The colours red, green and blue have been key to the production of TVs since polychromatic sets were first introduced. It's the same story whether you're looking at CRT, LCD or plasma TVs, and has been for a very long time. Now Sharp wants to upset the apple cart by adding a fourth colour -- yellow.
Sharp says you can expect this Quattron quad-pixel technology to deliver brighter, more colourful images. In this review of the 46-inch, 1080p, LED-backlit LC-46LE820E LCD TV, we'll tell you whether it's an essential feature, or just another gimmick designed to make you part with your cash. This TV bears a premium price tag, costing around £1,400.
Funky new styling
First of all -- can we get a hallelujah? Sharp has finally redesigned its remote control. After around 100 years of producing the same, oddly shaped mess, the company has introduced a slim and stylish new remote. It's a massive improvement.
Sharp has also revamped the rest of the TV's design too, and it's done a pretty good job. As with so many modern TVs, we could do without the illuminated logos, though. Amusingly, when you turn them off, via the menu system, the set warns you that you 'won't be able to tell if the TV is turned on'. We're pretty sure that we'll know if the TV is on, thanks to that gigantic, 46-inch glowing panel on the front. Thanks all the same, Sharp.
Overall, we like the LC-46LE820E's styling. It's thin, which we always like to see, and, on the bottom right of the TV, you'll find some touch-sensitive controls, which illuminate when you touch them. They're pretty basic, though, and will only be of use for the most simple of tasks.
Sharp's TV advert for this Quattron display technology proclaims: 'You have to see it, to see it.' Well, we have seen it, and, while we like this TV a great deal, we don't think the addition of a yellow sub-pixel is quite the game-changer that Sharp evidently does. The image is very colourful, but no more so than is the case with most of the LED-backlit LCD TVs we've seen.
As we understand it, though, adding this extra yellow component to the TV is quite likely to be beneficial in terms of displaying 3D content, which can have a detrimental effect on both colour and brightness. This TV isn't 3D-ready, but Sharp plans to launch models that are.
Sharp but not too sharp
In the past, we've disliked Sharp's image processing. Although we like a minimalist approach and as natural an image as possible, Sharp's TVs seemed to suffer when handling standard-definition material, with noticeable tearing effects on interlaced video.
Fortunately, the LC-46LE820E suffers from none of these problems. Sharp seems to have done a good job of retaining as much detail as possible, while keeping the picture free from nasty deinterlacing artefacts. With high-definition material, we found it desirable to bump the sharpness up by a couple of points, to bring out the maximum amount of detail. Be careful with the sharpness control though -- it will make your picture resemble a dog's dinner if you overdo it.
Menus with added style
The menu system and electronic programme guide have both changed on this TV too. The new layout makes far more use of the high resolution of modern TVs, fitting much more on the screen. Sharp's always done a good job of putting plenty of EPG data on-screen at once, but now you can see even more.