Sharp to sell 80-inch LCD TV, Japan's largest retail set, for US$12,000

The Japanese manufacturer says its manufacturing gives it a price advantage for large sets

Sharp said Wednesday it will sell an 80-inch LCD TV in Japan, the largest such set available through retail in the country.

The Japanese electronics manufacturer said the new addition to its Aquos line will cost ¥950,000 (US$12,000). It will go on sale in June as part of a new lineup of six sets, the smallest of which is 40 inches in size.

(Watch video of the set's unveiling.)

While Sharp already sells such sets in foreign markets such as the U.S., it is a bold move in Japan, where homes are far smaller. Shinsuke Yamamoto, a manager in the company's audio-visual division, said selling larger sets is a strategic move for the company, which has faced large losses as retail prices of smaller sets have plunged. Sharp operates a massive factory in central Japan that is optimized for producing components for large screens, a rarity for modern manufacturers.

"This gives us a cost advantage compared to other companies when it comes to 70 and 80-inch panels, which is also true for televisions," he said.

Sharp's new TVs have an upgraded user interface that includes new Internet-enabled content, including a feature that ranks shows by popularity on its sets nationwide, obtaining the information from consenting viewers. The company is also developing a new remote control app for Android phones, which shows Twitter entries related to shows in real time and allows users to add their own messages.

Sharp said its new LCD TVs have dual-core processors so they can process images on a per-pixel basis, as opposed to dividing the screen into regions as earlier sets did.

The company has previously showed larger TVs at trade shows and other demonstrations, including a 108-inch model that it now sells as a retail display.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

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