Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The external AVC is a major bonus when it comes to setting up the LC-30HV2U AQUOS 30-inch. With only three wires to run to the display itself, connections to my DVD player and HDTV tuner were a snap. My only complaint here is that I didn't feel that the RGB and Terminal Control wire was of sufficient length--I believe that many people will want to install the AVC away from the display to keep the install as clean and simple as possible.
With the AVC connected and my source units installed, I was on my way into the setup menu in a matter of minutes. Actually, the factory settings for picture calibration were quite impressive. This was really my first experience with the "Black TFT" feature, and my preliminary response to improved black levels was positive.
Like the Sharp AQUOS itself, the on-screen display and setup menu are clean and easy to understand. I was very impressed by the easy-to-navigate user interface. The remote supplied with the LC-30HV2U is not nearly as cool as those supplied with the smaller AQUOS sizes. I understand that the smaller monitors do not have as many features, but I feel that the cumbersome, rectangular remote looks out of place with regards to the rest of the AQUOS' stylish design. Of course, I have never been one to shame a component on looks alone. While the remote is useful, it is poorly laid out and rather dated as far as technology goes. I'm sure that folks who purchase the 30" Sharp AQUOS will have a component with a much better remote capable of learning the functions of the display, but for $7,000.00 retail, I expect a functional key to match the car, if you know what I mean.
I was excited to get this review underway. While I have never been a fan of LCD technology for "theater" use, I have seen some pretty impressive advancements over the past two years. One of which is the aforementioned "Black TFT" from Sharp that is said to improve greatly on black levels--an inherent weak point of all LCDs.
I played through several short "reference" cuts to gauge black levels. While black levels were noticeably good, they still remained several shades short of black. However, the levels were tolerable and did not seem to wash out the rest of the picture as with other TFT LCD displays I have seen. Additionally, with a 500:1 contrast level, and outstanding color saturation, I would be lying if I said the less-than-perfect black levels weren't something I could live with.
I watched several different movie clips from titles such as Jimmy
Neutron, Armageddon, Men in Black Monsters Inc ., and DVD
International's Natural Splendors, Vol. 3. Color was well saturated,
accurate and detailed. Most appealing
about the colors was the vibrant green and red. On my rear projection display these colors seem a bit muted in comparison and, when I tried to bring the levels up to match, the light output from the large CRTs was too strenuous on my eyes. Not the case with the AQUOS.
While the picture on the AQUOS LC-30HV2U appears to be much brighter with exquisite detail, it is also much easier on the eyes--a consideration that I had never before contemplated.
The Sharp AQUOS is not the display for those that wish to appreciate sight and sound in exact cinematic detail. But it is certainly a top contender for those who do not want to sacrifice living space for comparatively large and expensive means to achieve a better picture. The Sharp AQUOS is a design for the ages with vast improvements on technologies discovered long ago.
The first time I read a press release on the Sharp AQUOS line I thought, "Nine thousand bucks for a 30-inch display? Why not just buy a 40-inch Plasma?" And that thought remained in my head until I actually saw the AQUOS in living color. I have long been a critic of TFT LCD technologies for home entertainment use. But, after spending some one-on-one time with the Sharp AQUOS LC-30HV2U 30-inch display, I can tell you first hand that the features, form and function far outweigh its shortcomings with those subtle intricacies of black levels.
Suggested Retail Price