Are you struggling to persuade a reluctant other half to let you buy a massive TV? Then Sharp's 46-inch Aquos LC46DH77E LCD TV with a 'Full HD' 1080p resolution provides a new angle for you to try: saving the planet. For this is the first TV ever to place an 'eco' button on its remote control. W00t!
The LC46DH77E is available now for around £900.
While the eco button doesn't actually lead you to any particularly innovative, tree-hugging features, we'd still rather have it than not, if only because its presence provides a constant visual reminder that you could probably be running your TV more efficiently.
But, of course, we found the TV's sumptuous design more of a draw than the eco button. Its sleek finish, glamorous build quality, slightly pointed bottom edge and tinge of blue create a really quite iconic look that will enhance any room.
The LC46DH77E's price is also a major attraction. We've seen it going for under £900 online -- a very aggressive price for a well-specified 46-inch LCD TV.
Courtesy of the LC46DH77E, proper multimedia functionality has finally been introduced to Sharp TVs, in the shape of a JPEG- and MP3-enabled USB port.
Next to impress is the TV's flexibility when it comes to adjusting pictures. There's an optional 100Hz engine, for instance, for improving motion clarity, and an optional automated system for reducing image brightness when the TV detects a dark scene.
You can also select a 24p-friendly film mode for enhanced Blu-ray playback, adjust the hue and saturation of the picture's six main colour elements, and let the TV automatically adjust the image's brightness in response to the light levels in your room.
As with many previous Sharp LCD TVs, the LC46DH77E is, for the most part, a really good high-definition performer. It's particularly good at bringing out the detail and raw clarity that is HD's trademark, and the set's decent 100Hz processing means this clarity holds up well when the picture starts moving.
The set's HD colours look bold and believable too, while both black levels and standard-definition pictures look more satisfying than on any previous Sharp LCD TVs we've seen.
Despite offering clear improvements over its predecessors, neither the LC46DH77E's black levels nor standard-definition pictures quite live up to the best that the competition can offer. As regards black levels, there's still enough of a blue-grey cast over dark scenes to cause them to look slightly flat. As for standard-definition content, while the LC46DH77E offers more sharpness than previous 1080p Sharp TVs, there are still issues with rogue colour tones, especially where people's skin is concerned.
We also didn't feel as if the LC46DH77E fully delivered on its environment-friendly promise. The only feature accessed via the remote's eco button is an energy-saving mode, which simply reduces the set's backlight output by 20 or 30 per cent. That's not exactly rocket science.
Given the TV's green aspirations, we also felt miffed that its instruction manual is one of the thickest we've ever seen -- it's truly one to send shivers down many a poor tree's timbers.
The single most irritating problem with the LC46DH77E, though, is its sound. A screen this big and talented with HD deserves plenty of audio power and dynamism to keep its pictures company. Yet the LC46DH77E's speakers sound flat and weedy, with vocal tracks in particular vanishing into thin air when the audio going gets tough.
While its green promises look more like marketing spin than real world-saving technologies, the Sharp Aquos LC46DH77E's surprisingly low price still makes it worth considering, especially if you're in a position to feed it a decent amount of HD content.
Edited by Charles Kloet