Sharp forms LCD company

Sharp on Tuesday will fan the flames of an already fiery LCD flat-panel display market with LCD products from a new subsidiary, Sharp Systems of America, according to officials.

Six flat-panel models, with screen sizes ranging from 19.6 inches to 15 inches, make up the new company's product catalog. The 19.6-inch LL-T2000A retails for US$3,099, and the 15-inch LL-T1501A starts as low as $549, said officials for Sharp Electronics, based in Mahwah, N.J.

Sharp hopes to capitalize on the current buyer's market for flat-panel monitors created by recent, aggressive price reductions by LCD competitors such as NEC-Mitsubishi.

Reduced flat-panel prices are an added incentive for companies to switch to LCD displays, which already pay dividends in number of other ways, according to Martin Reynolds, a research fellow with the Gartner Group, an industry think tank. Reynolds said LCD monitors are better on the eyes, offer "significant space savings," and consume about half the power of CRT monitors.

Sharp is no stranger to the LCD display technology. The company introduced one of the first liquid crystal displays in 1973 in early electronic pocket calculators, Sharp officials said.

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