Along with grabbing the title for most ginourmous TV, Sharp also announced four new lines of relatively giant mainstream LCDs aimed right at where plasma lives.
The D92 series features 1080p screens in 42-, 46-, and 52-inch sizes, priced from $3500 to $5200. All are available in January, except the 42-inch, which is coming in April. They boast hot technologies including 4-millisecond pixel response and 120-Hertz refresh rates (up from 60-Hz on most TVs) that Sharp claims eliminates ghosting. (Hitachi also makes 120-Hz LCDs.) And they brag an insane-sounding contrast ratio of 15,000 to one. You can hook plenty up to this screen: it ahs 3HDMI inputs, plus a DVI port for computers.
If you want a really big screen, wait until March, when Sharp upgrades its 65-inch TV, re-naming it the D93. It boasts all the killer features of the D92 line and sells for $11,000.
The other lines are lower-end variations on the D92 theme.
The D82 models, due in March, come in 46-inch ($3700) and 56-inch ($3700) sizes. Aside from a lower-contrast ratio of "just" 10,000:1, it matches the D92 line.
The D43 line features lowly 720P screens available in June in sizes from 26 to 43 inches ($1100 to $4000).
Does Sharp's salvo mark the beginning of the end of Plasma? Stephen Manes of Forbes and PC World was all gloating smiles when I saw him after the press conference, as reminded me how he'd foretold the end of plasma when we were talking about this time last year. Steve, I have two words for you: black level.