Sharp to Market 65-inch HD LCD

Sharp will begin selling a 65-inch HD LCD set that will be marketed to compete head-on with Matsushita (Panasonic) and other makers of plasma flat screens. Sharp already is among the world's largest-volume LCD makers. Currently its largest flat screen is a 45-inch model. To date, the flat screen market (which is experiencing a dramatic price war) has been largely dominated by plasma and rear-projection models for sets larger than 40-inch.

Sharp would launch the 65-inch LCD in August in Japan with suggested price points around $15,500, according to the company. That would be noticeably less than comparable LCD sets from other makers, who are expected to respond with lower prices, too. However, plasma sets of comparable size are typically significantly lower-priced, although many plasma models are ED, not HD. Sharp will introduce its 65-inch screen in the United States and other markets outside Japan by the end of this year, according to Reuters and other published reports,

However, Sharp apparently is not expecting a consumer stampede to retailers for the $15,000-plus products: It initially plans to produce a mere 300 sets at 65-inch a month.