-inch TVs from Sharp are set to arrive from April, at $6500 for an 80-inch LC-80LE844U 3D LED set, or $4200 for 70-inch and $3200 for the 60-inch version. The slim bezel models LC-60LE745U and LC-70LE745U arrive from March for $2700 for a 60-inch 3D LED set or $3600 for the 70-inch model.
For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.