capsule review

Sharp Aquos LC-37D90U

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder AQUOS LC-37D90U

    TechHive Rating

    This HDTV's 1080p resolution is a rarity for this size, but its performance didn't measure up to that of less pricey sets.

The Sharp Aquos LC-37D90U scored well in our TV tests overall, though not as well as others of its size. This 37-inch LCD HDTV produced good skin tones, but it also showed a tendency to pixelate. A few jurors noted excessive shimmering on the stubble of a talk show host. Details of dark backgrounds in a scene from Joan of Arcadia were deemed as Good, though one panel member commented that the school's walls seemed "splotchy" and "pixelated." The LC-37D90U achieved average scores in a George Lopez scene, with mixed reviews from jurors. One commented that skin tones showed "nice nuances," while another thought colors were "oversaturated." A wine train scene showed striated clouds and slightly dull green tones. The seeming grittiness of some scenes in our bright-lights test was distracting.

Pixelation again caused image problems in our standard-definition tests, with one juror noticing "terrible edges" in a game show scene and pixelated green turf in a baseball game sequence. Skin tones on a game show with a diverse cast were good, though edges tended to be blocky. Another panelist noted that colors were a bit "too vivid," suggesting oversaturation. Nonetheless, color quality satisfied many of our finicky jurors in standard-definition sequences, as well as in DVD scenes of Seabiscuit and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

The lines of the Sharp TV set bezel are pleasing and simple, though slightly disrupted by the flaring, boomerang-shaped base. We didn't care for the ersatz titanium cabinet, which conveyed lifelessness despite its shimmer. The LC-37D90U swivels--a rare feature in LCD TVs of this size--though only through a range 10 degrees on each side.

This HDTV's on-screen display needs some work to make it more navigable. Though the menu is comprehensive, at times there is no easy way out of it. Pressing the Exit button takes you a level up on the OSD menu, but it doesn't let you turn the OSD off. If you don't do anything, the OSD eventually disappears--but that's not intuitive. And whereas almost all of the TVs we tested include a way to activate and navigate the OSD from the TV instead of from the remote, Sharp does not. To its credit, the remote felt great in our hands. Its elongated lower part is easy to grasp, and its wider top part balances it nicely. Number buttons are logically laid out in a typical grid, and frequently used channel and volume controls occupy the center of the remote.

This Sharp TV set has a feature called Optical Picture Control. When activated, OPC detects the amount of light in a room and adjusts the TV's brightness accordingly. To test it, we turned half of the lights in the room off, then all of them off, and then all of them on--and the feature worked well. It's useful in rooms that have different ambient lighting conditions throughout the day. Unlike many other, less-expensive LCD TVs, Sharp does not include a PIP or PBP feature--a bizarre omission. An extremely detailed 78-page manual comes bundled with the set, though we found no quick-start guide for this complicated piece of machinery.

Currently, the Aquos LC-37D90U is one of the few 37-inch LCD TVs that offer 1080p resolution. That may account for its $2000 price tag (as of October 8, 2006). It may suit a few budgets and design tastes, but cheaper models in the same category outperformed it.

Roy Santos

This story, "Sharp Aquos LC-37D90U" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This HDTV's 1080p resolution is a rarity for this size, but its performance didn't measure up to that of less pricey sets.

    Pros

    • 1080p resolution--a rarity in this size
    • Automatic brightness function works well

    Cons

    • Lacks PIP or PBP features
    • Expensive
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