We just crashed Sharp's AQUOS launch party and got a nice look at the new AQUOS panels, along with a bit of a peek at the LEDs behind the curtain. In a lot of senses, Sharp's new panels are a collection of last generation technologies: the LEDs aren't locally dimmed, the 120Hz refresh rate falls short of the 240Hz that's been bandied about of late, and the internet services don't offer video playback or WiFi connectivity. That said, the picture is looking pretty great. Sharp credits its specialized LEDs for increasing the color gamut, and new LCD tech for improved blacks and improved brightness due to better controls and less electronics getting in the way. As for 120Hz, Sharp says that its engineers found that 240Hz introduced noise, and on a personal note we don't think we need many more Hz in our lives. There aren't really any excuses for the shortage of internet services, but we should be seeing some new stuff at CES next year. Localized dimming is also due for the next generation, but Sharp sees the next big step for LCD tech being the RGB backlight available in its XS1 top-of-the-line set. In practice the blacks look great and the colors look great, but we'll have to sit these new sets down next to competing TVs to really get a good idea of where Sharp's at with this gen.

Sharp's new AQUOS lineup eyes-on

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