Sharp sees the worldwide market for LCD flat panel televisions growing rapidly in the next year, despite a slower economy in the US, and it's ready to meet the demand. While it has a number of new models, the ones that caught my eye were the Aquos Limited Edition designs. Available in October at prices yet to be announced, these sets will be available in two sizes: 52" (the LC-52XS1U-S) and 65"(the LC-65XS1U-S).
The big story in the Limited Edition sets is LED backlighting with local dimming--a feature that can produce dramatic improvements in contrast ratio . A Dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 is claimed. This high a contrast ratio is essentially unmeasurable (a set with local dimming can turn the backlight LEDs off completely with a full black image), and the result can be impressive if our previous experience with local dimming is any indication.
These flagship sets also include Sharp's latest 10-bit Advanced Super View Panel, and of course 120Hz operation for minimum motion blur. Also claimed a color gamut 150% that of the NTSC gamut. )To which our usual reaction is, simply, why, when all that does is to hype and distort the colors in the source?
These sets are also very thin (1" at the their thinnest, though thicker in some areas), use a separate AV set-top box for the inputs, and their speakers were developed in cooperation with Pioneer.
Sharp also announced two new BD Players, the BD-HP21 and the BD-HP50. While both players are Profile 1.1 (Bonus View) and not 2.0 (BD Live), at their announced prices we can't complain too much: $349.99 for the BD-HP21 and $499.99 for the BD-HP50U.