CeBIT: Sharp announces new LCD TVs with 160 GB hard drive

Hannover (Germany) - Sharp today announced two new Aquos LCD TV's that support a 1080p resolution and provide the functionality of a digital video recorder - thanks to a built-in 160 GB 2.5" hard drive.

The new HD1-series TVs are available in 46"and 52" form factors and will become the new flagship offerings in Sharp's mass market LCD TV line. Additional features of the devices include four tuners (two of them HD tuners), a 4 ms response time, a static contrast ratio of 3000:1 (dynamic 15,000:1) as well as an interpolated picture refresh rate of 100 Hz.

Sharp also said that it will soon be releasing its first Blu-ray player. Features have been kept under wraps, but we were told that it will cost around $1000.

An interesting side aspect of the announcement was that the European press reacted less than enthusiastic about the new TVs and the firm's intentions to bring bigger TVs to Europe. While, two Sharp executives excitedly told German press that the company is "backing Europe as the market of the future," the new TVs make their debut in the midst of a climate debate across Europe, in which new ideas about power conservation dominate the headlines these days.

Somehow, those large TVs do not fit into a society that appears to become more and more concerned about power consumption at home and excessive use of electrical resources especially in the U.S. - and occasionally point fingers at the U.S. in which, according to cliché, people generally drive big SUVs, run air conditioners around the clock and own multiple large TVs.

Accordingly, the first reaction to Sharp's new TV's was rather cold and inquiries focused on the lower end of the product range. One journalist highlighted the fact that those TVs may consume more power, another journalist mentioned that Germany's living rooms aren't that large and can't accommodate such monster TVs. Hans Kleiss replied to those remarks that the LCD TVs are environmentally friendly and 1080p TVs can be bought with sizes as small as 37".

In a conversation with TG Daily, Kleiss however conceded that these new large LCD TVs do consume more power than traditional CRT TVs. While he did not know how much power the TVs consume exactly, he told us that the company isn't really concerned about a changing TV and believes that it will grow in Europe especially in the segment above 45".

"If you build it, they will come," he said. "There is really a double standard in this discussion right now. Look on the streets and you will see lots of 7-series BMW's. They consume a lot of gas as well. If you have the money, you will buy such a TV," Kleiss said. But he added that Sharp will work on new ways to make its TVs more power efficient down the road.

For a sneak peak at what's going on at Cebit, head over the Pre-Show Impressions slideshow on our TG Daily Beta website.