Sharp AQUOS Performance TV Brand To Return To The U.S. With An `XLED’ Bang
They’re baaaa-ck! The Sharp AQUOS TV brand, now under the control of Sharp Corp. once again after seven years in licensing captivity, officially announced its re-entry into the U.S. TV category with an ambitious “tier one” performance line of 4K Mini-LED quantum dot televisions it calls XLED, and the world’s first 4K OLED Roku TV.
The crown jewel of the premium Sharp AQUOS “XLED” line is a mammoth 120-inch build-to-order model, which the company is still considering if or how to bring to market here. Trust us, if you have to ask how much you probably can’t afford it.
The other soon-to-ship models on display in the company’s CES 2023 showroom are already on the market in Sharp Corp.’s native Japan, using LCD panels made in Sharp’s remaining LCD panel production facilities there. Sharp Corp., which is now majority controlled by Taiwan’s major OEM/ODM producer Foxconn, also has a new 10.5-Gen LCD panel fab in China and assembly factories around the world to churn out plenty of XLED TVs for the company’s global launch aspirations.
Also part of this Sharp AQUOS top-tier line will be the first 4K OLED Roku TV, developed under Roku’s just announced OLED TV development program. This will bring Roku’s popular and easy- to setup and-use, smart TV platform to the advanced self-emitting display technology for the first time. The series will use OLED panels from LG Display.
All of the XLED Mini-LED models will incorporate the latest Google TV smart OS platform and extensive streaming media library
Sharp USA sales and marketing executives Jim Sanduski and Peter Weedfald told HDGURU.COM that customer consensus indicated the best opportunity to resurrect the Sharp TV brand here was to address the market with premium display products ready to compete against top-level-brands like Samsung, LG and Sony.
These Sharp AQUOS model lines will be sold selectively to retailers who can tell the company’s technology story to high-level customers that can appreciate Sharp’s vaunted TV history and afford the expected AQUOS premium price points that should still represent a value against comparable models from competitors.
For those looking for more mainstream value, Sharp USA will also introduce this year a second tier of 4K Roku TVs with direct-lit LCD TV panels positioned for more mass market distribution. More on that below.
Sharp AQUOS XLED TVs
The brand’s 120Hz native refresh rate XLED panels combine Mini-LED full-array backlighting with a Quantum Dot color enhancement film layer capable of producing bright, high-contrast images that are expected to rival Samsung’s 2022 4K flagship QN95B Neo-QLED series, the company said.
XLED models will have a large number of full-array Mini-LED local dimming zones for greater local black level control capable of reproducing fine shadow detail with minimal haloing on top of deep inky blacks. This will be contrasted with very bright and color-rich HDR specular highlights.
Sanduski compared the look to a brighter OLED TV.
In the U.S., Sharp AQUOS XLED Quantum Dot Mini-LED models will be available in the 65-, 70- and 75-inch screen sizes, with the possibility of an 85-inch to come later. As mentioned, the 120-inch line show piece was demonstrated as more of an aspirational prototype, although one dealer in the showroom when were were there was convinced he had customers who would want it right away, regardless of its build-to-order, made-in-Japan requirements. So stay tuned, if you’re interested.
All of the XLED models incorporate the Google TV smart OS and advanced picture and sound processing systems. The latter rivals the sound of many sound bars.
The 120- and 75-inch models were said to have over 2300 Mini-LED local dimming zones, the 65- and 70-inch models have over 2,000 dimming zones, and all models have very wide viewing angle XLED Mini-LED screens. All XLED models have a full complement of HDMI 2.1 inputs.
The new AQUOS XLED sets also include powerful built-in sound with 85 Watts of power driving 11 speakers positioned to fire forward from the base of the screen and upward from the top rear of the set. This speaker array, in combination with Dolby ATMOS support, produces a full wide sound stage that, from our quick demo, sounded impressively deep, clear and disperse playing either music or theatrical content.
Cosmetically, the XLED models are somewhat different from the competition, with full metal thin bezel frame trim, and centrally positioned pedestal-type stands that offer flexible furniture placement options. The screens in the 65- and 75-inch models are even designed to pivot from side to side to assist in off-angle viewing. The 75-inch model’s pedestal stand is fixed.
Sharp AQUOS 4K OLED Roku TVs
The Sharp AQUOS 4K Roku TV line will be the first OLED models to carry Roku’s smart TV platform that traditionally has been positioned for high-value mainstream LED-LCD TV models as well as premium tier 4K and 8K Mini-LED TVs from brands including TCL and Hisense.
Sharp AQUOS 4K OLED Roku TVs will offer 120Hz refresh rate OLED panels, and four full-spec HDMI 2.1 inputs, including support for ALLM, VRR and AMD FreeSync VRR. The series will include models with 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.
Sharp Brand LED-LCD TVs
In the non-AQUOS Sharp TV line, the company is planning to offer direct-backlit 4K LED LCD TVs in the 50-, 55-,65- and 75-inch screen sizes. Models will include 60 Hz native refresh rate LCD panels, and will feature four HDMI 2.1 inputs. The company is expected to have 32- and 42-inch models, as well.
The Sharp-branded LED-LCD Roku TVs will be offered at a value targeting more general retail distribution open to a wide class of dealers, Sanduski told us.
All of the new models are expected to be available this spring, and pricing will be announced later, Sharp said.
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By Greg Tarr
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