updated 10:00 pm EST, Sun January 6, 2008
Sharp AQUOS at CES
Sharp has upgraded its AQUOS sets for CES with a top-to-bottom replacement of most models. The E94U series is Sharp's first connected HDTV line and will pin its hopes on AQUOS Advantage, a new support system: users needing help adjusting the TV or troubleshooting it can pop up a menu that contacts Sharp directly. It also upgrades contrast ratios to a brighter 27,000:1 with a fast 120Hz refresh rate and a thinner backlight. These specs carry across 46-inch ($3,199), 52-inch ($4,199), and 65-inch ($10,999) editions that will start shipping as early as this month for the largest two sets and February for the 46-inch system.
Other systems are more direct updates, Sharp says. The 52-inch D74U shares the AQUOS Advantage link but reduces contrast to 18,000:1 with a more traditional backlight; the existing D64U line gets new 32- and 37-inch models that hit 10,000:1 contrast ratios at 1080p in spite of their small sizes. Launch info for the D74U is unavailable, though the smaller LCDs will be ready in February at $1,299 and $1,599 respectively.
A budget line will offer 720p for those who need neither large sizes nor 1080p resolution: 32- and 37-inch models will provide a 7,500:1 contrast ratio but add a small LCD in the base for time and other quick information. These ship at the same time as the D64U series and will be priced at $999 and $1,299.
(E94U picture available soon)