At an open day at its London offices yesterday, Sharp Electronics showed off a bunch of its latest and greatest products, and TrustedReviews was there to see them.
Pride of place was given to the Sharp Aquos range of LCD TVs. While Plasma is still the by-word for large screen flat TV, Sharp has stuck to its guns with its own LCD technology. According to its product managers, its business model is to bring down the price of LCD to compete not just with Plasma but also with CRT. If Sharp does succeed it will be good news as LCD offers several benefits over Plasma, such as not being susceptible to screen burn.
Its sixth generation factory came online earlier this year, and Sharp is starting to reap the benefits. Proving this was its flagship Aquos LCD idTV. Part of its Titanium Series, the LC-45GD1E has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a diagonal viewable area of 45in. Product Marketing Manager, Gavin Lumsdon told me that this is the largest LCD panel to be built around a single panel, claiming that larger 60in screens from the likes of Samsung are actually made up of two panels joined together.
The LC-45GD1E has a built in Freeview tuner and with a native screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 is more than ready for High Definition. This is significant as British homes will be able to enjoy HD content from 2006. Sharp has a High-Def demo running and the detail and clarity of the images really jumps out at you.
Sharp’s Advanced Super View (ASV) screen technology delivers a contrast ratio of 800:1, with a brightness level of 450cd per square metre. Quick Shoot image processing is used for smooth reproduction of fast-moving images such as sport.
To feed the screen, Sharp had a DVD player with a built-in 400GB hard disk. This is a Japan only model and not available in the UK, but was a taster of what is to come, as this level of storage will be necessary to record HDTV content.
In terms of what is currently available, Sharp has the DV-HR350H. This is a DVD-R/RW recorder that sports a 120GB hard disk, joining the DV-RW350H with its 80GB hard disk. On the lowest quality encoding setting the 120GB has enough space for up to 150 hours of TV. There are actually four pre-set recording modes for varying levels of quality and it’s possible to edit recordings before archiving them to DVD. This can be done at 12x normal speed with no quality loss.
The machine reads DVD+R and RW disks as well as DVD-R/RW and can also read MP3 CDs, enabling it to act as a music centre.