• Chad B

    by Published on 12-07-2013 10:53 AM  Number of Views: 3452 
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    Sharp's 70UD1U couples popular edge-lit LED LCD technology with what will most likely be the next standard in high performance video: Ultra HD. The 70UD1U's native resolution is 3840x2160, four times the current 1080P high definition standard. In addition, the Ultra HD standard utilizes the Rec 2020 color space, which includes deeper and purer colors than current HD, and supports native frame rates of up to 120 frames per second. The improvement in color alone is enough to excite the geek in me; and combined with the other advancements, Ultra HD should take home theater to altogether new heights. Not surprisingly, finding content to exploit the advancements will be a major challenge for many owners. Although I did not have access to true Ultra HD content, Cleveland Plasma owner Chris Majoros arranged for me to spend some time with the 70UD1U and see how it handles the best of today's currently available sources. ...
    by Published on 08-13-2013 02:47 PM  Number of Views: 9379 
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    Sharp's exclusive Quattron technology has been passed along from last year's popular 844U to the new 857U. Some interesting picture quality related changes have been made, including a move from full array LED to edge lit backlighting, elimination of the "hidden until activated" ISF Day and Night picture modes, and the addition of a new "Vintage Movie" mode. The LC-80LE857U remains one of the largest consumer grade displays available, the king of which is Sharp's own 90" 745U model.

    The 857u's ...
    by Published on 07-25-2013 12:41 PM  Number of Views: 2341 
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    Sharp's giant LED LCD proves to be a solid choice for theater sized images in open living rooms

    The 745U has a very extensive calibration menu which can be used to significantly increase color accuracy, depth, and naturalness. In addition, with ControlCal or CalMAN software, 2 new picture modes can be activated and added to the list of picture presets: ISF Day and ISF Night. The ISF mode's adjustments are protected and have a greater range of adjustment than the user modes. However, they are available only on the HDMI inputs, not for the smart features, streaming, or over the air reception.

    Grayscale tracking and gamma can be superb after calibration, thanks to the 10 point adjustment. This means purity of whites can be exceptional, as can picture depth and naturalness.

    Color saturation is better overall than on Sharp's Quattron models, with the exception of red. Paler shades of red were oversaturated and tinted towards magenta, and purer shades of red were undersaturated and pulled towards yellow. Careful calibration reduced but did not eliminate these errors. Of all the primary and secondary colors, red is the one that has the most influence on how natural skin tones look, and that is where I found the most variability in the 745U's performance. Looking at satellite TV, some channels looked great, but doing a bit of channel surfing showed a wider variety of purple, jaundice, and sunburnt people than I normally see. ...
    by Published on 05-04-2013 02:05 PM  Number of Views: 10006 
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    Review: Panasonic TC-P60VT60

    Panasonic's new VT60 series has been making quite a splash, both in the AV forums and at Cleveland Plasma, where owner Chris has lost count of the questions about how the VT60 differs from last year's incredibly good 50 series. He had one sent over so I could spend some time evaluating this new gem. After a proper break in, I split the HDMI signal going to my GT50 and moved the VT60 into the living room right under it.

    The VT60's screen has a very impressive ability to maintain deep blacks, even in high ambient light. With both sets off, the VT60 screen filter keeps it darker- the GT50 is a bit milky white in comparison. However, the VT60's reflections are sharper and more distinct; the GT50's reflections are more diffused. The screen filter that soaks up all that ambient light does restrict the vertical viewing angle a bit, though it should only be noticeable at extreme angles. When planning it's location, it would be best to avoid strong direct light that would cause reflections; and if it is mounted up high, ideally it should be tilted down toward the viewing position. A bit of extra top clearance should be allowed for the built in pop up video camera. ...
    by Published on 03-26-2013 08:48 AM  Number of Views: 6395 
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    Review: Samsung PN-64F8500 plasma

    When I arrived at Cleveland Plasma to check out this latest beauty from Samsung, Chris could barely contain himself as he told me of the excitement the F8500 has been generating online. Big improvements over last year's E series were expected, and specifics were just beginning to trickle in. I was appreciative of Samsung's previous lines, though I admit feeling somewhat let down at the E series' limited brightness and lack of substantial improvement over the D series. Chris said it looked like the F series was going to change all that, and he was right on the money. ...
    by Published on 02-25-2013 03:54 PM  Number of Views: 1662 
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    Having calibrated more Sharp Quattrons and videophile-approved Panasonic VT50 plasmas than I could keep track of lately, I welcomed the opportunity to spend some time with a high value, high tech LED display from Vizio, the 70E701i-A3.

    In my normal move around the room test, the Vizio exhibited somewhat sensitive off axis behavior; it's viewing angle seemed slightly wider before color shifts than that of top of the line Sharps and Samsungs, though it's far from a sit anywhere TV. As I moved a few feet off axis, skin tones began to turn pink and blacks began to loose their richness.

    The semi-gloss screen does not have the sharp mirror like surface of some brands, and it does a good job of staying dark in indirect ambient light. However, it picks up significant but somewhat diffuse glare from direct light.

    Blacks are dark but a bit cloudy; some lighter spots are visible, especially on the left and bottom screen edges. White uniformity was good enough not to be visible with normal picture content, though white and gray fields revealed a slight darkening and yellowing across the top and, to a lesser extent, the bottom. ...
    by Published on 04-20-2012 11:59 AM  Number of Views: 5109 
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    If you’re in the market for a very large TV for a room that isn’t always perfectly dark, you’ve probably narrowed down your decision to the big DLP rear projectors and an 80” Sharp LED LCD. Last year I was able to get an in depth look at the first 80” television from Sharp, the 80LE632U; and I was pleased to see that, in comparison with the competition, the Sharp was so good it wasn’t even a fair fight. Cleveland Plasma owner Chris Majoros told me he could arrange some evaluation time with Sharp’s newly updated version, the 844U, and I was eager to see what improvements, if any, were brought to an already good display. ...
    by Published on 04-18-2012 07:12 PM  Number of Views: 9639 
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    This week I had the privilege of spending some time with Samsung’s new PN-60E8000 at Cleveland Plasma. The E8000 is a thin, stylish Smart TV, with built in WiFi and 3D. I was happy to see a redesigned remote, which aided operation by feel and lessened the frequency of incorrect button presses compared to last year’s. In addition, the E8000’s screen filter is well designed, keeping the screen relatively dark in normal ambient light and minimizing reflections. Compared to a Panasonic GT50 sitting beside it, the E8000’s screen reflections were a bit more noticeable, but they were less distracting than on most top of the line televisions.
    After the initial setup, the E8000 connected to the wireless network and downloaded the latest firmware, 001016. ...
    by Published on 04-18-2012 09:18 AM  Number of Views: 5622 
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    Last week Chris from Cleveland Plasma called and asked, “How would you like to come over and check out the new GT50? Looks like I could even get a Samsung E8000 series plasma in for a face off!” Remembering how impressed I was with Panasonic’s ST50 just a short time ago and how last year’s top Panasonic and Samsung plasmas had such a competitive race, I didn’t take to long to think that one through. Before I knew it, I was making the drive up to Cleveland.

    The GT50, like the ST50, has an excellent ability to soak up ambient light and preserve contrast in normal lighting. Even with bright lights on, reflections were very muted with the TV powered off, and the screen stayed commendably dark. If your spouse insists on turning the overhead light on while watching TV, as my wife does, the GT50 just may help keep peace and sanity in your home. ...
    by Published on 03-28-2012 01:05 PM  Number of Views: 15166 
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    LG’s 60PM6700 plasma is a beautifully designed, 3D capable, ISF and THX certified mid-line television. The thin, attractive bezel design, along with the mirror like glass screen surface, help it to look stylish in nearly any setting. ...
    by Published on 03-25-2012 10:53 AM  Number of Views: 10260 
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    The ST50 is Panasonic’s new mid line plasma, and the latest evolution of plasma performance as manufacturers struggle to bring back the glorious performance of the last Elite Kuro. The Elite has returned, though it’s LED technology bears no resemblance to the original. Despite the reemergence of the Elite, many, if not most, home theater enthusiasts feel that plasmas still produce the most natural, lifelike image. ...
    by Published on 02-17-2012 02:32 PM  Number of Views: 2661 
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    I decided to try plugging the bass reflex ports with foam, changing the ported alignment to a highly damped acoustic suspension alignment. Occasionally the simplest tweaks can give important improvements in the sound, and this was one of those occasions. The midrange cleared up significantly, with the overall sonic balance becoming very clean with just a slightly forward balance. While the upper bass and lower midrange were still a bit thick, the boxiness and pockiness I noted earlier were no longer obnoxious. There was a bit less low bass, but the bass that remained was fairly tight and tuneful. Since I felt that the M6F would benefit from a subwoofer even with the ports open, trading a bit of output in the bass for the improvements noted seemed logical.
    by Published on 10-14-2011 08:13 AM
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    Sharp's latest LED LCDs have been on a roller coaster ride of performance as Sharp's Quattron yellow pixel technology matured. While the yellow pixel does make them stand out, it didn't always seem to be in a good way. Now, as Sharp introduces the world's largest LED LCD, they have something to focus on other than the dubious distinctions of Quattron technology: sheer, monstrous size! In fact, the 80" 632U does not even claim Quattron quad pixel technology, although in every other way the 632U shares similar or identical technical specifications to the 732U model ...
    by Published on 09-28-2011 09:55 AM  Number of Views: 5988 
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    A while back at Cleveland Plasma, I had the opportunity to calibrate and evaluate Panasonic's mid to upper end plasma. The viewing environment varied from moderately dark to completely dark for most of the testing. ...
    by Published on 06-05-2011 04:14 AM
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    While I've been busy writing reviews on the latest from Samsung, Panasonic, LG, and others, one very highly regarded brand kept putting out one high performance TV after another. A brand that, despite having hit some rough roads along the way (take the infamous SXRD green blob, for example), has been at or near the top in overall picture quality through the years. In retrospect, I found that I have actually had a long history with them.

    It started in the 80's and 90's with the standard ...
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