Sharp's the latest manufacturer to stake a claim in the 4K TV market, with its first ultra high definition model set to go on sale in Japan in February.
The 60in LC60HQ10 model, which uses a new Integrated Cognitive Creation technology to enhance image quality, will launch the company's upmarket Purios range, and is also the world's first THX-certified 4K TV.
Built to order
Selling for Y2.62m, or just under £20,000, the TVs will be built to order at a Sharp plant in Japan, using LED-lit panels from the company's Kameyama No 2 LCD factory, and will take around five weeks from order to delivery.
The 3840x2160-pixel panel claims a contrast ratio of 1:7,000,000, and has a 176 degree viewing angle.
The ICC Purios line will slot in above Sharp's mainstream Aquos range, and will use the new ICC chip developed by I-cubed Research Center, the company headed by former Sony engineer Tetsujiro Kondo.
As well as the image processing, which draws on research into human perception, the set has been designed with improved audio capability.
The design combines silk-dome tweeters with a 'DuoBass' system to cancel out unwanted vibrations, and has audio tuning by Japanese recording engineer Eiji Uchinuma (left) of Mixer's Lab.
Sharp's Koichi Mitani, who leads the company's development team for digital information devices, explains that the new model will target home cinema enthusiasts: 'We have thoroughly pursued the image quality and expression with this product.
'By responding to those who are particular about image quality, we hope to contribute to the development of the LCD market.'
The new set sees Sharp taking one of the established routes for consumer electronics companies struggling to make money in the TV business: it's aiming for the premium market.
That opens up an intriguing prospect: after all, the troubled company, which has seen its share price plummet this year and then recover slightly, has an on/off relationship with giant manufacturer Hon Hai/Foxconn, which makes products for Apple.
And if rumours are true, the Sharp/HonHai joint TV panel manufacturing facility in Japan is working on prototypes for Apple's long-talked-about move into the television market. 4K iTV, anyone?
At the moment there's no news on sales beyond Japan for the LC60HQ10, but the new Sharp set will go head to head with models already announced, such as the LG 84LM960V, Sony's KD-84X9005 and the Toshiba 55ZL2.
Written by Andrew Everard
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