What I did find objectionable, however, was the LC-52D62U's picture uniformity. On one hand, its off-axis performance was surprisingly good for an LCD. When I moved to an off-center seat, the TV's contrast, brightness, and color all looked about the same - highly unusual for this technology. And fast-moving sports programs like a high-def hockey game on the Versus network (formerly OLN) revealed almost none of the smearing effect I've noticed on lesser LCDs. Upconversion of standard-def programs was also pretty good, though both the TV's noise-reduction modes caused visible softening.
On the other hand, when looking at solid-gray test patterns, I noted a distinct pattern of horizontal dark bands across the TV's screen. The bands weren't as visible with regular programs, although they did show up pretty clearly on occasion. For example, in the Pulse documentary, I could distinctly see pinkish bands running across the sand in a shot of Native Americans performing a dance in Red Rock Canyon. And the black-and-white movies I checked out had something of a black, white, pink, and green look. Fortunately, a second review sample from Sharp had markedly better picture uniformity, with almost no banding visible on regular programs or test patterns. (Sharp is aware of the issue and said anyone encountering this problem should call 800-BE SHARP [800-237-4277].)
BOTTOM LINE The Sharp Aquos LC-52D62U 52-inch LCD HDTV delivers strikingly crisp 1080p pictures, and its vivid color, strong contrast, and impressive shadow detail make it a viable option for watching both high-def sports and movies - something we can't often say about an LCD. The picture uniformity problem we observed on one sample, but not a second, suggests quality-control issues with the first LC-52D62Us out of Sharp's new plant, a situation that's likely to be resolved quickly. Meanwhile, if you can get one of the good ones, you're bound to be impressed at what Sharp's new oversize 1080p LCD has to offer.
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