Sharp Debuts Monolithic Mega TV
In this world of increasingly small screens, is bigger still better? Sharp is betting that it is. "Extremely large screens are still valuable as a focal point and a gathering point. Just because we all have our own iPhones and iPads doesn't mean we don't want to be watching something on one screen together," said Avi Greengart, research director with Current Analysis.
Sharp introduced its new 90-inch Aquos LED TV on Tuesday -- what it's calling "the largest TV on the planet." At 4-ft. tall and 6-ft., 8-in. wide, it's sure to dominate the room -- and this week, at least, the consumer electronics conversation.
In addition to being large, the TV also delivers a high-quality consumer experience, according to the company, with "stunning" picture quality. Content is displayed at 1080p, the highest resolution available.
The TV has a suggested retail price of US$10,999.99. It's fairly light, considering its size, weighing only 141 pounds without the stand. It's 5-in. deep, making it compatible with a sturdy wall mount, and it's also relatively efficient, using less energy than two 75-watt light bulbs.
The Aquos is a full HD active 3DTV, with two 3D glasses included. It also features AquoMotion 240, which makes fast-action motion appear seamless. The TV has built-in connectivity, offering users direct access to services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as Aquos Advantage Live, a free service that puts users in touch with customer support representatives via the Internet.
In this era of ever-smaller screens on laptops, tablets and smartphones, is a very large screen still marketable?
"When you're buying something of this size, it's intended to be a gathering point for family and friends," said Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices with Current Analysis.
"Extremely large screens are still valuable as a focal point and a gathering point. Just because we all have our own iPhones and iPads doesn't mean we don't want to be watching something on one screen together," he told TechNewsWorld.
"Even though we're using these really small screens on mobile devices and tablets, it has not reduced the number of hours of television watching," observed Dave Pedigo senior director of technology with the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association.
"There are lots of people that are buying big-screen TVs, and the mobile market smaller screens have not affected that," Pedigo told TechNewsWorld.
The market for large TVs is likely to remain strong, said David Watkins, a research consultant with Futuresource.
"Futuresource predicts that large screen -- 60-inch-plus -- TVs will grow from just 3 percent of overall TV sales in the USA in 2011 to 9 percent by 2016, and so we strongly believe that there will be a significant market for extra-large TVs moving forwards," Watkins told TechNewsWorld.
"The TV is still at the heart of most consumers' home entertainment set-up, and while the second set market may be impacted by portable devices such as tablets, we believe that consumers will continue to be attracted by larger sets for their primary TV."
Sharp's Aquos TV will probably appeal primarily to consumers creating a home theater set-up in their homes, complete with surround-sound and special seating.
"Anyone who is going to install this television and then not use a surround sound system is really missing out on a large part of the viewing experience," said Greengart.
This TV might be just what Sharp needs to bolster its image and market share.
"Sharp has struggled, but the fact that they're getting so much press for this television should help," added Greengart. "One would hope that it would raise awareness and help with sales."
A 90-in. TV might be pushing the limits, but can those limits be pushed even further?
"This is beyond the outer limit," said Greengart. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a house with a wall large enough for a 90-inch TV, without a window it's going to block. This isn't aimed at the average consumer. Fifty- and 60-inch TVs are plenty large. There's always someone who wants something bigger."
On the other hand, TVs could continue to get larger.
"This is not the limit for displays," said Pedigo. "Displays will continue to get larger. Eventually an entire wall could be a display. You could have multiple things going on at one time. It could look like a nature scene, or display an incoming call. At some point, you'll have entire walls that are completely video."