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Sharp LC42XD1E Setup & Design
The Sharp LC42XD1E arrived in a typical brown box labelled as "Fragile" with handling instructions on top. The most notable one stated that the box should be transported upright, an advice normally reserved for plasmas due to the sheer weight and fragility of their glass. As LCD TVs get bigger and heavier, this practice should become more commonplace - their own weight could theoretically lead to panel fracture when transported in a flat/ inclined position.
As with most boxes that come with modern HDTVs, the walls of the box housing the LC42XD1E could be lifted up out of the way to reveal the beautiful panel within. Interestingly the whole package was held together only by the interior and 2 polyester straps without any detachable plastic latches typically seen on other cartons.
Nice of Sharp to include a dust and fingerprint repellent for the bezel
The gloss black bezel of the panel was initally covered by protective plastic stripes which was unsurprising given its notorious reputation as a dust and fingerprint magnet. The matching stand was not attached to the panel at shipment, and required assembly out of the box.
While this could be accomplished alone without any difficulty under 5 minutes, lifting the panel to fit it on the finished stand would be infinitely easier if handled by 2 person. Should you wish to wall-mount the Sharp LC42XD1E (an appealing idea given its relatively low weight), you would need to purchase the wall bracket separately.
The A4-sized manual looked more daunting that it actually is: only 37 pages were in English; the rest were filled up by German, French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish instructions.
I approached the manual in my usual stumbling fashion... started from page 1, got bored within 30 seconds, put it down and started working on the TV, only returning to the manual when I got stuck. I must admit that the manual felt a bit cumbersome especially when I was trying to operate the remote with one hand and flip the pages with the other.
No glaring oversight I could see in the manual... perhaps the only omission being that there was no mention of using DVI-HDMI with "Underscan" mode when explaining how to connect a PC to the LC42XD1E.
I'm normally not a big fan of gloss black bezel due to its reflective properties, but curiously I found Sharp's offering aesthetically pleasing. The matt-black LCD screen was surrounded by piano black glossy bezel, the bottom border of which yawned to partially cover a thin strip of silver cabinet containing the speakers.
When put in place, the stand not only provided a solid foundation for the panel, but also blended harmoniously with the bezel with its gloss black coating. This stand does not swivel nor tilt, which suited me just fine as I believe that swiveling/ tilting stands and gloss black bezels do not mix. Try connecting a HDMI cable at the back of a TV with a swiveling stand while trying not to leave a fingerprint on the gloss black bezel at the front... and you'll see what I mean.
On the top right of the panel there were 4 buttons - Power, Menu, Program and Volume - that could save your life should your dog eat your remote control.
Click picture to enlarge
All credit to Sharp, they've labelled their connection interface clearly and made them extremely accessible. Located in a recess at the back of the LC42XD1E, the connections opened leftwards offering plenty of working space. 3 minor issues:
1) There is no dedicated component input. However, a component-VGA adaptor cable is supplied so the Sharp LC42XD1E can still accept component signal through its VGA port.
2) The VGA (or component with adaptor cable) input accepts audio signal through a 3.5mm stereo jack instead of the more common dual phono (RCA) socket. This means that to play the sound from your Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii through your TV, you'd need to buy a dual phono to 3.5mm stereo jack adaptor.
3) Why is the headphone jack located here at the back of the TV? It should be at front or side of the panel... it's tough trying to sift through the spaghetti of cables at the back of the TV to plug your headphone into the right socket.
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