Sharp Doubles the Subpixels, Brings 4K to 1080p HDTVs With Quattron+

LAS VEGAS–Four subpixels (the usual red, green, and blue, plus yellow) weren’t enough for Sharp’s HDTVs, so it’s decided to double that at CES.

The company is advancing its four-color-subpixel Quattron screen technology with Quattron+ (Q+), which further divides each color subpixel into upper and lower subpixels. Red, green, blue, and yellow subpixels on Quattron+ HDTVs have halves that can brighten or darken independently, which Sharp claims makes the picture sharper and more vivid than regular Quattron and conventional three-color-subpixel HDTVs.

The 1080p Quattron+ screens each have a total of 16 million subpixels, and can play native 4K content as a direct signal, downscaled to the 1,920-by-1,080 resolution of the screen. According to Sharp, Quattron+ HDTVs are the only 1080p screens that can accept native 4K content, which still has yet to find a widely accepted media or broadcast standard. CES 2014 Bug

Sharp will offer Quattron+ HDTVs in three sizes from 60 to 80 inches, and in two model lines. The UQ line will feature THX and THX 4K certification, and include 3D with two sets of glasses, Bluetooth support, and Sharp’s AquaMotion 960 motion processing. The SQ line will not be THX certified or have AquaMotion 960, and will only be available in 60- and 70-inch versions.

Full 4K HDTVs are also on the way from Sharp, in the company’s UD series. These 3,840-by-2,160 screens will also be THX 4K certified with four 4K/60-capable HDMI 2.0 ports. Curiously, considering Sharp’s reputation for making huge screens, the UD series will only come in 60- and 70-inch versions. They will feature 3D support and use 120Hz panels with Sharp’s AquaMotion 240 motion processing.

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The new 4K and Quattron+ HDTVs will ship this spring. The UD series will retail for $4,999.99 to $5,999.99, the UQ series will retail for $2,999.99 to $5,999.99, and the SQ series will retail for $2,299.99 to $3,999.99.

Quattron will still continue, now as Sharp’s less high-end line in the EQ series. These panels use four subpixels that aren’t subdivided, and can’t display downscaled 4K video. Sharp’s well-received non-Quattron LE650 series will also get a refresh, with a 90-inch version that remains at the top of the company’s consumer-available big-screens in size.