Sharp has begun the exclusive-to-the-U.S.-market deployment of what it is billing as the world’s largest LED TV: the 90-inch Aquos LC-90LE745U.
Dealers on a first-line rollout roster that includes Magnolia, hhgregg, P.C. Richard, Abt and Nebraska Furniture Mart started receiving the model last week, and it will be “by the end of the summer before we’re fully ramped up at retail,” Sharp’s vice president of strategic product marketing, Jim Sanduski , said.
The model will only be sold in-store, and will be the first, and so far only, Sharp TV SKU to be covered by a Unilateral Pricing Policy. “This is a truly unique product in the marketplace, and we wanted to ensure retailer profitability,” Sanduski added in explaining the move. The model carries a $10,999.99 suggested retail price but is expected to sell at about $10,000, he said.
The 3D set, which comes with two pairs of glasses, boasts a screen area equivalent to eight 32-inch TVs or 56 iPad screens, and is twice the screen area of a 65-inch TV and three times the screen area of a 55-inch TV, Sanduski said. It is 141 pounds, five inches deep, Wi-Fi-equipped, and features Sharp’s proprietary SmartCentral connectivity technology, which provides direct access to popular apps and video on demand as well as Web browsing and Skype capability. It also carries AquoMotion 240 image refresh technology to control image blurring during fast-action movie and sport viewing. Purchasers will have access to Aquos Advantage Live, a free service that lets them connect directly over the Internet to customer support reps who can assist with settings management. Soon to be available will be the ability to control the set from iPhones and Android smartphones.
It consumes 381 watts of electricity, and each of the 500 LEDs used in its full-array configuration is guaranteed for 60,000 hours, or 27 years of six-hours-a-day operation, with uniform brightness. Its aluminum bezel, of the same design as is used in Sharp’s Elite-line TVs, is strong enough so that it could be limited in edge thickness to just over an inch, he said. The model’s panels are being made in both Sharp’s Sakai and Kamiyama, Japan factories, with all assembly done in Mexico.
Special training and merchandising strategies were developed to “make sure this set looks the best on the floor,” said Sanduski, including a merchandising topper reading “World’s Largest LED TV.” He added that the model cries out for “white glove delivery” by retailers handling it. “You don’t just drop this off on a consumer’s doorstep. It needs to be unboxed, set up and connected,” which opens up additional profit opportunities for dealers.