Hardware Spotlight -- Sharp
Sharp LC-37HV4U LCD TV
By Joe Paone
Throw out every misgiving you've had about LCD TV. Forget your disdain for poor viewing angles and dreaded screen-door effects when you move your head or sit at a sharp angle. Disregard your distaste for the digital artifacts and blotchiness that make it so difficult to watch high-action movies or fast-moving sports on an LCD without getting eye-strain or simply frustrated. Forget about tinny sound from built-in speakers that were largely a design afterthought.
That's because the Sharp LC-37HV4U high-definition AQUOS liquid crystal television responds to every one of those concerns. This 37-inch widescreen beauty is the first LCD TV I've seen that is truly worth a look against 37-inch and 42-inch plasmas, as well some of the smaller rear-projection sets and of course, the largest direct-views.
I'm not just impressed with the size of the set; I've seen larger LCD prototypes from other manufacturers. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, attendees for the first time had to pause when they saw a big-screen flat panel TV. Was it a plasma, an LCD or something else? You couldn't tell any more at first glance. Zenith and Philips were showing 42-inch and 52-inch LCD prototypes, while Samsung trumped them all with a hand-built 54-inch prototype, not to mention its 40- and 46-inch models due later this year.
LCD market-leader Sharp, meanwhile, took a more conservative approach, topping its LCD selection with this 37-inch model and beating its larger competitors to market by several months. Sharp is planning to build LCD TVs in sizes up to 65 inches early next year, surely with sizes in the 40s as well. It's offering 43-inch and 50-inch plasmas as placeholders until its LCDs are available in similar sizes.
None of the large LCDs that I saw at CES had the can't-miss, obvious quality that this 37-inch set has. Sharp has set the standard for LCD TV in a number of smaller screen sizes, but until it introduced its 30-inch and 37-inch models, I wouldn't have recommended its LCDs for use in the living room as a primary set. Truth be told, they were better regarded as perfect (if costly) secondary TVs for use in the kitchen, a small bedroom or an office.