updated 10:20 am EDT, Thu August 28, 2008
Sharp XS1 and IFA 2008
Sharp today opened up its launches for IFA with updates targeted at HD video. The AQUOS XS1 is both the company's thinnest-ever TV at 0.9 inches -- half as much as before -- but is also its most vivid, using LED backlighting to boost the contrast ratio up to 1,000,000:1, besting plasma TVs and rivaling CRTs. The lighting also helps the set reach an extreme color accuracy of 150 percent of the NTSC color gamut, preventing the color banding that has sometimes affected past HDTVs.
Also promised with the XS1 are a fast 100Hz panel (likely 120Hz for North America) and detachable chin-mounted speakers. Sharp is cautious regarding pricing but promises 52- and 65-inch versions of the XS1 for sale "worldwide" in October that are known to include at least Europe.
More mainstream users will have the choice of the AQUOS D65E series, which Sharp says will focus on eco-friendliness. Each display consumes less than one watt of power in standby mode and also uses less power while active through a special ECO mode; contrast ratios vary from 10,000:1 to 20,000:1 depending on the panel. The screens will range in size from 32 to 52 inches and should be available in Europe during October for prices between 899 and 2,299 Euros ($1,329 to $3,399). North American launches haven't been revealed.
Finishing the HDTV-related introductions, the BD-HP21H updates Sharp's Blu-ray player with a Profile 1.1 device capable of picture-in-picture commentary and with a fast start that reduces the boot time versus historically slow Blu-ray players. Its pricing is also unmentioned but should be published before its own October launch. North American details are again unavailable.