Sharp Aquos Review
Model: Sharp LC-52E77U
Description: 1920 X 1080 HD LCD TV
Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Date: Fall 2009
The Sharp LC-52E77U displayed this dark city scene from Blu Ray documentary Blue Planet with good definition though black levels degrade from side angle viewing.
Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 15 feet
Calibration Notes: The LC-52E77U contains fairly easy to use calibration tools including white balance settings controls without having to access the service menu. The E77U contains a BLUE push that we found difficult to reduce. See extended Calibration Notes here. Below are are final picture settings to bring the user close to D6500 without accessing the service menu:
|For complete picture settings including white balance see our LC-52E77U Calibration Page|
480i DVD and Broadcast Viewing: As difficult and unpredictable as the E77U series is with calibration, the same applies to the picture experience. At times the LC-52E77U had ultra saturated looking blacks and great contrast. At others the picture appeared washed out during dark scenes. There is a lot of processing going on with this TV at many different levels. The internal picture doctor is hard at work. Therefore we viewed a lot of source material on it to try to get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses. There are motion artifacts of varieties – swimmy effects with side to side jerky motion. At times there is flicker and background noise. In other scenes the presentation looked fantastic, clear, vivid and colorful. The 3D-Y/C feature is available for analog signals and is intended to minimize dot crawl and cross color noise.
This shot from the 480i DVD of Sea Biscuit shows a vivid realistic picture, with goog black levels and color.
720p/1080i/1080p Picture Quality: HD picture presentation from the E77U series was clean and sharp and the colors are very saturated. There is still a jerky side to side motion artifact effect present. Since there is a lot of processing going on with the internal video chip sets we recommend turning the Sharpness control all the way down to nil. As well, tune the Digital Noise Reduction feature to the Low setting. Except for fast motion sports programming turn the Fine Motion Enhanced (120 Hz feature) to the Off position. We did not note any of the kitchy, card board cutout effects from this feature as with many 120hz TVs. The feature does however introduce some depth reduction. Then lastly, the OPC (optimum picture control) feature effectively increases and decreases contrast and brightness (through backlight manipulation) presentation based on the content and your room viewing conditions. In a brightly lit room I would leave this feature turned On. Otherwise, turn it off to eliminate as much processing noise as possible.
This shot from Blu Ray documentary Blue Planet displays great definition, color, and contrast.
Black Level/Contrast: Overall ANSI post calibration contrast
measured a respectable 855:1. The black levels from front and center
appeared deep and saturated and the TV seemed plenty bright.
This shot from Sea Biscuit shows good brightness in the background and yet saturated black levels in the foregroung - a recipe for good contrast.
Dark Shadow Detail: Though black levels are saturated we feel shadow detail is weak. The 52E77U seems to opt for the inky blacks in areas where more detail is needed. Call it over saturation. The OPC feature substantially helps this issue but may cause other video noise to be introduced.
Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: With most content colors appear pleasantly rich. With some content they fall into the washed out, or over saturated category. Again so much depends on the control features and processing.
Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: Black appearance begins to take on a purplish hue at around 45% on the E77U. The viewing angle is actually quite good all the way to 80 degrees (from the side) but with the noted contrast and black distortion.
Motion Lag: There was notable jerkiness in scenes with side to side movement. The effects were reduced with the 120hz Fine Motion Enhanced feature turned on, but were still present.
False Contouring/ Mapping: Our HQV testing did expose some moire' pattern in the stadium seating test, though we did not see much false contouring in our video test material.
Features: There are many effective advanced picture control features in the 52E77U. Knowing when to use them will be tricky. As mentioned above this TV has 120hz frame rate conversion called Fine Motion Enhanced which was effective in not adding a lot of unnecessary background information as many we've tested.. The included anti glare screen is effective but may hurt black levels at angles. There is an OPC (optimum picture control) setting in the picture menu if the user wants automatic adjustment of the backlighting for varying room light conditions and content. This feature is controversial as picture purists may want to keep it off. However I found it to work surpringly well and it may be quite useful for brightly lit rooms or rooms in which room light is changing regularly. The LC-52E77U's features are well thought out and effective.
Inputs: Very sufficient with PC 15 pin D-sub, 4 HDMI, USB port, 2 Component.
Aesthetic Considerations: The thin gloss bezel frame is shapely and attractive with thin 1.5” beveled edges on the sides and top. There is a dark brown accented bottom (nearly unnoticeable – it looks black in the room). The included table top stand is also attractive and conveniently swivels side to side. Depth is somewhat inhibiting at 4.4.”
Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The remote control has a small Blu Ray function box for the DVD Pop up and title list. Overall, the remote buttons are much too small. The menu button is a little dot. Despite using the remote control frequently, it was difficult to become comfortable with locating important keys. The menu system is small, cryptic and difficult to see from a distance, though it is easy to navigate and with plenty of features. The user will need to scroll down the Picture Menu to the Advanced Picture Menu for most of the optional picture features.
Audio Output: There is great volume and upper range output on this TV. Sharp has one of the best audio presentations in the business. The 15W X 15W speakers will surprise you. We could hear clearly at 30% output and the voice clarity is top notch.
Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: 4:3, Zoom, Stretch, and Dot by Dot round out the effective options.
The LC-52E77U is priced very aggresively by Sharp at around $1500. Sharp has lowered prices of their LCD TV lineups to become a price/value leader from what was a premium price manufacturer. Therefore, I believe they are offering a lot of value compared to the competition. The Samsung LN55B650 is a good competitor comparison at $1900. LG's 55LH40 is priced around $1700 and has some similar specs while the LG 55LH55 series has a few better specs and picture quality and is $1800. The Sony KDL-52V5100 has ample specs and is priced around $1700 as well. We will not get into a 50" plasma comparison as plasma still has the much better value in quality to price. These comparisons are one of the reason we have recently begun pointing to some of Sharp's capable lineup in our editors choice value recommendations.
Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.
Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sony Playstation 3 60GB Console, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.
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