By James Wells in Berlin

BERLIN, GERMANY: Sharp has surprised even its own executives with the release of one-inch thick LCD televisions in both 42-inch and 50-inch sizes with a 100,000:1 contrast ratio at IFA 2007.

“Sharp Corporation has further refined the essence of its LCD technologies and brought them together to develop a prototype LCD TV that far surpasses existing models in terms of image quality, thin-profile design, and environmental performance,” said Sharp at the IFA 2007 consumer electronics show in Berlin yesterday.

Sharp claims that by introducing further development to its technologies, it is demonstrating to retailers that the brand has the capacity for further innovation as one of the few manufacturers in the highly competitive flat panel market.

This panel is expected to challenge new flat panel technologies such as OLED, which is supported by Sony and SED, which is supported by Canon, and which allegedly boast higher contrast ratios and slim profiles but have not yet reached mass production at this stage.

The 50-inch panel, which has no pricing or release date, features an average thickness of 25 mm and is 20 mm at its thinnest and 29 mm at its thickest. It weighs just 25 kg and features an impressive 100,000:1 contrast ratio as well as power consumption of just 140 kWh/year.

Sharp Corporation of Australia executives, Denis Kerr and Joe Costantino who are in Berlin to visit the exhibition, told that they were not aware of the specifications of the product at the event, such was the secrecy around its release.

The slimline prototypes complement over 60 models of full HD LCD TVs that Sharp has on display at IFA from 32-inches to 65-inches. In Europe, the company has forecast market share of 30 per cent in the Full HD segment in 2007.