Earlier today, Sharp and Pioneer re-launched the Elite brand, with its Pro-60X5FD and Pro-70X5FD LED LCD TVs. Both models cater to the high-end home entertainment crowd, with pricing set at $6,000 and $8,500, for the 60-inch and 70-inch sets, respectively. We had a chance to take a look at the larger model at an event in New York City this morning, and were certainly impressed with its high contrast and excellent deep black levels. Set against a black wall, it was nearly impossible to distinguish a black image from the TV's brushed aluminum bezel or the wall behind it when viewed in a pitch-black room. Plasma TVs, such as Pioneer's discontinued Kuro, have been able to achieve deep black levels for years, but LCD TVs like the Elite we saw today historically suffer from light bleeding, which causes black images to appear gray.
The Elite TV also includes built-in speakers, which sounded fine in a noisy room, but considering that you'll be spending north of $6,000 for the smaller set, we imagine you'll be pairing either model with some external speakers as well. Internet connectivity alone certainly isn't going to motivate anyone to spend this much to outfit their home theater with a high-end set, but streaming is important nonetheless, so we were happy to see that Sharp included a somewhat diverse offering of services. The TVs ship with apps for Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, along with Facebook and Twitter -- there's also a dedicated Netflix button on the remote, letting you access the movie streaming service without clicking through several menu levels. Overall, we were impressed with the Elite during today's brief demonstration, but we'll need to wait for the full review before we can determine whether Sharp can justify those sky-high price tags.