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Sharp LC-60LE925UN 3D LED LCD HDTV Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
4 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4 Stars

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Sharp_LC-60LE925UN_3D_LED_LCD_HDTV_Review_leaves.gifThe LE925 Series is Sharp's first 3D-capable TV line, and it includes screen sizes of 52 and 60 inches. Like most of the current 3D-capable flat panels, the LC-60LE925UN requires active-shutter glasses and uses frame-sequential stereoscopic 3D technology, in which the TV alternately flashes a full-resolution left-eye and right-eye image. (Later this year, we'll see 3D-capable flat panels that use passive glasses, but these displays can only show half the vertical resolution with 3D content.) The shutters in the glasses open and close in sync with the signal to direct the appropriate image to each eye. Sharp kindly includes two pairs of active-shutter glasses as part of the package price (a $300 value; additional pairs of the KOPTLA002WJQZ glasses cost $150 each), and the IR emitter that syncs the 3D glasses with the TV is built into the front panel. The LC-60LE925UN supports 2D-to-3D conversion. Also, in a feature unique to Sharp thus far, the glasses will convert 3D back to 2D; so, if other people in the house are watching 3D content and you'd rather not, you can switch back to 2D (but you have to keep the glasses on, obviously).

Additional Resources
• Read more 3D HDTV reviews from the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Pair this TV with the Sharp BD-HP80U 3D Blu-ray player.

The LC-60LE925UN employs Sharp's Quattron technology, which adds yellow to the standard red/green/blue color filter. The TV uses Sharp's 10-bit X-Gen LCD panel and an edge LED lighting system. Sharp's AquoMotion 240 technology is available to reduce motion blur, while various de-judder options can produce smoother movement with film sources. The AQUOS Net Web platform features Netflix and VUDU video-on-demand, as well as Web widgets and the AQUOS Advantage Live program that provides instant access to live customer support. You can connect to a home network via wired Ethernet or the supplied wireless LAN adapter, and the TV also supports IP control. The LC-60LE925UN has EnergyStar 4.0 certification and an MSRP of $3,499.99.

Sharp-LC-60LE925UN_LED_3D_HDTV_review_front.gifSetup and Features
Sharp has made good strides in the aesthetic department. The panel has a single-pane design with no raised bezel; it features a glossy black finish with a clear trim along the bottom and a pair of down-firing speakers. The square, swiveling base is gloss-black in the center and fades to clear at the outer edges. The use of edge LED lighting allows this 60-inch TV to have a relatively slim profile of 1.6 inches, but it's still quite heavy, weighing 99.2 pounds on its own and 122.4 pounds with the stand attached. The screen is reflective, as opposed to the traditional matte screen found on many LCDs. The TV's front face includes a touch-sensitive control panel, with icons that indicate each button's position and function. Sharp augments these icons with text positioned above each button, which I think detracts from the otherwise stylish look. The supplied remote lacks backlighting and dedicated input buttons, and it doesn't include a full keyboard for easier text input with Web content. I'd use the word "utilitarian" to describe the LC-60LE925UN's remote and onscreen interface. While there's nothing especially wrong with Sharp's implementations, there's nothing especially exciting about them, either. Other manufacturers are taking design risks and trying to create a more intuitive user experience, and Sharp feels a step behind in this respect.

The thorough connection panel includes four HDMI inputs (all side-facing), as well as one component video input, one PC input, and one RF input to access the internal ATSC/Clear-QAM tuners. Other connections include an Ethernet port for network connectivity, dual USB ports for media playback (including Divx) and the wireless LAN adapter, and RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system.

The LC-60LE925UN's setup menu includes most of the advanced picture controls we like to see. In addition to nine picture modes, you'll find an adjustable backlight and an automatic brightness sensor called OPC; five color-temp presets, plus RGB gain (lo and high) controls to fine-tune the white balance (this TV lacks the 10-point white balance controls you'll find in some higher-end models); a color management system to adjust the hue, saturation, and value (brightness) of all six color points; gamma adjustment; and digital noise reduction. You can choose to enable or disable Quad Pixel Plus technology, which is designed to produce smoother diagonal lines. The QPP function did reduce jaggies in test patterns and didn't seem to have any adverse effect on performance, so I see no reason why you wouldn't use it. The LC-60LE925UN has four aspect-ratio options for SD content and five options for HD, including a Dot by Dot mode for viewing 1080i/1080p images with no overscan.

The LC-60LE925UN doesn't have a true 240Hz refresh rate: It has a 120Hz refresh rate, and you can select between four Motion Enhancement options that affect the actual output. In the off mode, the TV duplicates frames to produce 120Hz. The "120Hz High" and "120Hz Low" modes add varying degrees of frame interpolation to create new frames to get to 120Hz. Finally, AquoMotion 240 flashes the LEDs to create a 240Hz effect that's designed to more effectively reduce motion blur (we'll discuss performance in the next section). While the above options apply to all types of content (both video and film), the Film Mode menu includes some adjustments that are specific to film. You can choose a standard film mode in which the TV performs basic 3:2 pulldown detection, or you can select an "Advanced (High)" or "Advanced (Low)" mode that will use frame interpolation to reduce judder in film-based sources.

When the LC-60LE925UN detects a 3D signal, it automatically switches to a special 3D video mode, in which you can choose between three preset picture modes: Standard 3D, Movie 3D, and Game 3D. These modes account for the fact that the 3D glasses will alter the image's brightness and color. However, you still have access to most of the picture controls I described above, with the exception of the Motion Enhancement and Film Mode menus, in order to adjust the image as you see fit. The 3D menu adds a 3D Brightness Boost function, with low, middle, and high options. There's also a special 3D setup menu under Systems Options that includes the ability to enable or disable 3D auto start (to auto-detect 3D content), engage 2D-to-3D conversion (with a 16-step depth adjustment), and display the amount of time you've been watching 3D content. You can also run a 3D test to check/confirm operation. The setup menu lacks controls to switch the left-eye/right-eye signals or adjust the 3D effect to compensate for viewing angle.

On the audio side, the setup menu offers treble, bass, and balance controls, as well generic auto volume, bass enhancer, and clear voice functions. There's also a 3D Surround menu with four preset pseudo-surround options, including 3D Hall, 3D Movie, 3D Standard, and normal. Dialogue sounded hollow and awkward through all of these modes, except the normal mode. The down-firing speakers have decent dynamic ability, and vocals aren't excessively tinny, but I still recommend you use an external sound system.

As I mentioned, you can add the LC-60LE925UN to your home network via a wired or wireless connection. My sample didn't come with the wireless LAN adapter, so I used the Ethernet port. Once connected, I launched AQUOS Net via the remote's Apps button. A simple toolbar runs along the bottom of the screen; it covers the image slightly, but it's also opaque so that you can still see what's behind it. The Apps options are VUDU, Netflix, AQUOS Net, USB Media, and Advantage. While it may look on paper like the Sharp platform doesn't have as many options as some of its competitors, the VUDU service includes VUDU Apps, with options for Facebook, Pandora, Picasa, Flickr, Twitter, and more. The big omissions in the Sharp platform are YouTube, Amazon VOD, and DLNA media streaming. As with most current Netflix apps, this one does not currently include the ability to browse content and order it directly from the app. You must add titles to your online queue.

Performance
The benefit of Quattron four-color technology is debatable. Some argue that the current production standard for film and TV content is based on RGB, so the addition of yellow doesn't provide any real benefit and could do more harm than good. Sharp claims that the addition of yellow will help improve the "range of yellows" that the TV can produce and is especially effective in the reproduction of richer yellow and gold. Both arguments proved somewhat true in my review sample. I certainly spent more time thinking about color with this TV than I normally do. As with most non-THX-certified TVs, I began my evaluation using the LC-60LE925UN's movie mode. Even during setup, I could see in the color-bar patterns on Digital Video Essentials (DVD International) that most of the colors looked off. Because of Quattron, I expected different hue and saturation in yellow and green, but I wasn't expecting such a dramatic difference in most every color. Red, green, cyan, and magenta were all much darker than normal in test patterns. When I switched to real-world HDTV content, I compared the Sharp with the Samsung UN46C8000, which has mostly accurate color. On the Sharp, blue and cyan consistently looked dark and/or muted. Magenta lipstick on women sometimes appeared overly pronounced. Most problematic were the LC-60LE925UN's skintones, which had too much red in them. With bright content, the movie mode's low color-temp preset looked fairly neutral; however, as the image grew darker, the color temp grew cooler and skintones grew redder. On a positive note, blacks didn't have the overly blue tinge I saw on the Samsung.

Read more about the LC-60LE925UN's performance on Page 2.


continue to page two
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