Free LCD TVs (Santa Comes Early)

Sharp to give away 26 TVs and as much as $100,000 for “green” job training

It's the Most Glorious Time . . .

Sean Captain

Commuters in Grand Central Station got a morning sugar shock of eye candy when Sharp unveiled a 26-foot tall Christmas tree made by stacking 43 of its Aquos LCD televisions. The panels, growing in size from 19 inches at the top to 52 inches at the bottom, are wired together to display coordinated video shows, such as a waterfall that spills from the top panels and splashes down on the bottom screens, or snowflakes that float down the length of the tree. It currently cycles through nine patterns created by Japanese video artist Tsuyoshi Takashiro. To keep things fresh, Sharp will replace the originals with about 10 new patterns in December.

The tree is greener than just the pine branches that stick out from between the panels. The company is using the display to publicize the Hope Program, a nonprofit that provides job training and career counseling to help New Yorkers get out of poverty. "Their whole mission is not just to become part of he working poor," said Judah Zeigler from Sharp's marketing department.

Passersby can sign up at –

of course – an LCD kiosk for a chance to win one of the TVs on the tree. For every person who registers, Sharp will donate one dollar to a new Hope Program initiative called the Green Collar Project that trains people to work in environmental jobs, such as installing solar panels. (Not coincidentally, Sharp is a major solar-panel maker.) The company will donate a minimum of $50,000 no matter how many people sign up and as much as $100,000.