Sharp LC-42LE540U Review


by , Senior Editor

More on the LC-42LE540U
LC-42LE540U Specifications


  • Bright picture with lively peak whites
  • Good processing for sports action
  • Very thorough menu system with lots of preset picture modes
  • Smart Central Internet TV Apps selection has most of the premium choices and Vudu Apps adds some value
  • Design is good for this size TV


  • Side Viewing Angles, color saturation decreases substantially
  • Web Browser is not functional
  • Film Mode for Blu Ray or DVD
  • Flat picture, lack of depth
  • Remote control buttons too small

Picture and Viewing Features Rating: 8/10

Sharp LC-42LE540U LED TV
The strong contrast is show in this picture on the 42LE540U

The Sharp LC-42LE540U LCD TV (backlit with LED lighting) has a great picture quality but does require some calibration out of the box as colors may seem a little over saturated especially in the Vivid Dynamic picture mode. One thing that I like about it is the ability to have two custom settings – one for maybe movies and one for broadcast or cable TV programming. They will look very different on this huge TV.

Back Light

What we recommend is turning up the backlight setting, and if you're in a brighter room you will definitely want to tune the Brightness setting up some as well to provide for better dark shadow detail. Though Sharp is consistently getting better at developing its Auto mode which senses room light and adjusts the picture accordingly, we still recommend leaving this feature off due to some flicker effects in the picture.

Film Mode

It's important to turn off the Film Mode setting when watching DVDs or Blu-Rays on this TV. Not doing so results in a soap opera effect, which destroys natural background blur in order to eliminate judder. I would rather have the judder and I think you will to. It's OK to leave the Film mode on for other types of programming.

To get to the important Film Mode setting: Click menu, picture settings, scroll down to the Advanced Settings option at the bottom, scroll down again to the bottom to click on Film Mode. The TV comes with the setting on. For any kind of film based material you will want to turn it off.

Side Angle Viewing

Sharp LE540U LED TV
The Sharp LC-42LE540U

Side angle viewing on the LC-42LE540U was slightly hazy as we noticed a loss of contrast and color saturation from around 20 degrees off center. This is a weak point of the LE540U which has a matte screen finish.

Features Rating: 8.2/10

Appearance and Design

The LE540U is an attractive television, the beveled edges on the top and bottom of the .75" bezel depth are made to look like brushed aluminum for a refined appearance. The actual depth of the TV is 2 inches but it from the sides the part of the frame you really see is only .75”. The frame is made of plastic and the screen is a matte black finish. It's a nice looking TV.

Internet Applications and Connectivity

Sharp Smart Central
Sharp's Smart Central Featured Apps Menu

Sharp has a pretty well rounded Internet TV suite that they also call "Smart TV". It has most of your standard featured paid and free services that are prominent in the industry such as Cinema Now, Netflix, Vudu Movies, Blockbuster on Demand, Facebook, Twitter. Vudu Apps adds some good value to the suite.

Dont count on the built in Internet browser to provide anything other than frustration. It's not useful at all. It's not a free web search but rather a Sharp proprietary search engine that only searches Sharp's results. Not good.

Bang for the Buck Rating: 8.2/10

The LC-42LE540U is slightly overpriced at around $600 however you do get those extra 2 inches over other manufacturers which are always 40”. Competition is the Sony KDL40EX640 or the Samsung UN40ES6100 which is more expensive.

Overall Rating: 8.1/10

Robert Wiley Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert

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