Sharp Scales Down to Smaller HD Screens

While some observers have noted that the 50-inch this year is the 40-inch of last year for HD sets—as many consumers go for larger HD screens at lower price points—Sharp said it also sees a need on the other end of the scale for smaller HD products.

The Japanese firm, with its North American headquarters in Mahwah, N.J., said it plans to manufacture what may be the industry’s smallest LCD HD sets—at 22 and 26 inches. But it’s not all about filling an unfilled need. One reason for the firm’s seemingly counter-intuitive strategy is simple: Sharp has acknowledged that sales of its 40-inch LCD units dropped precipitously since last summer, according to The Financial Times.

It’s not yet known whether its smaller HD screens might be branded as part of Sharp’s Aquos series, which the firm promoted heavily during the recent World Series as the “Official HDTV of Major League Baseball.” (The most heavily advertised Aquos unit is its 52-inch 1080p LCD.)

While consumers may be thinking that size does makes a difference in HD (and the bigger, the better, if it’s affordable), Sharp thinks demand for smaller HD flat-screens with a smaller footprint is on the increase for use as additional screens in other rooms of the home.

Last year, Sharp began shipping a 32-inch LCD flat-screen geared to video game enthusiasts. The new 22- and 26-inch screens also will be targeted to gamers.