By James Wells in Berlin

BERLIN: Sharp today launched the XS1 Series 52-inch and 65-inch next generation LCD flat panel TVs featuring 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and measuring 2.3 cm in thickness.

Like many of its competitors, Sharp has introduced an LED backlight system to help deliver the increased contrast ratio to deliver stronger blacks as well as superior colour reproduction.

Sharp claims that the panels, which were previewed as prototypes at last year’s IFA exhibition, also feature energy saving technology by lowering the power consumption through the adjustment of screen brightness based on the darkness in the area of installation.

At its press conference today, Sharp Europe CEO Toshiyuki Tajima claimed that LCD televisions will account for roughly half of all of the world’s 200 million flat panel televisions sold this year. Of these, the demand for large screen panels is growing with panels over 40-inches representing 25 per cent in units and over 40 per cent in value.

Demand for LCD televisions globally has increased from 47 million panels in the 2006 Japanese financial year to 76.5 million in the 2007 financial year ended 31 March this year and it is forecast to reach 100 million units by 1 April 2009.