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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sharp Aquos LC-32D6U

Look at the back panel of the Sharp Aquos LC-32D6U, and you could mistake it for the back of HP's LC3200N--that's because Sharp makes many of the components of the HP model, including the glass. The on-screen menus look identical too, except that the LC3200N adds six-color adjustments for hue, saturation, and image value. The LC3200N also has more ports than the Aquos, though the Aquos has plenty of them. However, unlike HP, Sharp says you can't connect a cable set-top box to its set's HDMI port; you have to use the unit's component inputs instead.

By a very narrow margin, the Aquos earned the top mark among our current test group for display of high-definition programming. It also received the best marks of the group for standard-definition programming by a pretty healthy margin; but as on all HD sets we've tested, SD content still looked grainy, with garish colors. It also did well when displaying a DVD movie, but our judges liked the DVD image quality of the Samsung LN-R328W even more--as a result, the Aquos came in second overall in image quality. We noted, though, that Sharp's alternate picture modes (such as movie mode or dynamic mode) greatly improved its image quality.

Sharp touts a "Quick Shoot" mode in which the panel's pixel response time is less than 12ms, but I couldn't see a difference in the content we use to test TVs. I saw only a hint of ghosting--about the same amount as with the other LCD TVs we've tested recently. Our judges noted too that the color shifted slightly depending on the angle of view; again, that was common to all of the sets in the test group.

The Aquos comes in a bronze-tone cabinet with a speaker panel that attaches below the screen. The speakers project a pretty good virtual surround-sound mode, but the audio quality is just average. Though the screen tilts and swivels, you need to put in lots of effort to tilt the screen exactly where you want it, and the feet on the stand included with our test unit wobbled so much that we had to put magazines under the feet to stabilize it. The long, thin remote control has tiny buttons that require a very firm push to actuate.

Upshot: The Aquos has a fine picture, but for $100 less HP's similar unit offers even greater control over image quality, as well as more ports.

Source: pcworld

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