Sharp unveils its first 4K Ultra HD TVs for the US market

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At Sharp’s CES press conference this morning, the company announced that it plans to bring not just one, but two Ultra HD TVs to the US this year. The company hopes its Ultra Aquos HD and ICC Purios will once again ignite interest in television; what’s quickly becoming the most lethargic and commodified segment of the electronics industry.

The TV is capable of upconverting 1080p content to 4K resolution

The 60-inch ICC Purios set merges one of the company’s Ultra HD LCD panels with I-cubed Research Center’s integrated cognitive creation (ICC) image processor in order to create a more lifelike image, mimicing a 3D feel without actually displaying a stereoscopic image. It's also notable that this isn't the first Ultra HD TV on the market, it will be the first with THX certification, which Sharp says is an affirmation of its ability to accurately reproduce 4K content. The company’s VP of Brand Marketing, Mark Viken, also tells us that the TV is capable of upconverting 1080p footage to 4K resolution, which would make the idea of owning a 4K set a little more attractive to customers, despite the dearth of 4K content. Sharp says that the TV will be available in Summer of 2013, and while the company couldn’t give us any firm details on pricing, Viken says that it will be in the neighborhood of the $31,000 sticker on Sharp’s Japanese set.

Sharp’s second 4K TV, the Aquos Ultra HD set, skips the fancy image processing, but takes advantage of Sharp’s anti-reflective Moth Eye panel design, which uses tiny irregularities in the panel’s surface to reduce reflections and boost contrast. The TV is getting a similar 2H 2012 release window, but pricing is still an open question.

The new TVs weren’t the only products to get some shine on stage today — Sharp’s President Takashi Okuda took the stage briefly to talk about the company’s upcoming IGZO-based 32-inch 4K monitor and SH–02E cellphone for the Japanese market. The low-power transistor technology is still very new on the market and isn’t yet cost-efficient to produce at the large sizes needed for living room sets, but with Sharp’s focus on the premium end of the market (it’s launching 21 TVs over 60 inches this year), we can only assume that it’s headed in that direction. In the meantime, the ICC Purios set look great from a few feet away, but before you drop that few thousand dollars on your pre-order, you might want to wait until we can get a closer look on the show floor and give you some more detailed impressions.

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