Popular electronic product names are worth their weight in gold. Names like Walkman, iPod and PlayStation are easily recognizable as trendy electronic devices popular with a large cross section of society. Quality products with names that transcend time become the darlings of big electronics manufactures and great buzzwords for techies "in the know".
One of the latest product names that has spawned a revolution in the LCD market is AQUOS. The name AQUOS was conceived by Sharp, and is derived from the words aqua and quality. I recently met a contractor at my new house that told me he had just bought a flat panel television, but wasn't sure what brand or even kind of TV it was. All he could remember was the name AQUOS. Of course, the AQUOS name says it all.
Sharp Electronics introduced the AQUOS line of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) televisions a few years ago, and from the outset, they captured our imagination. With elegant good looks and images with rich color and picture detail, AQUOS LCDs have nearly defined what consumers have come to expect from a quality flat panel display. Sharp has continued to make advancements in LCD technology and they are pushing the envelope with liquid crystal HDTV sizes now reaching as large as 65 inches, thus breaking into plasma territory.
When I heard a new G Series Widescreen AQUOS was being sent to me for review, it didn't matter the set wasn't the flashy new 65-inch LCD (not in production as of this writing). The 32-inch LC-32GD6U has the Sharp AQUOS pedigree that raises expectations of a quality entertainment experience.
There are so many features included with the top-of-the-line LC-32GD6U, I don't know where to begin. The display is a 32-inch high definition TV with Sharp's low reflective screen and Advanced Super View/Black TFT (Thin Film Transistor) panel that maintains its contrast and brightness in bright ambient light. It has a built-in HDTV tuner that can receive and decode digital HDTV and SDTV signals from over-the-air broadcasts with an optional antenna, and from cable TV service with full CableCARD plug and play capability. The set has a 16:9 aspect ratio and a native HDTV resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels for true 720p HDTV scaling. All DVD, HDTV, computer and standard definition sources with 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i signals will be displayed as 1366 x 768.
The two main complaints of most LCD televisions are their slow image speed and poor contrast levels. LCD pixels generally react slowly to changes in the image when it is moving, especially during fast moving video images like sporting events or while playing video games. Sharp's G series displays feature proprietary "Quick Shoot" video circuitry that has a fast pixel response time of 16 milliseconds to help eliminate this weakness. Contrast levels are a measure of the blackest black to the whitest white. Plasma screens normally have high contrast ratios of 1000:1 or more for very dark black levels. LCDs, on the other hand, have been limited to contrast ratios of around 500:1, which translates into poor black levels. However, the LC-32GD6U has one of the highest contrast ratios for an LCD at 800:1 for improved black levels.
The top panel of the LC-32GD6U has a slot for a PC card adapter (commercially available), allowing you to use most types of memory cards for recording and playing back still and moving pictures. This unit can record JPEG still images at 640 x 480 and moving pictures at 320 x 240 in SP or LP at 30 frames per second, or EP at 15 frames per second. Supported PC cards include SD Memory Cards, mini SD Cards, CompactFlash Cards, Smart Media, Memory Sticks, Microdrives and xD Picture Cards, to name a few.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Sharp continues to improve upon the design of the AQUOS televisions. The stylized cabinets would look just as good framing a high definition television image as it would around a work of art. The silver and black cabinet is clean, compact and classy all the way. The LC-32GD6U has a swiveling tabletop stand and a pair of speakers enclosed in a cabinet below the screen. The tabletop stand and speaker enclosure can be removed for wall mounting using optional Sharp wall mount brackets (AN-37AG2 for tilting or AN-LCGWF for flat).
One of the best characteristics of the Sharp LC-32GD6U is the connectivity options. When you view the back of the set, everything appears flat, clean and simplistic. Digging deeper reveals removable plastic panels that expose an excess of connections. Earlier versions of AQUOS TVs had external media boxes to house the inputs for an uncluttered installation. The display was connected to the media box by a single cable and electronic devices would be connected to the box stashed away. Placing the connections on the back of the set hasn't added to the depth of the LC-32GD6U, which is less than four inches, but the box eliminated the tangle of wires attached to the back of the set. A cable clamp addresses this issue on the LC-32GD6U so wires are directed down the center of the stand.Read more on Page 2.