Sharp have been one of the world leaders in LCD screen production for several years since their Chairman took a bold corporate decision to cease CRT ("normal" TV) production and turn his factories over to LCD. This model is the odd one out in the recent Sharp line up, not only for its styling but as rightly pointed out by a previous reviewer on its focus on the current (rather than planned) UK PAL (broadcast standard) picture. Key points: 1. This Sharp is NOT fully HD Ready though from what I can gather it is HD compatible (it has the right connections to take the planned Sky HD box for example) but may not show the maximum definition possible with the new standard. Frankly, until HD comes to our homes I doubt we will know how compatible it really is. 2. The picture quality is excellent and easily on a par with the Sony Trinitron it replaced. 3. Setup for me was not entirely straightforward - the auto tuner is very good but when I attached the DVD player the auto set up chose the wrong colour standard (so all DVDs were heavily shaded red and green). It took me a long time to work through the comprehensive menus to find the right one and adjust the setting (to the point I was worried I had a dud TV on my hands). 4. The delay in switching between TV channels is annoyingly long and I do not know why this is necessary. In my case I have plugged in a freeview digibox and so all the channels are changed with this instantly so the problem has gone away. 5. The build quality is very good and it comes well packaged. I do not know if it will last as long as the 21 year old Sharp portable that is still giving faithful service as a kitchen TV, but it is well made! It summary I am very pleased with the set. It looks the part, has all the features and connectivity I need and has an excellent picture. With LCD prices coming down all the time perhaps the only question would be whether you spend a few more pounds on a fully HD ready TV now or consider that this is a wise choice for the next 5 to 8 years.
This is the best screen for those who watch "normal" TV and DVDs. I would even say, for the next years it is the best screen for most of us in Europe. This unique Sharp TV has the same number of lines and pixels as the good old european PAL/SECAM signal wich is stil the standard of most european chanels. Other LCDs or plasmas, with more lines and pixels, are made for future HDTV but are not able to show a satisfying PAL-picture. The artificial upscaling of the PAL-signal results in a very ugly, unsharp and slow picture. The PAL-opitmised Sharp TVs do not have to upscale. The picture is sharp, brilliant and fast. I would say, its the best picture you can get out of a PAL signal. Since it is stil a long way until HDTV will be broadcasted for free to our homes, it was a wise idea from Sharp to produce these PAL-optimised TVs. Now you can finaly watch a beautiful PAL picture on a flat screen. For future HD-broadcasting and HD DVDs this LCD-TV has a HDMI-input. In this case the signal will be downscaled, but the picture looks exremely good too, even better than PAL. I guess downscaling HD is less problematic than upscaling PAL. What I do not like is the very slow tuner. It takes about 3 seconds to switch from one chanel to the next. Conclusion: If you need a new TV, buy this one and wait with buying an expensive but now stil useless HDTV. It's not worth watching an ugly PAL picture on a HDTV every day. When most channels wil have switched to HD within the next 5 to 7 years also HDTVs will be cheaper and better than.
The picture on this set is truly luscious! Having read all the hype about the Aquos screen I went to see one in a local store and was very impressed with its appearance compared with the other "standard" LCDs. However it was a different story in another store; though the Sharp was better, the difference was small & you had to watch for a while before it became apparent. I took the plunge & ordered one - and I'm delighted with it! The picture displayed from an analogue aerial is superb; bright, clear, colourful; better than any LCD I've seen. When connected to my Freeview digital recorder, through the SCART input, there was a marked deterioration in quality. I realised that this could be due to the splitters/combiners I was using to connect the DVD & VCR into the system & rerouted the SCART cable straight to the TV. What a difference! I got as good a picture as with the analogue input. The only weak points seem to be that the set doesn't handle low light/shadows as well as a CRT would do; there is some reddish fringing around shadow areas. It also seems to be sensitive to signal quality; you will only get the best out of this set if you can provide a good signal - and it would be wise to use high quality SCART cables. The delay during channel changes has been mentioned - and the same applies to input selection changes. A bonus for me is the sound quality. This aspect doesn't seem to score highly with reviewers, but I find it excellent. I have to wear 2 hearing aids & I normally need to connect a loop system to the TV in order to hear it properly. I haven't needed that facility at all with the Sharp - and it doesn't seem to suffer the low volume problems often encountered when playing DVDs. If "half stars" were available, I'd give the set 4+1/2...it's only the low light & shadow performance that lets it down......but it's still the best LCD set I've seen.
I spent quite a while looking at LCD tvs before deciding on one of these. I finally bought it after comparing the Rugby over Freeview between an expensive Sony Bravia set and the Sharp. Sharps optimised for PAL design clearly works, as the pictures from the Sony were just unacceptable to me. and it more than a grand on top of the Sharps price.
Out of the box the display settings are not great, fiddling around (drop the color and backlight, up the contrast and brightness a bit) and it gets much better.
Look around the web and notice how many people complain about the mess that LCD tvs make of upscaling pictures from PAL res (576 lines) to fit the 768 vertical pixels of a high-def panel. This basically means that it is trying to guess what the extra bits of the picture are, all in realtime. This set doesn't have to do any of that, it just chops a few lines off the top and bottom of the picture to fit it onto 540 pixels. Leave it on interlaced scan and you see even less of the processing artifacts.
However, for watching freeview I would recommend getting a 26inch set unless you sit more than 12 feet away. I have a number of freeview adapters (Netgem, Topfield) to try and also an expenive, silver plated QED SQART cable (waste of money, £15 maplins cable is as good, but the QED looks great) and, although static pictures are great, I thought that movement with high-compression programmes (e.g. the Bill), was a bit funny. Pans could often be a bit jerky (you see it on other sets when the titles roll) and the ticker on BBC News 24 wasn't smooth.
I have since found out that it isn't the TVs fault, US programs like Desparate Housewives look great, for example.
I hooked it up via its HDMI connector to a Media PC running Nebula Digitv freeview adapters and the picture now is great, as good as analogue. None of the movement artifacts remain, even sports have no smearing of juddering. Pans are smooth and the ticker on BBC News 24 is smooth again. And that is running progressive rather than interaced.
It seems the picture looked a little funny because of the extra clarity (and size) of the Sharp over my previous tv. Hooking it up to the PC removes all the artifacts that appear to be added because the freeview adapters do not have enough horsepower. Bear this in mind when comparing LCD tvs, and when looking for a freeview adapter.
Running the Sharp from the PC also gives a glimpse of what a high-def picture will look like through it. From a normal viewing distance I reckon the difference will be minimal, and by the time high-def programming is common, that extra £1000 that the HiDef sets cost will buy a much better set than you can get now.
I held out for years to get a widescreen tv, as i saw LCD prices falling so much i decided to go for this tech rather than plasma or another crt. After a few months consideration i ordered a 32" Sharp P50E, and i was not disappointed. The picture is excellent for viewing non HD sorces Free View is excellent as are DVD's. Great Colour Deep Blacks and very good brightness levels. few HD ready sets can match this sets performance when viewing Standard Def SD sources as it is optimised for PAL SD sources. Amazing TV for the money.