Sharp have unveiled the largest LED TV ever to go on sale in Europe: the 90-inch Aquos LC-90LE757.
The new screen is so large (7.5 feet across) that owners are advised to sit at least 11.5 feet away to fully appreciate the picture. The TV has been on sale in the US since June 2012 but this is the first time it has been available in Europe.
Whilst in the US bigger homes means that larger TVs can be more easily accommodated, UK homes are rarely able to cope with such screen sizes.
Despite this, research firm GfK estimated that the market for TVs with screens 50 inches or larger accounts for 16% of the sector’s value (despite only representing 6% of units sold) because they are so much more expensive.
The 90-inch Sharp TV will be available from around £12,000 and features three tuners (allowing multiple channels to be watched at the same time), supports 3D broadcasts, and has a ‘wallpaper mode’ where pictures are displayed at a low brightness level.
Sharp explained that they used a technology called Frame Rate Enhanced Driving (FRED) “to minimise the structure holding the pixels together so that you can hardly see the lines between them.”
Speaking to the BBC, Sharp’s UK product manage Tommas Monetto outlined the company’s plans to “go bigger” in the future.
"The long-term view is that eventually you will have entire walls that are made out of LCDs, and you can allocate different spaces for different usage. Part will be used for TV signals, part for surfing the internet and part to show pictures."
Wall-sized screens have been in development for years, using organic light emitting diode displays (OLED) that do not need side lighting and so create edge-to-edge images that can be placed next to each other to create continuous displays.
The success of such products though will depend on the price of OLED displays dropping dramatically over the next five or so years.
With current screens commercial TVs bigger than Sharp’s do exist – including two models by Panasonic with screens 103 and 152 inches in size – but these use plasma technology; bigger screens with superior picture quality for professionals and videophiles.
Unlike LCD and LED TVs, plasma screens to not require backlighting, allowing screens to show inkier blacks and more fine details within shadows. However, plasma screens are much more expensive and also consume up to three times more power than their LED counterparts.
Sharp’s 90-inch screen will also only support 1080p resolution – in comparison to the current cutting-edge resolution of 4k (which uses four times as many pixels).
This means that viewers have to sit further back for the resolution to not appear blurred, though Sharp reportedly decided to no support 4K due to the lack of content available in that resolution.