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Technology Behind Sharp LC42XD1E

by Vincent Teoh
17 February 2007

TruD

  • Accessed by: Menu > Picture > More > TruD
  • Demo by: TruD button on remote (flipaway compartment)
  • Recommended Setting: Off

The TruD chip was developed by a publicly listed Swiss semiconductor company called Micronas to perform the following functions:

  1. Vector-based motion compensated frame rate conversion to reduce judder
  2. Contrast and colour enhancement
  3. Sharpness enhancement

While each of these features has its own merit when used individually depending on source material, Sharp's broadbrush implementation of the TruD technology means that more often than not the picture quality is degraded rather than improved.

For example, the contrast and colour boost was pleasing to the eye, but the sharpness enhancement brought about unwanted ringing (albeit minimal). On film material (e.g. movies, newer TV series like Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Robin Hood), the frame rate conversion aspect of TruD introduced unnatural motion artifacts - as Robin Hood fled from the chasing pack of dogs, his movements looked robotic and sped up with a hint of ghosting.

If you insist on taking advantage of the TruD feature because you've already paid for it as part of the price of your Sharp LC42XD1E, reserve it only for video material such as sports or news broadcasts.

TruD Demo: What's Going On?

We're not sure if the following scenario is specific to our set, but we thought that the TruD demo was misleading in nature. Check out this photo of it in action:

trud

Now, given that the TruD-processed image on the right is noticeably sharper (although jaggies are accentuated too) than the original image on the left, this is surely an impressive demonstration of TruD's prowess, right?

Wrong.

On our set, despite disabling TruD from the main menu, what the demo actually did was to blur the left side of the image (the one labelled "TruD off") while preserving the original image on the right (labelled "TruD on"). To verify this, simply go to a channel where there's scrolling horizontal text (e.g. BBC News 24, Sky News); pay attention to the sharpness and detail of the text, press the TruD demo button (located in the flipaway compartment on the remote) and you'll see the blurring effect being applied to the part of the picture labelled "TruD off".

We're not entirely sure if this scenario is specific to our set (for example, TruD reverting to default on mode despite being turned off), so we have written to Sharp and will also clarify with other owners.

Black Expansion

  • Accessed by: Menu > Picture > More > Black
  • Recommended Setting: Off

Designed to boost shadow detail in dark areas, the Sharp Aquos "Black Expansion" is in fact a crude gamma adjustment applied primarily to the darker parts of an image. In our real-life testing the effect was barely noticeable, but more importantly it came at the expense of the brighter parts of the image - overall gamma balancing meant that the top-end contrast was reduced, as illustrated by the S-shape disruption to the gamma curve evident in the following graphs:

blackoff blackon
Gamma curve with "Black" off
Gamma curve with "Black" on

Optimum Picture Control (OPC)

  • Accessed by: OPC button (flipaway compartment)
  • Recommended Setting: Off

OPC automatically senses the brightness in your room and adjusts the LC42XD1E's backlight for you. However, as we found that OPC failed to get it right 50% of the time, we turned it off and adjusted our backlight manually using the generous 16-step gradation: increased during the day; lowered in the evening.


Back To: LC42XD1E Review

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