Thinking back to when Sharp introduced the first AQUOS LCD television in response to an overwhelming amount of plasma displays, I remember the term "poor man's plasma" being used to describe LCD. (I think I even used it myself.)
The obvious advantage of the AQUOS line is their prices versus those of plasmas. However, the downfall came in the size of displays that were offered – up to about 30 inches. It was a good market because plasmas did not dip below the 40-inch range, so there were never really any head-to-head battles between the two.
It didn't take long before plasma prices were plummeting, and this meant the AQUOS line would have to increase screen size in order to remain an alternative.
What most people don't realize is that plasma is far from perfect when it comes to
color saturation and black levels. That is not to say that LCD is perfect. However, like anything, there are differences between good plasma and poor plasma. And though LCD technologies remain more consistent--here, again, there are good and bad displays.
LCD does have one clearly defined advantage over plasma in that LCD consistently produces a better picture with standard cable and analog broadcasts than that of plasma. I would go so far as to say that plasma looks terrible with cable and analog broadcasts.
Unique Features - The LC-37HV6U AQUOS features a one-bit internal amplifier to power the large removable speaker system on the lower portion of the display panel. Using the DVI combination cable provided with the AQUOS, I simply connected the display to the AVC outboard controller/tuner. I ran standard cable, upconverted signals and DVD (component) into the AVC controller. The AVC controller features two Y/Pr/Pb HD component video inputs, four composite and S-Video inputs and outputs (with audio), two coaxial antenna inputs, one coaxial output, one DVI input/output and one RS-232 output. Additionally, the AVC features speaker-level outputs. Frontal composite, S-Video and RS-232 inputs and a headphone jack are also featured. With just two power cables, I was soon into the setup menu.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - I removed the tabletop stand and instead mounted the AQUOS on the wall, using a mount available from Sharp. The bracket was simple and effective for flat mounting purposes and the process of taking the stand off and installing the wall mount was extremely simple.
The remote control supplied with the AQUOS is rather large, but facilitates all functions by color-coded and segregated means. The buttons are also large and easy to read. And though the remote lacks the stylish look and feel of the AQUOS LCD, it is effective just the same.
The menu and setup is excellent. The graphics are superb and the process is quite intuitive. I did not have the need to refer to the detailed instruction booklet once, but it was a comfort to have.
Within minutes, the AQUOS walked me through the setup process and acquired all the channels provided by my cable network. Overall, I was very pleased with the simple and intuitive process; from unpacking to connecting to viewing the display--well done, Sharp.
Final Take - The LC-37HV6U 37-inch AQUOS television display from Sharp represents a culmination of years of market research and engineering. The slight, subtle changes that have been made to the AQUOS line since its inception are signs of forward thinking and dedication to customer satisfaction. (There's a thought.)
Analog viewing was exceptional on the Sharp AQUOS. DVD content was quite good. Colors were brilliant and well-saturated, though black levels remain a weakness. I believe that the silver colored frame of the AQUOS adds to the perceived lack of pure black levels--they are tolerable, nonetheless.
Finding Nemo was no problem on the Sharp AQUOS. The orange was a raging neon color that looked absolutely stunning combined with the smooth and well-refined edges and ocean blue water.
The internal speaker system was surprisingly good and actually increased the value of the product, versus making it an unworthy addition. Even at full volume, the speakers did not distort or resonate the plastic cabinet as many direct view TVs tend to do.
If I had to do a side-by-side comparison to my 50-inch plasma, I would say that the Sharp AQUOS is the clear victor in standard analog broadcast and a close runner-up in DVD and HD viewing. However, there's no question that the Sharp is much more user friendly when it comes to setup, operation, and ease of use. It's
simply the clear winner in the value category.
So the next time you're out shopping for a flat panel display and you hear someone refer to LCD as the "poor man's plasma," give it some thought. You could find yourself quite pleased with a LCD, as I was with the Sharp AQUOS LC-37HV6U. If you're not ready or willing to spend the money on a "good" plasma, then you owe it to yourself to consider spending your hard earned dollars on an AQUOS – it's sure to make you very happy for a very long time.
Sharp AQUOS 37-inch LC-37HV6U
Panel Type: 37"Active Matrix Advanced
Super View LCD
Resolution: Wide XGA 1366 x 768
Video System: NTSC
Lamp Life: 60,000 hours
Viewing Angles: 170-degrees Horizontal
Contrast Ratio: 800:1
Dimensions: 37W x 30"H x 3.5"D
(without table stand)
Weight: 45 lbs. (without table stand)