Sharp Ships 90″ LCD HDTV

Imagine a television that is more than six and a half feet wide. Imagine that you could have one in your living room now if you want it. It’s not a pipedream; it’s the Sharp LC-90LE745U 90″ LCD HDTV, and the company announced yesterday that it is available now from select retailers in the U.S.

The mammoth screen has a 90″ diagonal measurement, and relies on a full matrix of white LEDs for its backlight to enable selective dimming for increased dynamic contrast. It tips the scales at a hefty 141 pounds (150 with the stand) so plan on getting some help when you go to mount it. It supports 3DTV, and comes with a pair of active glasses. It also is a Smart TV, but it is interesting to note that the screen does not use Sharp’s four-color-pixel Quattron technology. You might expect it to be a power hog, but it’s rated at just 138 watts when operating, which is less than many 52″  models that are about one-quarter the size.

This is a dramatic demonstration of Sharp’s new strategy, in which it will focus only on LCD TVs 60″ and larger. The idea is that it will leave the lower end of the market to its competitors, where they can slug it out among themselves. This makes sense in that Sharp is the only one with a Gen 10 LCD panel fab, which should mean that they can make these larger sizes more efficiently. The question is whether the worldwide market for these giant screens is large enough to make the play work.

The announced price for the LC-90LE745U is $10,999, but is expect to sell for closer to $10,000. This creates an interesting dilemna for those with five figures of disposable income to spend on a single television; do you get one of the new 55″ OLEDs from LG or Samsung, or do you go for a screen nearly four times that size with the LCD from Sharp? It’s not a decision that I expect to have to make, but it does make for an interesting “what if” question.