Sharp LC42D77X

The Sharp LC42D77X is a great TV let down by poor sound. But if you have a sound system already then the belting image quality makes it worth considering.


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4.3
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


Not quite as visible as the Samsung and Sony televisions of this world, nevertheless Sharp has kept beavering away for the last few years at producing LCD televisions of good quality. However, it's been a while between drinks for the company, and so we look at what Sharp's LC42D77X has to offer.

Design

Several years ago, in what we call "the putrid stage", televisions came in an odd combination of silver and black, and not even Sharp got off lightly. However, its last few ranges have shown some up-to-date cosmetics. For the D77X the company has taken a leaf from LG's book with the TV's transparent plastic and piano black/blue finish. The base of the unit is also constructed from shiny black plastic.

The remote is functional, even if the buttons are a little small. It's not the easiest to use, as the volume and channel buttons are placed above the D pad in an awkward spot, and it requires a little bit of juggling to operate correctly.

Features

As this is a mid-priced television the feature count is relatively modest: no fancy interweb doohickeys here. You get a 1080p panel "proudly" manufactured in Japan — where most are from Korea or China — and it features a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000 to one. Like many modern flat panels, it features a 100Hz mode, here called Fine Motion Advanced 100Hz, and is designed to smooth out motion artefacts like "judder" and "ghosting".

The television comes with three HDMI ports (which is typical for a TV of this size and price) in addition to two component inputs. If you have a lot of legacy equipment you'll appreciate the three AV inputs plus the inclusion of the technically superior (but mostly shunned) S-Video connection. A VGA input and optical digital and AV output (for the on-board tuner) round out the connectivity.

We've been a fan of Sharp's TV sound for a while, and on the LC42D77X it has the "invisible speaker" where the speakers are integrated into the bezel. The system is driven by a digital amplifier, which traditionally boasts better efficiency — meaning less heat and better power.

Like all TVs, you'll see from the close of this year onwards that the Sharp comes with an Energy Star rating, and in this case it scores a semi-respectable 3.5 stars. This is due in part to its suite of Eco features, which include energy save, no signal off and no operation off modes.

Finally, the TV also features a large, easy to read seven-day EPG (Electronic Program Guide). The EPG has a search feature, but is no more useful than that on any other EPG — you can only search by date or genre, and both are time consuming.

Performance

Having been impressed with Sharp TV performances in the past, we weren't prepared for what we got after plugging an antenna cable into the back of this one. Tuned to David Attenborough's Planet Earth in HD, the Sharp looked stunning with natural reds and blues. As with all of his documentaries, there were little furry things scurrying through the underbrush in extreme close-up, and the D77X made sure the wiggling noses and twitching fur were detailed, and motion was smooth.

So, it can handle off-air pictures, but what about all the discs you have lying around? We plugged in a copy of King Kong on DVD and found it was able to relay the results with natural colours and deep blacks — though the image wasn't as "three dimensional" when compared to other sets. TVs such as the Pioneer Kuros and the LED-backlit LCDs are able to generate a sense of depth due to incredibly high levels of black. While the Sharp didn't give us the sense that we could reach out and touch the objects on-screen, blacks were still "black" and not shades of green. Similarly, the river demonstrated the TV's quality image processing by reducing the appearance of purple and green bands from the shots of the Hudson River as seen from the top of the Empire State. Blurring wasn't a problem either, and the TV was able to track the planes in the panning shot at the penultimate scene without issue.

Though we were generally impressed with last year's LC46D83X, one of its main faults was poor motion resolution (interlaced pictures when showing anything but static images). However, the company appears to have rectified the issue this time around.

When switching to HD discs, we experienced the same impressive image quality we'd seen on the FTA tuner. MI3 on Blu-ray wasn't too grainy, while detail levels were still high, and colours were natural and yet still well-saturated. There was also solid support for the 24p Blu-ray standard with very little judder. But don't bother with the 100hZ if judder does show up — it's as bad as all the rest.

In common with the Sharp screens of yore, we experienced no problems with backlight clouding, which is where solid slabs of black can come out "blotchy" due to inconsistencies in the backlight. However, it did suffer from the other common problem of today's LCDs in that when viewed off-axis blacks become purple. While this isn't usually an issue, if you're looking for a television you can watch at an angle — say because you have a rectangular room — then an LCD such as the Sharp LC42D77X isn't for you.

Our only quibble with the Sharp LC42D77X is that the sound quality has gone backwards. We still have fond memories of the Sharp LC46D83X, which is probably the best sounding TV of the last few years, and so it's a shame to see the company falter in this regard. Voices lack depth and authority, and despite the Bass Enhancer being on there was almost zero bass response. As a result movies like MI3 were vaguely ridiculous, turning nail-biting action sequences into the aural equivalent of a reading of the minutes from the local philatelists club.

Conclusion

The Sharp LC42D77X is a good all-rounder: it features modern design, excellent visuals, and a modicum of features for the price. Where it falls down is in the audio department, but presumably you'll buy a home cinema as well. Say yes. Please say yes.

Another point is that Sharp has a new TV coming very shortly, which promises to blow this one away. We got a sneak peek of it this week and think it's going to be a winner, and for a price not that much more than this one. If you're looking to buy a Sharp specifically in the short term it may be worth waiting a couple of weeks and checking out the impressive-looking LED-backlit LC40LE700X.



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jhawke281
8
Rating
 

"I'm happy with this product"

jhawke281 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:yes

The Bad:no

I have had this tv for nearly 12 months now and im really happy with it got it for a good price and for my first LCD tv im really happy with my buy, it is great to watch movies, tv and great for my gaming, i cant think of anything to pick on really, i have had no problems with it waht so ever no repairs no nothing, besides the reason of upgrading to a bigger screen size i have no reason to buy another tv at this point of time, when i do upgrade i will be looking at a sharp tv

I have read the previous comments and dont understand.....each of their own i guess, but im happy with it

chimo
1
Rating
 

chimo posted a review   
Australia

The Good:NOT

The Bad:AS IT GETS

Hmmmm. I admit that I bought this TV on price, but expected a good product from an established family name. Sharp have been around for many years and, I'm now starting to think that they have JUST managed to stay below the radar. So, I THOUGHT their name was good. As I said..."Hmmmm!". I also admit that I was heavily influenced on the review CNET wrote (I usually agree with them!), as well as the three year warranty, where the closest competitor offered only one. As they were giving away an XBOX 360 Elite and games bundle (supposedly worth $750+ dollars), which I planned to sell at the highest price (and did - $385....is that 50% ? Close!). The final price was $1263 which I felt happy with. The TV seemed to be of a good quality. the CNET report on sound didn't worry me as I have a sound system that deals with it (had it been an issue...I didn't think so). I had a couple of occasions where the picture corrupted and I had to unplug the TV to remedy (I subsequently wish I had reported this fault because it would have been strike three and won me a new TV...maybe THAT won't fix the problem though...we'll see! So, about 10 months down the line the 1st major problem was found to be unfixable (with powering off the TV). The picture "strobed" and was unwatchable. I reported this to Sharp and was told that I had to have it repaired (a replacement was out of the question). I contacted their nearest, recommended warranty agent and had the TV taken away for repairs (I think it took close to a week to have it collected and another two to be returned). Well, about two months later - JUST before Christmas, the same fault appeared. We contacted Sharp and were told we had to have another warranty repair affected. They were in NO WAY concerned that we would be without a TV over the entire holiday period, not even when we explained we had overseas visitors and had prepared some fairly expensive family holiday DVD's to share with them. We tried to argue that the problem had re-manifested itself far too soon and had concerns it would again (as well as the fact that repairs weren't likely for weeks at this time of the year!). So, what options are there? We almost bought another "spare" to get over the problem, but just couldn't afford it at this time of the year (you can be SURE that Sharp was NOT on my list of possibilities had that we considered!!!). So, again, we accepted a Sharp-recommended warranty agent. The TV was collected early in the new year (the 6th?) and we were supposed to get it back today (the 27th)...after numerous attempts to lock in a time, as well as having neighbours standing by in case we were out, a number of late afternoon enquiries as to it's status, as well as a GUARANTEE (made before 5pm) that IT WOULD BE DELIVERED "TODAY"...still, NO TV! There was a phone call around 515pm from the driver that was supposed to deliver it saying he wasn't sure whether he was collecting something or picking something up...and the suburb he was supposed to be in was 40 kms away!...another PROMISE of a call to confirm what was going on...and, here it is, 815pm...no TV! NO SURPRISE!!! We have already been told that tomorrow isn't possible (I'm SURE the weekend isn't!). But that's OK...I really don't expect the repairs to last anyway. Maybe we'll get a new TV after the next problem (too bad it'll have to be a Sharp!).

So, I have always put a lot of faith in CNET's reviews. I see that, this time, the user rating is close to half what theirs was. I wonder what the difference will be once a few more people speak out like I felt forced to do. The saddest part of this whole story is that, before Sharp proved themselves to be a disinterested manufacturer, I had recommended the same TV to my son's girlfriend. She has made the purchase, so let's hope mine is a unique product and hers will stand the test of time. I'm doubtful!

There you go, Sharp. 1 out of 10 (only because ZERO wasn't an option!).

DGA
2
Rating
 

DGA posted a review   

The Good:No

The Bad:Yes

Does not support gaming consoles.
Gives off alot of heat.
Needed repairing 2 times in 4 months
TV picture will turn off with souond only.

 

tim posted a comment   

The Good:it looks nice

The Bad:picture quality

this tv is such a bad buy i have owned one for 2 months and the picture is disgusting, its very blurry for a hdtv. dont even bother trying to watch sport on it. i took it to get fixed under warranty apparently there is nothing wrong with it, all these models are exactly the same. in the words of the guy who was supposed to fix it " its a Sh** tv try get rid of it and buy something better

Technova
6
Rating
 

Technova posted a review   

The Good:Great picture, Plenty of intputs.

The Bad:Speakers are bad, Back light issues.

Bought this one a while back and it's been pretty good. Compared to other TVs its got great picture but the sound is so bad it probably shouldn't have any speakers at all. I also like the fact it has alot of inputs as I can connect all three of my consoles to it at once. I have had to have it repaired once already so kinda glad it has a long warranty. Some sort of flickering back light issue seems to keep appearing randomly... it can be a little annoying at times.

squareyed
1
Rating
 

squareyed posted a review   

The Good:if it worked

The Bad:Poor reliability

Had to get serviced twice now ! Won't ever buy Sharp again.

 

gadgetwizzz posted a comment   

The Good:colours

The Bad:poor quality, poor reliability, picture blurring

The TV is now just less than 12 months and it has needed to be repaired - TWICE. The first was dimming of the picture and now, the picture flickers. I would highly recommend going elsewhere for your TV. My SHARP experience has been a most dissapointing one.

korointer
8
Rating
 

korointer posted a review   

The Good:yes

The Bad:no

i like to know if you still have this item available for sale and present condition of the item i hope to read back from you soon
thanks




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User Reviews / Comments  Sharp LC42D77X

  • jhawke281

    jhawke281

    Rating8

    "I have had this tv for nearly 12 months now and im really happy with it got it for a good price and for my first LCD tv im really happy with my buy, it is great to watch movies, tv and great for my..."

  • chimo

    chimo

    Rating1

    "Hmmmm. I admit that I bought this TV on price, but expected a good product from an established family name. Sharp have been around for many years and, I'm now starting to think that they have JUST ..."

  • DGA

    DGA

    Rating2

    "Does not support gaming consoles.
    Gives off alot of heat.
    Needed repairing 2 times in 4 months
    TV picture will turn off with souond only."

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