January 27, 2011 by Grant Clauser
When Pioneer left the HDTV market in 2009, a large hole was left in its place. While the company continued to remind people that it was, at heart, an audio company, its plasma TVs (in particular it’s Kuro line) had developed a strong reputation as being among the best of the best.
Other companies have tried to step into that spot, notably Panasonic, which acquired a lot of Pioneer’s plasma technology.
Now it looks like Pioneer Elite is back in the TV game with the help of Sharp. Sharp and Pioneer will jointly market Elite-branded LCD TVs, and the products will be available through Pioneer’s Elite dealer network. The TVs were wear only the Elite badge, not Pioneer or Sharp.
This isn’t the first handshaking the two companies have done. In 2009 they entered into a partnership in the optical disc business.
No details were given regarding models, sizes, release dates or specs, but this will be the first time the Elite brand has appear on an LCD TV. Will these TVs use Sharp’s LED Quattron technology? We guess that they will, because the Elite name is synonymous with the latest technology. 3D is also likely, which would mean the TVs would need to be at least 120 Hz, probably better.
This is a good move for Sharp who’s market share in HDTV has slipped in the last few years with the rise of Samsung and Visio. Unfortunately there’s no word of a resurrection of Kuro, but that would likely need to be a plasma TV, and plasma maker Panasonic probably doesn’t have any interest in confusing it’s brand by making a Kuro brand deal.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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