Smart TVs are big news this year. The TV manufacturers are going all out to drive a new kind of experience which brings the information and entertainment value of the Internet to our home televisions. The type of set that has this capability is known as a Smart TV, and Sharp Smart TV models in particular are standing toe to toe with the competition in a series of battles for the accolade of best Smart TV.
With each passing month, developers create clearer, crisper visibility and sound features that make watching TV better than ever. The technology utilized for visual and audio makes movie nights an entirely new and exhilarating experience comparable to going out to the movie theatre. Now the new Smart TVs, or Connected TVs as they're also known, are adding computer like functionality that compliments our viewing of standard television.
Sharp Smart TV's come in the same different forms you'll know from other makers - LED, LCD, Plasma, 3D. Most TVs now produce excellent quality images, so the focus - if you're looking for a new set - needs to be on what Smart capabilities it can deliver. Sharp aim to present a solution for Smart TV that gives you the full range of internet, video, and streaming options.
In fact Sharp were one of the first manufacturers to deliver internet access in their TVs, and they used that head start to develop a Smart TV range known a AQUOS Net which is highly responsive in its delivery of widgets and apps.
However, the AQUOS Net portal was open to improvement. Sharp focussed on that improvement to develop a new portal - announced at the CES show in Jan 2012 - to be known as SmartCentral. Read more on Smart Central further below.
What Do Sharp Smart TV's Deliver?
Besides an highly credible viewing experience, a Sharp Smart TV can deliver a range of Smart options. These include the ability to multitask, in effect watching a standard TV programme on screen while also interacting with social destinations such as Facebook or Twitter.
I've already mentioned the Sharp Smart TV portal - the window on the internet - which goes by the name of AQUOS Net. It presents a choice of apps and widgets layered over the top of standard programming, giving a number of options for access to internet content including Funspot, Google Picasa, Navteq traffic reporting, Rallypoint, GoComics, and more.
Movie streaming is covered by Netflix, with plans to add Vudu in future. And if you get stuck with a problem there's a good Customer support feature known as AQUOS Advantage Live which lets you make a call in, speak to a live suppor agent, and have them remotely connect to your tV to make adjustments and troubleshoot.
Another clever feature which will be seen on 2012 models is the Smart search facility which works by scouring the internet along with any other media stored on any DNLA devices in your network. If it finds content that's the same it automatically chooses which is the best quality version to display.
Sharp smart TVs are all DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible. This technology enables a smart TV to “communicate” with other electronic devices like your game console Blu-Ray player, and smartphone. This enables users to easily send files, videos, and pictures from one device to the other. Uploading pics to Facebook, for example, is made easier. Snap a picture with your camera phone and use your smart TV to post it to your Facebook album.
How Does Sharp's Smart TV Display Technology Work?
Sharp's displays are among the most technically advanced available today. They've developed a range of displays based on Quattron technology.
The colouring on Sharp Quattron models is enhanced by the Quattron display technology. This is a four filter LCD display technology that increases the usual pixel colour range from three (the primary colours red, green, blue) to four (by adding yellow). On Quattron Smart TV models this results in superior quality on certain colour ranges.
The Sharp SmartCentral Smart TV Portal
The CES show of early 2012 saw the demonstration of Sharp's new Smart TV portal, labelled asSmart Central. The new portal has effectively been fully redesigned to improve overall performance and especially to provide an enhanced user interface for selecting Smart features. New Sharp sets released in 2012 will all benefit from the new portal, which also offers multimedia sharing options and integration capability with other devices.
We should be able to get more info on the portal when the first sets to use it are released.
Sharp's LC-80LE844U 2012 Flagship Smart TV
It's always been recognised that 3D looks great on a big screen. The sense of immersion is stronger, and immersion is what 3D is all about. So it's no surprise that Sharp are going big with their flagship 85 inch LC-80LE844U 3D LED Smart TV.
This monster TV comes with a250 Hz refresh rate which promises to deliver imaging without any motion blur. Smart TV capability is of high quality and delivered via the Sharp SmartCentral portal with a wide range of smart services and apps available, and the processing technology works using Sharp's Quad Pixel Plus with colours handled by Quattron.
Built in WiFi adds to capabilities, and the whole lot put together ends up with a big, high class, high cost TV. Expect pricing to be around the $6500 range.
Sharp TV Info & Resources
As you'd expect, Sharp's official site provides some useful promotional type info on their smart TV capabilities, with some more wide reaching info on their LCD TVs in general on this page.