Struggling Sharp Corp. on Thursday unveiled a new line of 60-inch high-end TVs it plans to launch in February at an eye-popping price of ¥2.5 million each.

The ICC Purios line will feature Sharp’s latest liquid crystal displays, which boast a resolution four times greater than those in its regular high-definition TVs.

“We have thoroughly pursued the image quality and expression with this product. By responding to those who are particular about image quality, we hope to contribute to the development of the LCD market,” said Koichi Mitani, who leads a new product development team for Sharp’s digital information appliances.

The new TVs also contain an Integrated Cognitive Creation chip, which helps them render more realistic images. The chip was developed by I-cubed Research Center Inc., headed by Tetsujiro Kondo, a high-profile engineer who formerly worked for Sony Corp.

The ICC Purios line will debut Feb. 20 but will only be available on a build-to-order basis, while the Aquos line will continue to be Sharp’s mainstay brand.

The new model signals attempts by Japanese TV makers to cultivate a so-called 4K market for ultra-high-resolution technologies. Models in the 4K generation will have four times the resolution of today’s hi-def TVs, but it is unclear whether the market will take off.

Because of the rapid drop in LCD panel prices, many domestic electronics makers are struggling to profit from TVs, espcially Sharp, which has been late to diversify.

Sony unveiled its 4K model in September and launched an 84-inch 4K TV on Nov. 23 priced at ¥1.68 million.

Toshiba Corp. started selling a 55-inch 4K model last year. It is currently priced between ¥500,000 to ¥600,000. Toshiba also plans to release improved 50-inch, 60-inch and 84-inch 4K TVs next spring, but no prices have been set yet.

Tokyo Electron to shift LCD production equipment to China


Tokyo Electron Ltd. will shift production of equipment for liquid crystal display panels from Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture, to Kunshan in China’s Jiangsu Province, company officials said Thursday.

The company will start making all of its LCD panel production equipment, except its most advanced machines, at the Kunshan plant within several years of fiscal 2013 to meet growing panel output in China, the officials said.

This move will mark Tokyo Electron’s first time making LCD panel production equipment overseas. The equipment will include machines used to fabricate the panels’ circuits, the officials said.

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