A flat panel 1080p television set is what video enthusiast dreams are made of. That’s because a 1080p set can display every single pixel of information contained in the top high definition sources available today. By “top high definition sources” I’m referring to the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, of course. The great news about buying a 1080p television set is that it will not become updated for years to come. The Sharp LC52D62U is a 52-inch LCD television set capable of full 1080p resolution and retails for $4299. This big screen LCD TV is one of the latest additions to Sharp’s Aquos line and shares the same design and features as its smaller sibling, the 46-inch LC46D62U model.
On the outside, the LC52D62U is a giant beauty. Its screen is surrounded by a piano black bezel that curves slightly at the bottom. The front bezel is completely free of any buttons and at first sight it appears that this set does not contain any speakers. But a closer inspection reveals a slim silver speaker enclosure recessed below the screen. It’s a clever design that virtually makes the speakers disappear. A plastic glossy black table-top stand comes included with the set which is of course easily removable if you want to wall mount the set.
The LC52D62U’s 1080p spec means that it has a native screen resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Other technical specs include a quick 4 millisecond response time, a 450 cd/m2 brightness and a 2000:1 contrast ratio (10,000:1 dynamic). A new 4-wavelenght backlight system provides an enhanced colour reproduction, especially in the reds. The LC52D62U contains a trio of tuners including NTSC, ATSC and QAM. The LC52D62U offers four 1080p inputs; two HDMI version 1.2a and two component. Standard video inputs include a single S-video and three composite. A VGA input is not provided which is too bad, so the only way to connect a computer to this set is by using a DVI to HDMI cable (assuming that your computer has a DVI output). All audio and video inputs are located on the back of the TV. There are no convenient front inputs on this set which means that you’ll always have to reach around the back to plug anything in. This is an obvious issue of you choose to permanently wall mount this television.
The supplied remote is the same remote that’s included with most of Sharp’s television sets. The remote is fully backlit (hooray!), so you won’t have to guess where the buttons are when watching television in a dark room. The Input button displays an on-screen menu that shows all available inputs, which can be assigned custom labels. Arrow keys on the remote are used to select the desired input. The remote is larger than I’d like it to be and not as comfortable to hold as other remotes. An all important AV Mode (picture presets) button is hidden behind a flap door along with some other buttons, which makes these buttons frustrating to use.
Setup of the LC52D62U was pleasant thanks to its attractive and easy to navigate on-screen menus. Five colour temperature presets are available, of which I found the Low setting to be the most accurate. The LC52D62U offers a choice of six picture presets most of which are not very accurate or pleasing to watch. If you’re not planning to calibrate this set, the best mode to use is Movie. I found this mode to produce the most accurate colours with the lowest amount of noise and pixilation. I do however recommend to use a disc like the Digital Video Essentials to get the best performance from this set.
Regular 480p video supplied by our Pioneer Elite DV-46AV player and our satellite box (connected via component video) displayed good detail on the LC52D62U. This television definitely produced some of the deepest black levels that I have seen from an LCD TV. The contrast and shadow detail were also the strong points of this set. Dark scenes from Underworld: Evolution contained lots of details that are often concealed by LCD TVs. The colours were fairly accurate for an LCD TV, although I did notice a slight blue tint to the overall picture. However during most material that I watched, colours appeared vivid enough and flesh tones looked natural. The off-axis performance of this set was also quite impressive. The colours and contrast did not change much at all, when I moved off to the sides of my usual seating position. The LC52D62U exhibited only the slightest motion lag thanks to its quick 4 millisecond response time.
To evaluate the LC52D62U’s high definition performance, I watched a couple of Blu-ray movies though our PlayStation 3 console connected with an HDMI cable. Scenes from Flyboys were filled with unbelievable detail. Individual blades of grass were clearly visible in outdoor shots. Character’s faces contained all of the details and imperfections otherwise only seen in real life. In close-up shots, I was able to see individual pieces of hair on the pilot’s unshaven faces. The characteristics of various textures such as clothing or aircraft parts were clearly distinct and real looking on the screen. Animated movies such as The Wild and Ice Age: The Meltdown looked super crisp on this set. The 1080p picture performance was without question the forte of this Sharp TV.
Unfortunately the Sharp did exhibit a couple of screen uniformity issues. First, the backlight of our test unit was not consistent, both the left and right sides of the picture appeared brighter than the middle of the screen. This was easily noticeable especially during darker scenes. Secondly, light and dark horizontal bands appeared across the entire screen whenever the camera panned across the screen. These bands were particularly visible in the brighter areas of the picture and disappeared as soon as the camera stopped moving. Apparently Sharp is aware of this banding issue and not every set suffers from this defect.
Overall, I was pleased with the LC52D62U’s deep black level, contrast and colours. I was also quite satisfied with how it handled different video signals that I sent its way. Low quality signals looked acceptable on this set’s 52-inch screen, which is not an easy feat for such a large screen set. High resolution signals looked absolutely fantastic on this set, which makes it a great match for high definition programming as well as the latest Blu-ray and HD DVD players. The LC52D62U’s only downfall was its banding issue mentioned above. However, I would imagine that Sharp has addressed this issue in the latest shipments of these sets. You should definitely check with Sharp if you’re considering pickup up one of these sets. In my opinion, $4299 is a fair price to pay for this 52-inch LCD television set that is guaranteed to not become outdated any time soon.
$4299 MSRP (Canadian)
• Screen size: 52-inches
• Native resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
• Response time: 4 ms
• Brightness: 450 cd/m²
• Backlight: 4-wavelength
• Contrast ratio: 2000:1 (10,000:1 dynamic)
• Viewing Angle: 176º horizontal / 176º vertical
• Built-in tuners: NTSC/ATSC/QAM
• HDMI inputs: version 1.2a x 2
• Size (WxHxD): 1263 mm X 869 mm X 309 mm
• Weight: 40.5 kg