June 19, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
When a company like Sharp, which has recently been building its TV reputation around big and bigger LED TVs, sends out press invite promising something really big, you know it’s going to be another big TV. When that event comes a week after the same company debuted a big (90-inches) commercial LED monitor at InfoComm (a trade show for commercial A/V installers), you pretty much know you’re going to see a 90-inch LED TV.
Yesterday Sharp didn’t disappoint, though I have to admit I was hoping for something a little more surprising—maybe eyelid control so it automatically shuts off when I fall asleep. But I’ll give them credit anyway. This TV is something awesome to sit in front of.
If you’re wondering whether you can fit it in your room, consider that it’s 80-inches wide and about 141 pounds. As a comparison, in 2007 Sharp launched a 108-inch LCD (CCFL) TV that weighted 500 pounds and cost about $100,000. This new 90-inch TV will sell for a comparatively cheap $10,999.
The new TV (model LC-90LE745U) was conceived in part due to Sharp’s success with other big TVs. Sharp’s 80-inch TVs have exceeded demand. The company’s line of 70-inch TVs are selling at 3X the rate this year over last year. One of the company’s 60-inch TVs in the 6-series is the #1 dollar selling TV in the past three months, said Sharp’s Jim Sandusky. Except for Mitsubishi (which offers 92-inch rear projection TVs), the major TV makers top out at around 65-inch models, even though Sharp noted that big TVs are a significant 17 percent of the market. (LG showed an 84-inch 4K TV at CES, but we really don’t know when or if it will ship.)
Check out this home theater featuring 3 Sharp 70-inch TVs.
Senior product manager Tony Favia said that at this size, it’s makes for a compelling product for people who want an impressive screen, but don’t want a two-piece projection system. It’s about the size of three 55-inch TVs.
This 1080p resolution unit uses 500 LEDs in a full-array backlit system, though it does not include local dimming or Sharp’s QUATRON technology, which the company said would take more time and cost more to produce.
It includes an assortment of smart TV features including Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Skype and Aquos Advantage Live. Wi-Fi is built in.
It’s also an active 3D TV and includes two pairs of IR controlled active glasses.
Favia noted that Sharp is capable of building LED LCD TVs even bigger, but wouldn’t comment on whether that was in the plan, or if Sharp would release a 90-inch version in its Elite brand.
Despite its size, Sharp say’s it’s a pretty energy efficient model and will cost only about $28/year to operate (at 5 hours a day).
Oh, and don’t think you can shop around online to find the cheapest deal on this monster. The 90-inch TV will not be available online, even from brick and mortar dealers who have an e-commerce site, and it will be subject to a new unilateral pricing policy which means everyone pays the same.
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 audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.