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Sharp 'Special Edition' LCDs connect to Internet, cost a lot of money

Sharp announces a new line of premium LCD, the SE94, with a distinctive design and network capabilities.

The Aquos SE94 series feature a distinctive "cornerstone" design Sharp

Sharp has always offered high-end (read:expensive) LCDs, but its new line of "Special Edition" models hits a new level. The Aquos SE94 series consists of the 65-inch LC-65SE94U, 52-inch LC-52SE94U, and 46-inch LC-46SE94U, which have list prices of $11,000, $4,200 and $3,200, respectively. For your extra dollars, the series features a unique "Cornerstone" design and also has Aquos Net functionality built-in. Aquos Net allows the TV to pull down content from the Internet using the set's Ethernet port, although Sharp only mentions basic functions like checking the weather or getting stock quotes. Sharp technicians will also be able to remotely dial into the sets, to tweak settings or provide information to owners.

Watch the Sharp Aquos LC-52SE94U video on CNET TV.

All the sets in the SE94 series feature a 1080p native resolution (1920x1080), along with "120Hz frame rate conversion"--which despite its deceptive name, doesn't necessarily mean these sets have true 120Hz refresh rate. Connectivity is highlighted by three HDMI 1.3 ports, two component video inputs, a PC input and an RS-232 port.

From just the feature set, it doesn't seem like the Aquos SE94 series quite justifies the high price tag, but outstanding performance would make it easier to swallow. Hopefully those dishing out megabucks for these sets won't get a panel with the banding issues we've seen on previous models like the LC-52D64U. The LC-65SE94U and LC-52SE94U will be available this month, while the LC-46SE94U will be available in February.