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December 20, 2014

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Sharp unveils TV positioned between HD and 4K

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Jeff Bottari / AP Images for Sharp Electronics Corp.

President of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America John Herrington unveils the 2014 Sharp AQUOS TV line-up, including the game-changing Quattron+ (Q+) TV, at CES on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Las Vegas.

Japanese electronics maker Sharp is bridging the gap between expensive 4K TVs and HD versions with an in-between solution that's also priced in the middle.

Its new Quattron+ technology doubles the vertical resolution of a high-definition set by chopping the existing pixels in half. Meanwhile, it uses a mathematical formula to double the horizontal resolution for everything but certain parts of an image.

According to Sharp, that gives its Quattron+ televisions 16 million subpixels, versus 8 million for its Quattron line and 6 million for HD. It's a middle ground before stepping up to a 4K TV, also known as "ultra HD," which has 24 million subpixels.

Quattron+ TVs can receive 4K signals. A 70-inch model is expected to retail for about $3,200.

Up close, the Quattron+ screen is noticeably more detailed than standard HD. Side-by-side footage of people kayaking, snowboarding or getting makeup applied — with the technology turned on and off — revealed richer skin texture in close-ups and sharper details all around. The Quattron+ images even compared well to Sharp's 4K screen right beside it, although the demo footage was different.

During a demonstration of footage of a melting glacier, part of an image that didn't seem to get the 4K treatment and details appeared to blur inside some of the light blue areas of the ice.

Sharp representatives said that was because its special use of subpixels horizontally won't reveal all of the fine gradations of color that would be seen with a true 4K monitor.

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