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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Sharp to Market Three 20-inch TFT-LCD TVs
  • February 26, 1999 (TOKYO) — Sharp Corp. unveiled three new television models with 20-inch thin-film transistor liquid-crystal display panels.
    According to Sharp, these models will be the first 20-inch TFT-LCD TVs targeted at ordinary household users to be put on sale in Japan.

    The three models are the LC-20V1, the standard model with built-in speakers; the LC-20V2, which has speakers on each side of the screen; and the LC-20V3, which is fitted with a special panel to improve the outward appearance of the unit if viewed from behind.

    Magohiro Aramoto, a Sharp senior executive vice president who oversees the company’s production of household electrical products, said that the introduction of the new 20-inch models should boost the number of LCD TV buyers. He admitted that it has been difficult for the smaller 15-inch and 12.1-inch models that the company has already launched to gain acceptance in the marketplace.

    Aramoto said that although the new models will be priced rather expensively at 350,000 yen (US$2,880) and upwards, in the future Sharp aims to reduce the cost of its LCD TVs to make them available for something around 10,000 yen per inch of screen size.

    He also said that the current monthly production of 3,000 units will quickly rise to 10,000 units. He also touched on Sharp’s future product strategy, saying that by the year 2005 the company plans for all its TVs intended for ordinary household use to be LCD types.

    Aramoto also talked about Sharp’s plans for product development, saying that the company will work to develop and manufacture TFT-LCD TVs up to a 32-inch screen size, but that in order to be able to produce models with even larger screens it will probably be necessary to make use of plasma-addressed liquid crystal (PALC) technology.

    A special feature of the three new models is that their outward appearance can be customized to better suit their environment. For example, special colored speaker covers (in red, green and yellow) will be sold separately for the LC-20V2 model.

    It will be possible for buyers of the standard LC-20V1 model to change the look of their TV. They will be able to buy special panels (in wood effect, crystal, etc.) which they can attach to the back of the TV in order to spruce up its appearance. Other options for the TVs, such as brackets for mounting them on walls and a special stand fitted with casters that can be used to push them around from room to room, will also be made available from March onwards.

    The basic technical specifications of the three models are identical. The size of the LCD panel itself is 298.8mm high x 401.3mm wide, meaning that the screen size is equivalent to that of a 21-inch ordinary Braun tube-type TV. The total number of pixels in the panel is 921,600. If used for 10 hours every day, the panel should last for around 10 years. Power consumption for the TVs is 58W (61W for the LC-20V2 model).

    There are sound/video input jacks for both S-video and DVD, along with an audio output headphone jack. However, there are no jacks for hooking the TV up to a PC.

    The LC-20V1 model measures 460mm wide x 180mm thick x 435mm high and weighs approximately 6.2kg.

    The standard LC-20V1 model will go on sale priced at 350,000 yen, with the other two models costing slightly more at 370,000 yen each.

    Shipments of the LC-20V1 will be launched March 15, to be followed by shipments of the LC-20V2 and LC-20V3 models on March 25 and April 22, respectively. Sharp’s target for all three models combined is to sell in excess of 3,000 units per month.

    Related story: Sharp to Introduce Large Rear-Projection TV in Mid 1999

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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