Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
A solid, no-fuss 720p HD TV
- Great colour, excellent detail in dark areas, motion is well handled
- Some pixelation detracts from sharpness, blacks lack depth, connectivity is somewhat limited
Sharp's LC-37D33X is a fairly solid mid-range LCD TV. Its 720p native resolution is fine for both HD and SD viewing, but the image does have some pixelation issues that may irritate some users.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
Filling the gap for users who want a TV upgrade but aren’t willing or able to splurge on a large 1080p panel, Sharp’s LC-37D33X is a mid-range 37in screen. It performed relatively well in our tests, but had a few issues with pixelation, black levels and sound quality that stopped it from getting top marks.
As this is a slightly smaller screen, it isn’t full HD. Instead it has a native resolution of 1366x768 — 720p high definition. That said, it is more than capable of downscaling 1080p content and does so quite well, with no interpolation or aberrations. It lacks some of the more advanced features you’ll find on higher-end models (like 100Hz playback), but we didn’t really miss them too much.
Picture quality was pretty good on the whole. We were particularly impressed with how well noise was controlled in our high-definition tests. We used several films that have grainy production and they were beautifully rendered with very little noise evident.
The usual detail you’d expect from high-definition footage was there, but it was somewhat obscured by pixelation in certain areas. We particularly noticed this on the Xbox 360’s menus and the main menu of our HD films, but it was also present to some extent during playback.
Fortunately, colour balance was pretty good. We tested using both the cinema and standard modes; as usual, the movie mode dulled things down a little. However, both looked great and which one you use really just comes down to personal preference. Skin tones were well rendered and colours were vibrant without being blown out.
Motion was also well reproduced. There were no signs of judder and on the whole everything looked clean and smooth. Ghosting was also kept to a minimum, with only faint signs of trailing.
We were a little disappointed with the blacks. With no image shown on the screen everything looked a little pale, with a slightly blue tinge. Things improved a little during playback, but the blacks are still not up to the standard of some of the better units on the market. Contrast, however, was nicely handled, with excellent shadowing and pretty good detail in dark areas.
In our standard-definition tests the LC-37D33X excelled. It is always easier for a 720p screen to render SD footage than a 1080p screen, as it has less scaling to do. We spotted a reasonable amount of image noise but this is pretty standard when up-scaling content; apart from some of the afore-mentioned pixelation the image was impressive. Colours were accurate, contrast was great and the overall image was clear.
We also ran a quick PC test that showed mixed results. The screen connected to our laptop fine and ran at its native resolution, but there was a little oversharpening visible on text which resulted in a few artefacts. On the flip side, colour and contrast were both well handled, with our DisplayMate Video Edition charts very nicely rendered.
Connectivity is pretty basic, with only two HDMI ports, two component ports and a single composite connection. This should be adequate for most users but doesn’t compare to the selection on most larger panels.
We quite liked the design. It isn’t really a departure from past units, with a sleek, gloss black bezel that is slim and attractive. It will fit most modern home entertainment setups.
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