The Worst Performing LCD Flat Panel On the Market?
Written by Kevin Miller
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Of all of the major players in LCD flat panel television (Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Mitsubishi, Vizio, LG, and Sharp) Sharp gets the award for the most calibration unfriendly LCD flat panel currently on the market.
Unfortunately, the service menu is so poorly designed that you can’t accomplish anything in it. I and many another calibrator have braved the service menu of the Sharps over the last several years, and no matter how long you spend tweaking grayscale parameters you can never achieve a more accurate grayscale than what is available with the best preset color temperature in the User Menu, which depending on the model and year, is either Mid-Low or Low. You can imagine how pleased I was to find grayscale controls in the Advanced Menu where they had never been before. So at least I was able to get a reasonably good grayscale out of it without to much pain.
Well Sharp Giveth and Sharp Taketh away! They gave us grayscale controls, and they took out the most important part of a three tiered CMS (Color Management System). The color decoding has always been horrendously inaccurate in the Sharp LCDs, and this latest flagship model is no exception. In previous models with the CMS Value portion of the CMS menu we could get rid of the Red Push in the decoding, and get reasonably natural looking color and skin tones. Well Sharp took that tool out of the Advanced menu so now the only way to get rid of the Red Push, which shows up as obnoxiously overly pink skin tones, is to back the color control down, and severely under-saturate the color. This leaves a rather drab dull washed out looking color picture. It amazes me that Sharp doesn’t take a look at their competitors, virtually all of whom have accurate color decoding in their sets and emulate that.
Recently I went to calibrate one of their flagship models, the LC-52SED94U, and after 3.5 hours of tweaking the panel I was so dissatisfied that I left the customer’s house in disgust, and I couldn’t in good conscience charge him as I didn’t feel that the level of improvement was justified. I have now made it a policy that I will not take Sharp calibration jobs anymore as a result of this and many other disappointing experiences with Sharp LCD flat panel sets over the years. In any case if you are considering a Sharp Aquos LCD flat panel Caveat Emptor!