Evolution, not revolution for Sharp's Aquos

Before this year's CES started, we had a feeling that the tech industry had played its biggest hands back in 2007. And judging by the press launches thus far in Las Vegas, few of the big consumer electronics (CE) companies have wheeled out anything truly revolutionary.

Sharp's 2008 line-up is obviously dominated by its new line-up of Aquos TVs, with its gorgeous 1-inch thick, 65-inch LCD TV (boasting a 100,000:1 contrast ratio) on display, but not for sale. 2008 will undoubtedly be a race between the CE big-boys to produce the world's thinnest telly.

New high-def LCDs

Until then, US shoppers will have to make do with Sharp's new SE94-series TVs. These 46- (LC-46SE94U), 52- (LC-52SE94U) and 65-inch (LC-65SE94U) models are full 1080p sets with a 27,000:1 contrast ratio. A 10-bit ASV panel delivers a sprightly 4ms response time and 120Hz frame rate conversion. The SE94s have top-of-the-range price tags of $3,200 (£1,630), $4,200 (£2,140) and $11,000 (£5,600) respectively.

The SE94s are also the first of Sharp's Aquos line-up to be Aquos Net capable via an Ethernet connection. Aquos Net is Sharp's new internet connectivity initiative, enabling Mac-style Widgets to be displayed onscreen and customer service reps to remotely optimise your picture settings.

Hot on the heels of the SE94s come Sharp's new D64-series sets, slimline 1080p LCDs that are available in 37- and 32-inch sizes. Like the existing 42-, 46-, 52- and 65-inch LCDs in the D64 range, the two new sets boast a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a 6ms response time. Prices are expected to be $1,600 (£815) and $1,299 (£660) respectively.

Do you really need 1080p?

Sharp's 37-inch and 32-inch D44-series models forgo the buzz of 'full HD' support. They have a max resolution of 720p, and a reduced contrast ratio of 7,500:1. With price tags of $1,300 and $1,000 (£510) respectively, we can't help thinking that the D64's offer a better deal.

Sharp's Gaming GP3-series TV does offer 1080p, however. This 32-incher is, as its name suggests, aimed at PC and console gamers. Designated the LC-32GP3U, it'll be available in red, white and black. 'Vyper Drive' technology is included to reduce lag between your gaming hardware and the screen, while side-mounted connections make plugging and playing a veritable breeze.

Last, but not least, on Sharp's 2008 release list... an Aquos Blu-ray player, the BD-HP50U. This offers full 1080p playback, 1080/24fps playback, HDMI 1.3 and, yes, it's Profile 1.1-compatible.

It's worth pointing out that all of the above TVs are US models, but there's a chance that we'll see PAL variants in the UK in the future.