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Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Sharp to Offer Full HD to Flat TVs

Sharp said it intends to equip all its large LCD TVs with full HD resolution.

Resolution for digital HDTV broadcasting is defined as 1,080-by-1,920 pixels, but conventional HDTVs usually have only 768-by-1,366 resolution. "When TV screens grow over 40-inch size, a full HD specification is essential," said Takashi Okukda, corporate director and group general manager for Sharp's Audio-Video Systems Group.

Sharp announced it will add 37-inch and 57-inch LCD TVs to its full HD lineup. The 57-inch model features a new type of backlight for better picture quality.

The shift to full HD resolution has started among flat TV competitors. Matsushita will begin marketing in Japan a full HD 65-inch plasma display TV in November. Sony will also offer two full HD models as its high-end LCD TV models in November.

Sharp's LCD TVs with full HD resolution account for about 60 percent of its large LCD TV business. The company intends to equip all its large LCD TVs with full HD resolution by September 2006, according to Okuda.

With the full HDTV introductions, Sharp now offers five sizes ranging from 37 inches to 65 inches. Sharp intends to add a new 57-inch model by February in the U.S.

The new 57-inch model features a hybrid backlight with red LEDs and a cold cathode fluorescent lamp. The use of LEDs for backlight illumination is emerging as the next-generation backlight, but a full LED backlight is still unavailable in terms of cost and power consumption, said Nichiharu Nishihara, division deputy general manager for Sharp's LCD digital systems division.

"Full LED backlight is technically possible even now, but I personally think that it will come into products widely in two to three years," said Nishihara.

With the use of red LEDs, backlight costs for 57-inch TVs increased by about 30 percent while power consumption increased by about 50 W, according to Nishihara.

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