While other TV manufacturers were demonstrating 3D technology at CES, Sharp showed off its new quad-pixel technology, called Quattron. This technology uses a four-color filter that adds yellow to the standard red, green and blue, which (according to Sharp) allows for the display of over a trillion colors and overcomes the difficulties that previous LCD panels had in reproducing yellow and gold, in particular. Quad-pixel technology makes its debut in three high-end Sharp lines: the LE920, LE820 and LE810. The LE820 Series includes screen sizes of 40, 46, 52 and 60 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the LC-46LE820UN, but here is an overview of the TV's features.
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This 46-inch, 1080p LCD uses edge LED lighting
, in which the LEDs are located around the edges of the panel instead of behind it. Two of the main benefits of the edge-lit design are improved energy efficiency and the ability to offer a slimmer cabinet design; the LC-46LE820UN is EnergyStar 4.0-certified and measures just 1.58 inches deep. This TV uses Sharp's 1080p X-Gen LCD panel, has a 4ms response time and features Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur and film judder (the higher-end LE920 models use AquoMotion 240Hz). The AQUOS Net platform is available, which includes access to Netflix, Web widgets and AQUOS Advantage Live customer support. The TV can link to your home network via a wired Ethernet connection, but it is not WiFi-ready. The LC-46LE820UN has a seamless, single-pane face with a gloss-black finish and matching stand (the LE810 Series omits the seamless face, offering a traditional raised bezel instead).
The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs but only one component video input--a trend we're seeing with many new higher-end TVs. It also has a PC input and an RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, one supports the Audio Return Channel function of the HDMI 1.4 spec, and all four are side-facing for easy access. Two USB ports are available for music and photo playback. As I mentioned, an Ethernet port is available for network connectivity, and there's also an RS-232 port to integrate the TV into an advanced control system.
The LC-46LE820UN has a solid array of picture adjustments, but you don't get quite as many advanced options as you'll find in other higher-end TVs. Among the choices are: nine 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 global RGB controls to fine-tune white balance; advanced color management that lets you adjust the hue, saturation, and value of the six main color points; gamma adjustment; and digital noise reduction. The Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz menu includes off, low and high options. The LC-46LE820UN 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 audio setup menu includes bass, treble, and balance controls, plus auto volume, surround, bass enhancer and clear voice options. The LC-46LE820UN does not offer advanced volume-leveling technology from a company like Dolby or SRS.
Finally, the Power Control menu includes power-saving settings to reduce power consumption, as well as an Audio Only option lets you turn off the video signal when you're only listening to an audio source (like a digital music channel or MP3s through the USB port). There are also settings to automatically turn off the TV when no signal or no operation is present for a designated time period.
Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2
• Sharp's new quad-pixel technology adds yellow to the standard RGB filter.
• This TV has a 1080p resolution and will accept 24p sources via its HDMI inputs.
• Fine Motion Enhanced 120Hz technology effectively reduces motion blur.
• LCDs can be very bright, which makes them a good choice for a brightly lit viewing environment.
• The TV has plenty of HDMI inputs and a solid array of picture adjustments.
• AQUOS Net includes Netflix video-on-demand.
• The edge-lit LED design allows for a slim cabinet.
• The LC-46LE820UN has an RS-232 port.
• Edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs can suffer from brightness-uniformity issues, and their black levels are generally not as deep as you'll find with the better full-array LED-based TVs with local dimming.
• LCD viewing angles are not as good you'll find with a plasma TV.
• The LC-46LE820UN lacks 3D capability.
• It does not have built-in WiFi for a network connection, and it lacks DLNA media streaming. Plus, the Web platform is limited, compared with the competition.
The LC-46LE820UN contains a lot of new options for Sharp, from the quad-pixel technology to the edge LED lighting to the addition of Netflix to the AQUOS Net service. As such, this TV falls at the higher end of the price spectrum for a 46-inch model. Quattron is obviously the marquee feature, and its performance benefits remain to be seen. The less-expensive LC-46LE810UN is almost identical in features and performance technologies, but it lacks the seamless front-panel design. The overall aesthetic between the two TVs is otherwise similar; so, if you want to save a bit of money, you might opt for the LE810 model instead.