LED-backlit HDTVs once were an expensive rarity, but that's changing. Sharp Electronics' new line of Aquos HDTVs offer the premium of LED backlighting. The advantage of LED backlighting: It can boost black levels and minimize power consumption, even while still providing a superior level of brightness.
The new 32- (US$1,100), 40- ($1,700), 46- ($2,200) and 52-inch ($2,800) LE700-series Aquos LED TVs use Sharp's UltraBrilliant LED backlighting technology, which features a full array of evenly spaced LEDs behind a diffusing panel. The 120-Hz TVs are rated for 4ms pixel-response rates, and have motion-smoothing dejudder technology. The TVs also have an immpressively wide angle of view, 176-degrees.
The LCD panels feature a pixel-control technology that reduces light leakage, thus enhancing blacks, and a wider aperture design that allows more light to pass through, thus improving brightness, according to Sharp. Not included, however, is a local dimming feature, which would allow the backlighting LEDs in a specific zone to be shut off as needed to further enhance blackness.
A Sharp spokesperson says Sharp intends the LE700 "to be a widely distributed series, offering the utmost in value to the consumer. Local dimming is a more expensive technology, so to keep the price low it's not included in this series. [Sharp is] definitely looking into it for future models." Local-dimming LED backlit ShArp TV's are reportedly already available in Japan.
The new TVs are also power-aware. To help reduce power consumption in dim environments, they can detect ambient light and adjust brightness accordingly. The 40-inch and larger models come with Aquos Net, a collection of Web-based features such as news, sports, and weather reports; and Aquos Advantage Live, an online link that allows support technicians to remotely diagnose problems or otherwise configure the TVs.
Sharp also added two units to its snazzier-looking E77 series AQUOS LED TVs: the 65 inch LC-65E77UM ($4,500) and its first-ever 60-inch unit, the $3,500 LC-60E77UN. Both 120Hz 1080p units feature 4ms pixel response, black cabinets with gold highlights and Sharp's Advanced Super View Superlucent Panel, which has a smoothed surface that reduces reflections, according to Sharp.
Built into all of the new LE700 and E77 series LCD TVs are four HDMI ports, two component video inputs and an RS-232C port for custom installations.