Sharp Fires Big Screen Salvo from CES

David Keene– The gargantuan CES Show in Las Vegas, is ostensibly about “consumer” products. But the time when the “pro” video and audio world first saw all new technology breakthroughs and only later did that technology trickle over to the consumer side– well, those days are gone– at least for some categories of products. For the past five or so years, the big electronics giants have been putting their biggest allocations of R&D money into consumer-side products, for the obvious reason that consumers now propel the market, with their insatiable appetites for flat panels, smart phones, etc., with bigger sell-through than any one pro market could ever produce.

So CES is no longer just for the retailer looking to see what they’ll be selling in their stores next Christmas season (or rather, “Black Friday” which of course is no longer one day, and will start probably around Halloween this coming season). It’s now also about seeing what the LG’s, Sharp’s, Samsung’s, etc, of the world are rolling out for the consumer– often before the pro side gets it. In the flat panel world, thinner bezels, faster refresh rate, and more, made their debut first at a CES show, not an InfoComm or other B2B show. Such is the case this week, as we get news from CES exhibitors about new products that are becoming increasingly difficult to categorize as “commercial” or “consumer” side products.

Sharp has been shaking up the AV channel recently, introducing 60, 70, and 80-inch LED-backlit LCD panels at dealer costs that are very aggressive. 1080P has been around for a while; Bezels are pretty thin from all the manufacturers. Refresh rate is yesterday’s issue. But we may finally see the pricing of large screen sizes– 70 inch, 80 inch, come down and start making more inroads against video projectors.

News from Sharp, from CES yesterday, below. Note the quote from Doug Albregts, the newly appointed president of Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA)… that is, president of the company’s B2B business unit. And note the price– and that’s the MRSP.

SHARP® EXPANDS ITS BIG, BROAD LINE-UP OF LARGE-SCREEN INTERACTIVE, TOUCH-PANEL DISPLAY SYSTEMS – NOW IN AN 80-INCH CLASS (80” DIAGONAL) SCREEN SIZE CLASS

More Than a Conference Room Display, the Line-Up is Designed for the Way We Work Today

  • The 80-inch class AQUOS Board combines a high-performance interactive display with a well-designed, comprehensive system for uniquely collaborative sessions – and continues to set a new standard in price-performance for touch-screen displays. This latest addition to Sharp’s evolving family of state-of-the-art, 60-inch class (60 1/32” diagonal), 70-inch class (69-1/2" diagonal) and 80-inch class display tools allows organizations to operate in a visual and truly collaborative way, creating a dynamic and interactive workplace experience.

This incredible display is produced by Sharp’s state of the art, Gen-10 LCD manufacturing facility in Sakai City, Japan. The AQUOS Board interactive display replaces traditional, static projection solutions with spectacular performance, delivering the high-definition quality we’ve come to expect in our homes.

“Similar to what our innovative and industry-leading large-screen TVs are doing for the home, Sharp’s large-screen interactive touch-panel display systems are revolutionizing the workplace,” said Doug Albregts, president, SIICA. “The 80-inch class AQUOS Board provides endless collaboration, information and entertainment options and is a welcome addition to Sharp’s family of solutions designed to improve our workplace lives.”

Designed to optimize and integrate a wide range of applications companies need in order to think big and disseminate information on a global scale – such as work group collaboration, video conferencing, interactive signage and video walls – the AQUOS Board delivers more than double the screen area of a 55-inch class display. It is ideal for any setting that requires large-scale collaboration, information and/or entertainment options, including meeting rooms, office lobbies, schools, airports, malls, exhibit halls and hotels.

The AQUOS Board PN-L802B will be available in late February through Sharp’s network of dealers, distributors and VARs for $13,795 MSRP.

Features and Capabilities

Further facilitating global collaboration, the AQUOS Board offers business users seamless integration with presentation and video conferencing technologies, including WebEx™, GoToMeeting™ and Skype™. Additionally, the system will be fully compatible with a full array of familiar Microsoft®products (Microsoft Office Suite®, Microsoft Windows 7® and Microsoft touch Pack for Windows 7®).

In addition to the PN-L802B stand-alone display, which comes with a three-year onsite parts and labor limited warranty, customers also have the option of purchasing a bundled solution. The bundle – PN-L802B-PKG –includes the AQUOS Board 80-inch class, full-array, LED backlit, interactive touch-panel display, the PN-TPC2W7 Compact Whiteboard PC and rolling cart floor stand. The whiteboard PC connects easily to the rear of the display; utilizes an Intel® Pentium™ dual-core 2.5 GHz processor and comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 7, Sharp Pen Software™ and touch-screen drivers, and is sold with a HDMI® connecting cable for easy system set-up.

The AQUOS Board 80-inch class LED touch-panel, with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, is equipped with Sharp’s UV2A photo alignment and Full Array LED backlight technologies to create an energy-efficient screen that is easy to read in most environments, regardless of ambient light.

Users can make meetings more interactive by drawing and taking notes directly on-screen, and saving new versions to their PC or printing them to a connected Sharp Multifunction Product (MFP). The intuitive software also lets users select pen colors and eraser functions easily, with a click of the touch pen button. Furthermore, existing images can be easily scanned and displayed by connecting to a networked Sharp MFP via the pen software.

The AQUOS Board is engineered for commercial 24/7 use, uninterrupted worry-free operation and comes with a three-year onsite parts and labor limited warranty. It can also function separately of the bundled solution, as a versatile LED-LCD information display.

For more information, please write to Sharp Electronics Corporation, Professional Display Division, Sharp Plaza, Mahwah, N.J. 07495-1163, call 866-4-VISUAL (866-484-7825) or e-mail ProLCD@SharpUSA.com.

For more information on what Sharp announced at CES, please visit www.SharpUSANews.com. For online product information, visit Sharp’s Web site at www.SharpUSA.com/monitors. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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