Sharp Electronics has unveiled the Aquos P50 series High Definition LCD television at CeBIT in Hanover, claiming it to be the first designed specifically for the European PAL and Secam TV formats.
The lack of PAL support is "one of the hiccups" in the rise of HD television in Europe, Sharp Europe chief executive Hans Kleis told vnunet.com. "All these panels have been developed for the Japanese and American markets."
Current LCD TV models do support the PAL format, but the company claims that the image quality leaves much to be desired.
A PAL image has only 33 per cent of the resolution of an HDTV image. But support for the European standard is critical in getting users to purchase HD TV sets, Sharp said.
Demand for HDTV is further held back because broadcasters refuse to support the upcoming standard by starting early transmissions in the format. They will hold out on adopting HDTV until 2010, Sharp expects.
Support for PAL will further spark early demand from consumers in the market for a new TV, the company believes. The HDTV market in Europe is currently driven by premium sports channels that transmit the high-resolution images, and the rise of the Blu-ray and HD DVD high definition DVD standards.
The new Sharp TVs will become available this summer. No pricing details have yet been released.
By pushing HDTV to consumers now, Sharp aims to have as many television sets as possible in the market by the time broadcasters are ready to embrace the new technology.
But consumers are hardly aware of the existence and benefits of the technology, according to Kleis. "We have to warm them up," he said.
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