CES 2014 - First look at the new TV line-up from Sharp
It's business as usual at the Sharp stand with big screen sizes and even bigger resolutions
Sharp might not be the force they once were in terms of television manufacture but they have made a successful niche for themselves producing larger screen sizes.
This has been especially true in the US where the average home is larger and can thus can more easily accommodate screen sizes up to 90 inches. Sharp are still concentrating on this particular market and had their latest Full HD LED LCD TVs on show. They were keen to stress that there are four key elements to their product range - design, size, smart and picture quality.
In terms of the first of those elements, the TVs have had something of a makeover and whilst not dissimilar from last year, they are quite attractive. As far as size is concerned Sharp certainly have this covered, with 60, 70, 80 and 90 inch screens on offer. In terms of Smart TV, Sharp’s platform isn’t as comprehensive as much of the competition but the manufacturer has concentrated on delivering the key areas well.
Sharp continue to specialise in large screen sizes up to 90 inches.
For the last element of picture quality, Sharp has been developing their new 'Revelation' technology that is designed to improve the perceived sharpness of a 1920 x 1080 panel. This technology uses 2.5 times as many sub-pixels to deliver a high definition image that appears to have a greater level of detail. The images certainly appeared sharper in the side-by-side demonstrations on the Sharp stand but the pictures being used were all fairly static so it was impossible to tell if the technology introduces unwanted artefacts with motion. When we looked at the image closely the added level of sharpness did appear to give the image a slightly artificial and processed look. Despite having 1920 x 1080 panels, these new TVs can accept a 4K input, which is down scaled to match the native resolution.
Sharp's new Ultra HD TV includes Dolby Vision and enhanced local dimming.
Sharp also had their new Ultra HD TVs on display and we were glad to see that they had resisted the temptation to add any curves - in fact the entire Sharp line-up is resolutely flat. Sharp’s 70” Ultra HD TV can accept 4K content at 60Hz and includes Dolby Vision and enhanced local dimming. There was a side-by-side demo of Sharp’s new Ultra HD TV and one of their Full HD TVs, with both showing a Blu-ray clip from Star Trek into Darkness. Interestingly we actually preferred the Full HD image which had better blacks and a more pleasing image. There wasn't any difference in the perceived level of detail between the native high definition panel and the upscaled Ultra HD image but there appeared to be more artefacts in the upscaled version. It was difficult to compare the motion handling because both TVs had their frame interpolation on.
There was an 8K TV of course but this time with rather impressive glasses free 3D.
Of course this being the Sharp stand there was bound to be an 8K panel of some kind and for the third year in a row Sharp were showing the potential of Quad Ultra HD, this time on an 85-inch panel. However, this year they had a surprise up their sleeve as the 8K TV also included glasses-free 3D that has been developed in conjunction with Dolby and Philips. For the first time ever we saw a glasses free 3D that actually worked and thanks to the 8K panel, the 3D was also much higher resolution. There were multiple angles from which the 3D could be viewed and two bars at the bottom of the frame that line up when you're standing in the best place. We stood in the sweet spot and the 3D was very natural and comfortable to look at, with plenty of depth and pop out effects. Of course since the public's interest in 3D is on the decline, it's hard to see who would actually be interested in such a TV, especially as the 8K panel would make it prohibitively expensive. But then that's the fun of CES, getting to see products and technology that are years away or may never be launched at all.
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