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Sharp LC46XD1E Picture Quality

by Vincent Teoh
2 May 2007

Standard Definition

As explained very clearly in Colin's viewing distance article, how far you sit from the screen (especially when watching low-resolution content on a high-resolution panel) will ultimately dictate your visual experience. Before you splash out on a gigantic HDTV, remember that no amount of scaling – certainly not inside the TV – can defy the law of proportions should you sit too close to the panel where you'll see the very same low bit-rate programmes blown up onto a large screen, complete with their own accompaniment of artifacts.

So while the Sharp LC46XD1EBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
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served up more optical real estate than the 40 to 42 inchers I'm used to, it also assaulted my eyes with magnified scan line and compression artifacts from my normal sitting distance of 8 feet. Granted, some channels were better than others, but to stop myself complaining every other second, I had to move back to 12 feet before the quality could be deemed acceptable across most channels.

Of course, if your sitting distance is limited by the size of your lounge, the other way to solve the problem is to introduce an external scaler (video processor, HTPC) into your video chain to boost the resolution of the content should you be insistent on a large screen.

Digital TV Broadcast

As captivated as I am by the Premiership title race (which should be all but over now) and the tussles in the UEFA Champions League as football season draws to a fitting climax, it was in the Crucible Theatre (or the transmission thereof) that I chose to assess how the Sharp LC46XD1EBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
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coped with standard terrestrial signal.

snooker ronnie

Motion was handled with a degree of fluidity seldom seen on LCD TVs: with each stun, top-spin, swerve and screwback, the balls glided across the snooker tables without any hint of smearing. The fluency of action was only broken up in spits and spurts by the remnant of staircasing and mosquito noise around the snooker balls (especially on fast movement) and jaggies on the cues (most obvious when being lowered/ raised before/ after each shot) that TruD's filter was unable to clean up.

The snooker broadcast also highlighted a couple of LC46XD1E's strengths. The blacks on this TV never strayed towards greyness; and even with such inkiness shadow detail was largely preserved – the delineation between Ronnie O'Sullivan's velvety black waistcoat and iron-pressed black shirt remained clear for all to see. And the green of the snooker table cloth was about as realistic as I've seen painted on any LCD TV.

High Definition

It's no surprise that most of the SD artifacts which peppered the Sharp LC46XD1EBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
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screen are banished to oblivion once you switch to high-definition content. In fact, one could argue that you need a large screen to fully appreciate the value of high definition. The high bitrate streaming allows you to move closer to the screen without suffering much loss in picture quality (due either to pixelations or compression/ scan line artifacts); and yet you can lap up all the fine detail and the immersive visual experience afforded by a wider viewing angle.

HD DVD

I'm the first to admit that I've never read any of Harry Potter's book, nor followed the plotline from the first three movies, but watching Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (HD) actually made me want to go back and do both... not least because I wish to fill myself in on quite a few details missing from this otherwise enjoyable movie rippling with spectacular special effects.

yule potter

I sat as close as 6 feet to the Sharp LC46XD1EBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
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... any closer and I would start noticing the pixel grids or the digital noise/ dithering shimmer. As could be expected from Underscan mode over HDMI, the pixels worked seamlessly to weave together a finely detailed image: the perceived sharpness not only brought the foreground to crisp realism, but also extended to the little intricacies in the background where fuzziness would normally prevail.

The colour temperature was just a touch cooler than I would've liked, but overall balance was satisfying with only a mild red push (needed to keep skin tones realistic). The deep blacks added punch to the picture, making it almost 3-dimensional at times.

But the most memorable bit for me was how a larger screen and hence a wider viewing angle dramatically heightened my cinematic experience. I was so engrossed in the action that I would get a sensorial jolt from each flap of Horntail's wings, and each blast from Voldermort's wand. In a similar vein, I was unwittingly swayed by the social dances gracing the Yule Ball. Never before have I derived such involvement from smaller screens... if anything it made me yearn for even bigger panels.

But to take nothing away from the Sharp LC46XD1EBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
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, its excellent black level, fine detail and sizable screen all summed up to a very magical experience indeed.


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