The absolute dimensions for our built in cabinetry dictated that we could go no larger than a 40-42″ flat panel TV, depending on the brand. After doing quite a bit of comparative analysis we finally decided on the Sharp 42″ Aquos LCD (LC-42D62U), which we got at Best Buy.
This TV was only released a few weeks ago and Best Buy’s initial pricing was $2,299. Just before Thanksgiving they put it on “Sale” for $1,999. Being a Reward Zone member, and a pretty darn good customer of Best Buy, we had received a coupon good for 12% off the purchase, which brought the pricing down to $1,759.
HINT: Tell the people in the store that you got a 10% or 12% off coupon but left it at home and the’ll give it to you on any large ticket item in the store.
At the time of purchase, a quick search on Price Grabber revealed that I couldn’t even get it online anywhere cheaper, so we went ahead and picked one up.
There were four primary characteristics which drew me to this TV:
- With a resolution of 1920 x 1080, this is a full 1080p high definition screen.
- The image quality and screen refresh rate were outstanding in the store.
- The glossy piano-black case on the TV is the best looking out there.
- Nothing less than $1,000 more comes close to the value of this set.
The TV has a Built-In HDTV Tuner, but that’s only good if you’re going to use it with an antenna. To get HD via cable or sattelite you’re going to need a box, or one of the new HD TiVos.
The two HDMI inputs mean that you can either hook an HD tuner and an upconverting (or HD / Blueray) DVD player to it simultaneously, or you can use an HDMI switching A/V receiver.
Real World Performance
After getting the TV home and hooked up to our Time Warner HD DVR I’m pleased to report that the HD picture quality is outstanding. I’d give it an 8.75 out of 10. (I mean, I’ve seen better – but you’re going to have to spend double to triple what this one cost to get it today.) And that is only with a 1080i source. I imagine that 1080p will be even better, but I’ll wait till either Blueray or HD DVD win the standard war before investing in one of those.
Sound quality on this set is adequate, but personally I don’t rely on the internal speakers as we run it through a 5.1 surround system. One thing I found out the hard way is that if you use the digital optical output on the TV to connect it to your receiver, you can no longer use the variable volume control. I mean, the settings will allow you to choose it, but turning the volume up and down on the TV has no effect on the actual volume level. I suppose this is because it’s a digital signal, but it would have been nice of them to tell you this in the manual.
The remote control that comes with the TV is pretty weak in my opinion. I don’t find it to be layed out very intuitively and it’s too large. Luckily I’m not planning on using it as I’ll likely convert to a Logitech Harmony programmable remote in the not too distant future.
Finally, I’ve noticed that non-HD shows seem to have a little more difficult displaying contrast between shades of black or other dark colors. I’m not sure if this is my cable box, the quality of the broadcast, or the actual TV. Anyway, it’s not that bad, but I do notice it. The simple solution is to just watch as much HD content as possible. :-)
The exceptional picture quality combined with the low price make this HD TV an outstanding bargain. For those that require lots of features such as picture-in-picture or high end internal audio systems you might want to move along to a Sony XBR, but for the money – at this point in time – the Sharp Aquos simply can’t be beat.