At their line show in New York City earlier this week, Sharp showed its new LE700 series of LCD HDTVs. Right off the bat, the good news is that the company is calling them “LCD TVs”, and choosing to name the series “AQUOS LED“. This is in contrast to Samsung and Toshiba who have chosen to use the misleading term “LED TVs” for their new products. In all three cases, these are still LCD TVs that use LEDs as the source of backlight illumination instead of the traditional fluorescent tubes.
Sharp’s new line is a full-array LED backlight, as opposed to an edge-light design. The trade-off is that the resulting panel is thicker than it could be with an edge light arrangement, but it enables local dimming that improves dynamic contrast ratio by turning down — or even completely off — the LEDs behind darker parts of the image. This approach also helps lower energy consumption, because the LEDs use less power when dim or off. Surprisingly, Sharp chose not to implement local dimming in the LE700 series; the most obvious explanation is that this may help keep costs down. Even so, these sets all beat the Energy Star guidelines by 50% or more. You still get the improved color performance and eco-friendly benefits that comes with an LED backlight.
These new TVs also have AQUOS Net connectivity. Compared with offerings from Samsung and others, access to Internet features is far more limited with these Sharp models, but you can get weather, financial, and traffic data. One clever benefit is that you can choose to let Sharp technicians access the TV remotely if you need help in adjusting the TV’s settings.
These 1080p sets from Sharp come in 32″, 40″, 46″, and 52″ models, and are scheduled to ship this month. The MSRP for the four models are LC-52LE700UN, $2,799.99; LC-46LE700UN, $2,199.99; LC-40LE700UN, $1,699.99; and LC-32LE700UN, $1,099.99.