Sharp AQUOS LC-52BD80U LCD HDTV Reviewed

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The BD Series is the first Sharp LCD TV line to feature an integrated Blu-ray player, and the lineup includes screen sizes of 32, 37, 42, 46, and 52 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the 52-inch LC-52BD80U, but here is an overview of the TV's features.

Additional Resources
• Read more LCD HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find Blu-ray players that will get the most out of the LC-52BD80U's picture.

Beginning with TV-based features, this 1080p LCD has most of the same performance specs as the new E Series. It uses a traditional fluorescent backlight (as opposed to the LED backlighting found in the Limited Edition Series) and Sharp's new 10-bit Advanced Super View (ASV) Superlucent panel with the Spectral Contrast Engine XD (Extreme Dark) that purportedly offers better blacks, improved brightness, and reduced haze and reflectivity, compared with earlier panels. The TV has 10-bit processing and a 4-millisecond response time, and it features Sharp's Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur and film judder.

The input panel includes four HDMI 1.3, two component video, and one PC input, plus an RF input to access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. Most of Sharp's newer TV lines offer five HDMI inputs; then again, the addition of the internal Blu-ray player negates the need for that extra input. The four HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and one is side-facing for easy access. The component video inputs also accept 1080p/60. The TV lacks picture-in-picture functionality, and it does not include an SD card slot or Ethernet port for media playback/streaming. A side-panel USB port is offered, but it is for firmware upgrades only, not media playback. An RS-232 port is available to integrate the TV into an advanced control system.

The LC-52BD80U has a thorough assortment of picture controls. Among them are: seven preset AV Modes; an adjustable backlight and an OPC function that automatically adjusts the picture's brightness based on your room's lighting conditions; five preset color-temperature options plus RGB gain controls (no offset controls) to fine-tune white balance; advanced color management that lets you adjust the hue, saturation, and value of the six main color points; and digital noise reduction. The Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz menu includes on and off options to deal with motion blur; this year, Sharp has also added to the Film Mode menu an Advanced option (with high and low settings) that adds motion interpolation to reduce judder in film-based sources. The LC-52BD80U 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 TV's Power Saving Mode enables active contrast and active backlight to reduce the TV's energy consumption while in use.

The TV has a gloss-black cabinet with a blue accent along the bottom panel and a round, swiveling base. The speakers are recessed into the bottom panel, and the limited audio-setup menu includes bass, treble, and balance controls, plus a generic surround mode and bass enhancer. There is an option to turn off the screen and just listen to audio, which will come in handy when playing music-only discs through the integrated Blu-ray player.

Read about the high points and the low points of the AQUOS LC-52BD80U on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Sharp AQUOS LC-52BD80U LCD HDTV

Criteria Rating

Performance

3.5

Value

3.5

Overall

3.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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Speaking of which, the integrated player is Profile 1.1, which means it supports BonusView/PIP playback but not BD-Live Web functionality. The slot-loading player is located on the TV's right side panel, along with buttons for eject, play, stop, forward, and reverse. There's also another USB port for firmware updates and playback of Virtual Package content (a rarely used feature in which data, such as secondary audio and video, is copied to local storage and played back along with the primary video). The TV's connection panel includes an optical digital audio output, so you can send compressed multichannel soundtracks (Dolby Digital or DTS) to an external A/V receiver; however, the lack of an HDMI output or multichannel analog audio outputs means there's no way to output high-resolution Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD soundtracks. When you insert a disc, the player automatically turns on the TV and activates playback; it also activates Sharp's new AQUOS Pure mode, which adjusts the color base to best suit the TV and switches the TV to the Dot by Dot aspect ratio (for zero overscan). In addition to Blu-ray discs, the player supports CD and DVD playback, but not JPEG, MP3, WMA, or Divx.

High Points
• The LC-52BD80U has a 1080p resolution, and both the HDMI and component video inputs accept 1080p sources.
• The Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz technology and 4ms response time help reduce motion blur, and Sharp has now added a motion interpolation feature to reduce judder in film sources and render smoother movement.
• The LC-52BD80U has an integrated Blu-ray player that supports BonusView/PIP playback and can be configured for 1080p/24 output to better utilize the TV's motion interpolation feature.
• LCDs can be very bright, which makes them a good choice for a brightly lit viewing environment. 
• The TV has a healthy input panel and a nice selection of picture adjustments.
• An RS-232 port is included.

Low Points
• The integrated Blu-ray player doesn't support BD-Live Web content, and there's no way to output high-resolution soundtracks to an external audio system.
• The TV doesn't have a USB port or SD card slot that supports digital media playback, nor does it include Sharp's AQUOS Net Web platform. The integrated Blu-ray player doesn't support JPEG or MP3/WMA playback, either. 
• This LCD uses a traditional fluorescent backlight, so its black level is not as good as that of a higher-end LED-based LCD.
• LCD viewing angles are only average.

Conclusion
The LC-52BD80U is a solid 52-inch, 1080p LCD offering, with a nice complement of inputs and picture adjustments. The integrated Blu-ray player is a nice perk but does not have as many features as a standalone player (no BD-Live or high-resolution audio support). All in all, this combination unit is a good choice for a secondary room, like a den or bedroom, where you don't need a fully featured TV/Blu-ray/surround sound setup.

Additional Resources
• Read more LCD HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find Blu-ray players that will get the most out of the LC-52BD80U's picture.


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