Sharp AQUOS LC37PD5X

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Sharp AQUOS LC37PD5X

Pros

  • Excellent image quality when viewing HD movies and regular DVDs, attractive design, integrated HDTV tuner, high quality speakers

Cons

  • Dithering on static images when playing HD games, only one HDMI port

Bottom Line

The Sharp LC37PD5X is a good quality television, but dithering issues when playing HD games prevents it from being considered excellent.

Would you buy this?

The Sharp AQUOS LC37PD5X is a 37in LCD television with a native resolution of 1366x768 and an integrated HDTV tuner. It sits at the low end of the Sharp line up which means that while it is still quite a good television, it's not perfect.

We tested the television by using it just as a regular viewer would. The most common uses for flat panels are HD gaming, HD movies and regular DVD viewing. In addition, for those that own Media Centre PCs, we also tested the PC connectivity.

Using both HD-DVD and Blu-ray films at 720p resolution, we were rather impressed. There was no discolouration and no pixelation to speak of. There was a little over-sharpening at default settings but turning the sharpness setting down to about 30 per cent solved that problem. Best of all, black levels were very good and whites were nice and pure. The detail was not lost in dark areas and there was no contrast stepping. We also performed the same tests in 1080i resolution with identical results.

The HD gaming tests did not fare so well. While the overall image quality was still quite good, there was something in these tests that we did not see when viewing HD films. When playing games there is always static elements like the score or user interface. It was along the edges of these parts of the image that we noticed what appeared to be dithering. Instead of rendering edges as one line of pixels, the panel draws them as a dotted line with one pixel on and the next off. This means that a great deal of edge definition is lost. We attempted to find a way to compensate for this issue using the on-screen calibration options but were unsuccessful. It didn't just extend to gaming though; we also found it when watching television in things like sporting scores or station identification. It is not hugely noticeable from a comfortable viewing distance but is a problem nonetheless and one that AV purists would tend to avoid. This issue was prevalent when connected by both HDMI and component cables.

Viewing standard-definition DVD films was no problem at all. The usual interpolation noise was present but it wasn't excessive in any way. Over-sharpening was present but it was easily correctable. There was no excessive noise or contrast stepping and the colours were reproduced without error. Just like the HD film tests, the dithering issues did not appear to affect moving images and on a whole, watching DVDs is more than satisfactory.

Connecting a PC to the panel via the VGA D-sub port, we were surprised that the dithering issue was not present. Since PC images are static, for the most part, we expected to see this problem rear its head but were pleased at its absence. The image quality via PC was excellent with desktop icons and text rendered well. Our DisplayMate Video Edition tests were all rendered well which suggests that this panel would be a good choice for Media Centre PC owners.

The on-screen calibration options don't include advanced options like six-axis colour control but since there was no oversaturated colours in any of our tests, this shouldn't be a problem. Like all Sharp panels, the speakers produced high fidelity sound, even at high volumes. The connection options include one HDMI, two component, two composite, one S-Video, one VGA D-sub and an optical audio-out to connect a HDMI device to a home theatre system. We would have liked to see more than one HDMI port, considering its growing popularity.

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