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Sharp to release world's first 8K-compatible LCD TV

The world's first consumer 8K-compatible LCD TV is seen in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Aug. 31, 2017. (Mainichi)

Sharp Corp. is set to release the world's first 8K-compatible liquid-crystal display (LCD) TV, the 70-inch "AQUOS 8K," the company announced on Aug. 31, hoping to lead the market in ultra-high definition LCD screens.

    The new TV is set to go on sale in Japan in December 2017, but it will be released in China in October. Freshly taken under the umbrella of Taiwanese manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which is looking to rapidly expand its international market share, Sharp will first focus on China's large market. The projected sale price for the TV is roughly 1.08 million yen, and it will also go on sale in Taiwan in February 2018 and Europe in the following month.

    The term "8K" refers to an ultra-high definition LCD monitor that has 16 times the resolution of "2K" full-HD, and 4 times that of "4K" ultra-HD screens. There have been 8K monitors made for industrial use, but the sale would mark the first time the display would be used in a TV for general consumers. Sharp is also looking to switch half of the 60-inch or larger TVs in their product line-up to 8K displays by fiscal 2020.

    Broadcasts in 4K and 8K are set to begin in December 2018, and while watching in the ultra-HD and above formats will require a separate signal receiver, it is possible with Sharp's upcoming 8K TV to switch current terrestrial digital broadcast contents to a display definition similar to that of 8K. By releasing the 8K-compatible TV before other companies, Sharp hopes to get ahead in the market.

    "We want to be the impetus that begins the era of 8K displays looking to 2020 (when the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held)," said Sharp executive board member Hirokazu Nishiyama at a press conference in Tokyo.

    Sharp leads in 8K LCD technology compared to other manufacturers, and plans to firmly plant itself at the center of the display industry. This will put Sharp into fierce competition with manufacturers in South Korea and other countries releasing the next generation of display technology, which uses organic light-emitting diodes instead of LCD screens.

    Sharp plans to introduce 8K-compatible cameras, broadcast receivers and other products, and Nishiyama said, "The potential application of 8K in the medical and security (such as security cameras) industries is extensive."

    However, only public broadcaster NHK is working actively toward broadcasting in 8K, as the corporation is working on the development of the technology alongside Sharp. Whether private broadcasters will also make the move toward 8K down the line looks like it will make or break sales of the new TVs.

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