It was a dark day when Pioneer announced its mighty Kuro HDTVs would be no more, but the Pioneer Elite brand still has significant cachet and will return in 2011 on new high end TVs. The bad news? They will be LCDs, not plasmas, manufactured by its partner Sharp, a not entirely surprising move since this was actually the original plan for the Kuro brand back in 2008. Apparently both see potential as Sharp will gain access to higher-end AV salesrooms and integrators for its products, while Pioneer will have TVs to match its continuing Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player and receiver lines. Despite an impressive local dimming demo at CES we're still not sure Sharp can create enough new pixels to replace what we once had, but we should find out for sure when the new models arrive the end of the year, check the press release after the break for more details.

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SHARP LICENSES PIONEER'S® ELITE® BRAND NAME FOR HIGH-END LCD TV LINE IN THE US AND CANADA
01/27/2011

Mahwah, NJ and Long Beach, CA, January 27, 2011 -- Sharp Electronics Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corporation, and Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today announced that Sharp will be granted license of Pioneer's "Elite" brand for a line of high-end flat panel displays to be introduced in the U.S. and Canada this year.

Pioneer markets a line of high-end audio/video receivers, Blu-ray Disc players and speakers under the Elite brand, which enjoys a substantial high-end customer following and a strong, established dealer network. By marketing an LCD TV line under the Elite brand, Sharp will expand the distribution of its premium large-scale TVs. In turn, the addition of a line of large-screen LCD TVs will complement Pioneer's Elite home theater offerings. The Elite line of LCD TVs, which will be jointly marketed by Sharp and Pioneer, will be available through Pioneer's authorized Elite dealer network.

"As a leader in large screen LCD TV, we are excited to collaborate with Pioneer to bring a high-end LCD TV to the Elite consumer," said John Herrington, President of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America. "The Elite brand is highly respected in the high end market and Sharp can deliver the quality and innovation that Elite customers demand."

"Adding a line of high-end flat panel TVs fills a market need in the industry and will help reinforce the strength of a complete Elite home theater offering," said Russ Johnston, Executive VP, Home Electronics Department, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "With its cutting edge LCD technology and unmatched production capabilities, Sharp is an important strategic collaborator that will deliver a whole new dimension to the large-screen home theater experience."

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About Sharp
Sharp Electronics Corporation is the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corporation, a worldwide developer of one-of-a-kind home entertainment products, appliances, networked multifunctional office solutions, solar energy solutions, LED lighting and mobile communication and information tools. Leading brands include AQUOS® Quattron™ LCD televisions and 3DTVs, SharpVision® projectors, Insight® Microwave Drawer® ovens, Notevision® multimedia projectors and Plasmacluster® air purifiers. For more information visit Sharp Electronics Corporation at www.sharpusa.com. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

About Pioneer
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and its U.S. Web address is www.pioneerelectronics.com. Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, established in Tokyo in 1938, is a preeminent manufacturer of high-performance audio, video and computer equipment for the home, car and business markets.