Introduction to the Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV
While just about every HDTV manufacturer is including 3D as a necessary, almost required feature in their panels, only two manufacturers are pushing the limits when it comes to very large LCD displays. Those two manufacturers would be Sharp and Samsung. Samsung’s extraordinary 75” 9000 series LED LCD TV will set you back the price of a shiny new compact vehicle, or about $13,000, while Sharp has four standard 70” models with the top of the line standard 3D set listing at a much lower $4299. Along with competitively priced gargantuan panels the other thing Sharp is generating buzz for is their Quattron technology which is the inclusion of a fourth yellow sub pixel in the pixel matrix. Sharp says adding this yellow sub pixel not only creates a wider color gamut (especially in yellows, greens, and cyans) but also makes the panel both brighter and more efficient due to the amount of light that passes through the yellow filtered sub pixel. Since the Sharp panels are getting very good Energy Star ratings there is probably some very smart engineering going on under the hood.
The subject of this review is the mid-priced, slightly large but not quite gargantuan LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D display that lists for $2,799. The LC-60LE835U feature list includes edge lit LCD technology, 3D capability, 240hz AquoMotion backlight strobing, Ethernet port, built in Wi-Fi (G,N) adapter, DLNA support, internet connected services such as Netflix, CinemaNow, and Vudu, and IP control for connectivity with automation products such as Control 4 and Crestron.
SHARP LC-60LE835U LED LCD 3D HDTV SPECIFICATIONS
- Design: LED Edge-Lit LCD HDTV
- Native Resolution: 1920×1080
- Maximum Refresh Rate: 240 Hz (120Hz Motion + Backlight Strobing)
- Screen Size: 60.1″ Diagonal
- 3D Formats: Side by Side, Top & Bottom, 2D -> 3D
- Screen Formats: 4:3 Normal, Dot by Dot, Smart Stretch, Zoom, Stretch, Full Screen
- Audio: 10 Watts X 2, Subwoofer – 15 Watts. Digital optical (Dolby Digital, PCM)
- Inputs: 4 HDMI 1.4, 2 USB, 1 Component, 1 Composite, 2 RCA, 1 RS-232C, 1 15 pin D-sub PC, 1 Ethernet.
- Wireless Capable: Yes, Built in Support for G (2.4 GHz) and N (5 GHz), DLNA capable
- Internet Apps: Vudu, Netflix, CinemaNow, Blockbuster On Demand, Alphaline Entertainment, Aquos Advantage Live
- Power Consumption: 220W, ( 0.1W Standby)
- Dimensions: 34.9″ H x 54.4″ W x 1.6″ D (Stand 14.6″ Deep)
- Weight: 68.3 Pounds (83.8 Pounds with Stand)
- MSRP: $2,799 USD; 3D Glasses $149.99 USD
- Secrets Tags: HDTV, LED, Edge Lit
Design of the Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV
Sharp’s 60” series of LCD panels all feature edge lit LED backlighting. Actually, the only models that utilize a full array backlighting system are on Sharp’s 70” models. Tony Favia, senior product manager for Sharp’s Entertainment Products Division says this is because edge lit LED’s shining through a diffuser wouldn’t spread the light out evenly enough on their 70” panels to meet Sharp’s quality specifications. The most notable benefit of using the edge lit system is the ability to create extremely thin panels that look fantastic when mounted on the walls. The next benefit is that they are very bright and very efficient compared to their light output. The downside however is that the depth of the blacks and the contrast is not quite as good as on LCD systems that have specific control over light zones on the panel or plasma televisions which are lit per pixel. Sharp has addressed improving the black level by creating ribless LCD apertures as part of their X-Gen Panel. This means that per pixel the LCD aperture area covers the entire space, rather than being divided by a rib, thereby blocking or allowing light to pass through more uniformly. Since edge lit LED’s are shined into a diffuser that spreads out the light across the panel it is common for edge lit LED’s to have various degrees of uniformity issues which appear as clouding or spots on the panel that appear brighter than others.
In this image the amount of clouding that was found on the review model of the LC-60LE835U can be seen. (The green dot is a light from the camera)
This is not an excessive amount of clouding for an edge lit LED display although some users might be more annoyed at the effect, than others. Mostly, this will be seen on uniformly dark scenes if at all. The bottom line is that there are some tradeoffs with ultra thin panels.
Every manufacturer has been attempting to improve their 3D performance on their panels and Sharp is no exception. Crosstalk refers to one eye’s image leaking into the other eye’s image and first generation 3D panels from almost every manufacturer were plagued with this problem to various degrees. Fortunately, most have succeeded at making improvements. Sharp addresses it by implementing quicker drive circuitry which they call FRED (Frame Rate Enhanced Driving). In addition, the LC-60LE835U also utilizes a backlight side mounted scanning technology which sequentially scans the panel in rows with its edge lit LED’s. Another challenge for 3D technology has been diminished light output when viewing the panel through the glasses. In this case the LC-60LE835U takes advantage of its very bright output capabilities and offers a few levels of brightness boost for its 3D viewing.
Sharp’s 3D glasses stand out from the crowd with a feature which allows the “had enough” user to continue watching a 3D film in 2D by pressing the power button twice. This feature is a very thoughtful addition for many viewers that might get tired of watching 3D after a while.
The LC-60LE835U panel is very slim at 1 5/8” thick and its modern looks are very stellar. The television’s bezel is glossy black and measures approximately one inch on the top and sides and one and a half inches on the bottom. The LC-60LE835U’s bezel is not quite as discrete as what you see on the Samsung 7000 and 8000 D series of televisions, which is about as close to not having a bezel as you can get, but it is relatively thin and minimizes the distraction of a bulky bezel measuring two inches or more. The panel has a minimalist approach to its appearance which includes a small Aquos Quattron logo on the upper left corner, the Sharp logo on the bottom center of the bezel, and the Star Trek like triangle logo on the bottom center which has a soft white glow when the panel is turned on. On the bottom right are touch controls for power, menu, input, channel, and volume which also illuminate when pressed. I found that these buttons need to be more sensitive to the touch, although most people will probably be using their remotes. Should you choose not to wall mount the panel, Sharp has included a stand that measures about fourteen inches deep and weighs nearly sixteen pounds.
The stand matches the looks of the panel very well and provides a sturdy base for the panel to rest and rotate on. The television’s back bracing that connects to the stand only measures about 18” wide and extends 6” up the panel so there’s a little bit of sway and bend in the panel as you rotate it in its base necessitating some caution.
On the back, there are a typical set of connections. The four HDMI inputs, USB 1 input, and audio output are located on the side and recessed so that the cables can be plugged in parallel with the backing and the panel can be mounted nearly flush to the wall. HDMI 1 is set up for ARC if it is desired. There are also two composite inputs, one component video input, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, another USB port, a VGA connection, and an RS-232C terminal.
The front of the screen has a plexi-glass type surface which is coated with a semi-gloss material that matches the glossy finish of the bezel. This coating does not make the panel overly shiny but in bright room conditions it will make the screen reflective and some amount of glare will be noticeable. In my room during the daytime I could see a soft reflection of everything in the room with the panel off. During watching, nothing ever became bothersome.
The remote control included with the LC-60LE835U is slim and light and has an intuitive lay out. Frequently used buttons are spaced apart well and everything is clearly labeled. This remote can be programmed to operate other devices and if you have a Sharp Blu-ray player you can use it to control the Blu-ray player with Aquos link turned on in the menu. This is a good remote and about the only thing to make it better would be some illumination.
Setup of the Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV
Setup for the LC-60LE835U is relatively painless due to the intuitive interface and very thorough manual included. With easy to use controls, it’s up to the user as to how much time they will spend in fine tuning the picture.
Since this panel is so thin, it would look excellent wall mounted, and many choices for wall mounts are available including the ones that Sharp sells on their website manufactured by Peerless. The panel can be set up on its base in a few minutes if you choose to use the included stand instead.
The LC-60LE835U’s user allows audio, picture, power, setup, and network options to be adjusted while the content is displayed on the screen. Picture settings can be changed while results are scaled to fit the preview window or in actual size if you select the control individually.
Audio choices include treble, bass, balance, auto volume, bass enhancer, and clear voice. The LC-60LE835U has a 3D sound mode that effectively gives the television’s audio a wider soundstage and a level of reverb that simulates a multi speaker setting.
The LC-60LE835U has several standard picture controls as well as some advanced controls. The backlight control gives the user the choice of how intense the LED backlighting can be and should be used to adjust overall brightness. In movie mode, with the warmer color temperature, a backlight setting of Max produced a suitable image for daytime viewing measuring 74.32 ft-lamberts. Settings of 0 to +5 of the backlight control would make a comfortable viewing experience for night time viewing measuring between 40 and 50 ft-lamberts. The other modes and color temperatures can yield far brighter results if desired. OPC is Sharp’s automatic light sensor that will adjust the level of the backlighting to match the lighting in your room environment and it can be turned off for manual control of the backlighting. The range of OPC can be set in the menu to avoid having the screen get either brighter or darker than your preference however you’ll want to leave OPC on and alone if you want to see this panel perform up to its Energy Star rating.
Contrast settings on the LC-60LE835U could be maxed out without clipping white however the higher settings from 30 to 40 generated very minor color shifting. A setting of 32 was chosen as the reference point for the review model. I found the default brightness setting of 0 to be perfect for RGB and 4:4:4 reference black levels tested with a pluge, and hi-lo track pattern. The color and tint controls can be used for setting the color decoder however I’d recommend professional calibration and using the CMS system to obtain better results because the color on this panel is so specific. One thing I would like to see Sharp include on this panel is a color-only mode such as the ones that Samsung and LG include in their panel’s controls to produce blue, red, and green only modes that help with verifying the color decoder.
While most panel’s sharpness controls adds significant ghosting around lines to make them stand out more, the sharpness control on the LC-60LE835U acts more like an edge enhancement control, making lines and edges stand out without adding excessive white noise surrounding the lines. I found settings of 0, 1, and 2 to be the most that I would ever use. Higher levels of this control highlighted details in shadows far too much to be desirable.
The LC-60LE835U’s motion enhancement controls features Sharp’s 120 Hz frame interpolation technology as well as their backlight strobing technology that brings the refresh rate up to 240 Hz. Using AquoMotion 240 diminishes light output by at least 20 ft.-lumens so if it’s used, higher backlight and contrast settings may be preferred. Sharp gives the user the option to turn off most of their advanced features, so if they look undesirable, the user isn’t stuck with them. The LC-60LE835U’s film modes for example while providing excellent processing performance can create an undesirable “Soap Opera” smooth feel in their highest setting and thankfully there are three levels of this feature.
Active contrast on the LC-60LE835U will intensify darks and whites and unlike some sets that have multiple levels of the control, this panel only has on or off. I typically have these features turned off on a display because I prefer a photographic look that is balanced and neutral. These features also tend to change gamma output considerably. This feature when turned on will attract the eye to the brighter portions of the screen and the highlights in the image which can make subjects in the screen pop out. This is definitely a preference feature.
The LC-60LE835U has several picture modes available. They are Dynamic, Dynamic (Fixed), Auto, Standard, Movie, PC, Game, and User. Most of these settings feature an extended color gamut that is exaggerated in its reproduction of color (See Benchmark Results) when compared to the Rec. 709 standard. In addition, most of these settings have colder (bluish) color temperatures that range from 9000 Kelvin to 13000 Kelvin. Dynamic is the brightest of these modes and measured at a very bright 138.3 ft-lamberts in full field 100 IRE. To get the closest to the Rec. 709 standard, the Movie mode is the best choice because it has the option of toning down the color gamut by changing the advanced settings for color gamut from extended to standard. By changing the color gamut to standard and by using the white balance controls, an image that is much closer to what the director has intended can be achieved. The other picture modes have the option of using white balance controls to achieve a white balance of D65 as well, however once balanced, the colors are still very vibrant and an adjustment of the color decoder is desirable. Sharp says “Caribbean” blues, I say “Kool Aid” blues.
A first stop with calibrating this set after setting contrast, brightness, and gamma settings would be dialing in the primaries in the CMS system. The LC-60LE835U’s CMS system is a HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) system where the hue control can be used to dial in the blends of the colors, saturation can be used to adjust the colorfulness, and value can be used to fine tune the luminosity. I was able to get adequate results by adjusting the saturation and luminosity of the primary colors and then doing an initial white balance. White balance controls include both two point and 10 point settings which include gains and cuts for red, green, and blue. I was able to get adequate results with the two point curve with my medium values being very close to spec and my highest values being slightly cooler. After an initial white balance, the next step was going back into the CMS and fine tuning both the primaries and the secondary’s, and then finally going back to the white balance controls to check for any changes. In this case, after setting the color gamut to standard, blue and green were still over saturated while red was very close to reference. All of the secondary’s required hue and luminosity changes. After all was said and done, I was able to dial in the primaries and secondary’s fairly close in saturation, hue, and luminosity to the Rec. 709 standard. Probably after spending even more time with it, I could get even better results. In summary, the CMS system and white balance controls of the LC-60LE835U are capable of dialing in color closer to the Rec. 709 standard but for the average consumer it would require professional calibration that manipulates CMS systems to get good results.
The Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV In Use
Sound from the television’s two 10 watt speakers and 15 watt subwoofer was quite good and was sufficient to fill a living room with sound. The sound quality was desirable with clean treble, and sufficient bass even at louder volumes. The 3D modes are a bit of a novelty that adds some reverb, but they do effectively change the sense of spaciousness that the sound occupies. Treble and bass controls can be used to further dial in the sound to a preference.
“This one goes up to eleven”. The default color gamut that’s present in the dynamic, auto, standard, game, and pc picture modes has a distinctive look that creates images with ultra vibrant colors. When watching a Texas Rangers baseball game for example, reds in the Ranger’s jerseys are ultra deep and powerful, yellows in the Sonic and Dewalt logos are bright and vivid, and greens stick out like a sore thumb and at times take on an almost neon glow. At the same time the colder 13,000 Kelvin color temperature makes white highlights extremely bright, white tones overly bluish, and skin tones lack warmth and depth. Blues are exceptionally strong in the image. The color quality looks excellent, but their intensity borders on garish depending on what the content is. On some media such as on the Alice in Wonderland Blu-ray
The extended color gamut was desirable and made Tim Burton’s world stand out that much more, but on a drama movie with a more serious tone such as The Horse Whisperer
they strayed too far from what the director intended. I know folks who would look at the amount of color saturation in the image and very much like the amount of pop they give. I, on the other hand prefer a natural true to life look which on this panel is only available after calibration. It is far better to have a panel with a wider color gamut that can be toned down, then have a panel that is under saturated. In summary, the default color on this television is very striking and its desirableness will come down to being preference based, however the capability to get it to a reference point lies in the controls and a skilled calibrator. After calibration the LC-60LE835U produced a truer to life, natural image in direct viewing conditions.
All LCD televisions when watched off angle will have some degree of contrast changes but the amount that is present on this panel is strong enough that I would not recommend this panel for anybody that has a wide angle seating arrangement. Viewing angles less than thirty degrees are fine but anything over that will progressively create an image that gets faded and washed out.
Blu-ray movies looked excellent and left nothing to be desired. Titles like the new Karate Kid
Starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan looked terrific with good black levels and contrast, rich color presentations, and exceptional levels of detail. Motion on the panel was excellent with the 120 Hz and AquoMotion 240Hz technologies smoothing out the effects of judder. A combination of the film modes and motion enhancement can be selected to get the preferable viewing experience.
3D performance on the LC-60LE835U was very good and much better than what you would find on first generation 3D televisions. Crosstalk has been significantly reduced but is still slightly there. It has been reduced enough to make it a non issue, but it will be present if it’s a problem on the media. For example, in the recent 3D movie Mars needs Moms, in the scene
where Gribble is by his computers a faint ghosting can be seen on the outlines of the images on the computer displays. While watching 3D on most LED displays is a dimmer experience through active glasses, the maximum brightness that this panel can achieve is a strong benefit for watching 3D Blu-rays. There are three levels of brightness boost and the maximum choice was my favorite as it made the screen almost as bright as if I wasn’t wearing any glasses. The feature to switch from 3D to 2D mode on the glasses worked without a hitch and is an excellent feature. The user can simply push the power button twice on the glasses and the 3D movie would then be seen in 2D. The LC-60LE835U also has a 2D to 3D mode that I found to be very enjoyable with sports broadcasts like football games. I don’t expect much when it comes to this kind of mode, but I found that the effect was barely enough to give some sense of depth. The LC-60LE835U includes a timer that lets you know how long you have been watching in 3D for which is a considerate feature given that long periods of viewing will strain the eyes from making them switch focus so many times.
The LC-60LE835U has only a few internet features when compared to other offerings like Samsung’s displays that feature their own app collections like the Smart Hub. While many manufacturers require a separate USB adapter purchase, the LC-60LE835U’s can be accessed by connecting to the television’s Ethernet port or using the built in Wi-Fi adapter that has support for both the G and N wireless protocols. To setup the Wi-Fi connection, one can choose between using the WPS push button or pin method, searching for the access point, or manually entering in the network settings. Connection was fairly straight forward in my case and the television made a successful connection on the first try with my WPA2 encrypted N network. In my network setup even though my Netgear N router is in the next room over, the television was reporting only two out of a five possible bars of signal strength. Although the reported signal strength was low, the internet connection seemed to be good and apps and features responded briskly. Once the LC-60LE835U has established an internet connection firmware updates can also be accessed. For this review the LC-60LE835U was updated to firmware version 300U1107201. The LC-60LE835U includes a modest collection of some of the more popular internet apps including Vudu, Netflix, CinemaNow, Blockbuster, Alphaline Entertainment, and Napster. The television also features Aquos Net (A collection of internet news blurbs about sport, traffic, stock quotes, weather, etc.), Aquos Advantage (Sharp’s interactive internet based customer support system), and DLNA support. DLNA functionality worked very well on this television. With Windows 7 computers that are appropriately set up for file and media sharing, the LC-60LE835U’s simple interface makes it very easy to find computers and browse through the media. Photos are shown by thumbnail and a simple slide show can be set up with 5,10,30, and 60 second intervals. Video playback was smooth, had good visual quality, and was free from any buffering glitches or downloading interruptions. Although DLNA playback worked very well the TV locked up a couple times when exiting video playback and the TV had to be completely shut off to get it back to operational. Since, Sharp has already addressed DLNA playback in their latest version of firmware, frequently updating firmware on this model would be recommended. The LC-60LE835U’s Netflix interface is similar to what you find on video game consoles and features rows of thumbnails of titles in several categories such as TV Shows, Drama, Sci-Fi, etc. There is a search function that allows one to look for a specific title but the ability to search by category, actor, director, or any other search field is absent. I find this interface to be far too slow and not flexible enough for looking for something interesting to watch. One handy feature that sets this display apart from others is that the picture modes that have already been set up or calibrated can be directly applied to the internet content. Sometimes you’ll find displays have their own set of display controls for internet content or none at all, so this is a welcome addition. Sharp’s Film mode as well as 120 and 240hz frame interpolation effects can dramatically affect the content giving it a “too real” or soap opera look with the internet features so it’s recommended to try the variations of using one, both, or none of these features.
The Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV On the Bench
Testing was done with a Sencore Mediapro 500 signal Generator, Sencore Colorpro V colorimeter, Calman’s Spectracal V 4.3 calibration software, and video processing was evaluated with the Spears and Munsil disc output in Source Direct mode from an Oppo BDP 83.
There are only five different gamma choices available in the user menu. The default gamma found in Standard mode produces images that are brighter than reference 2.2 gamma in their midtones as can be seen in the chart.
Since gamma correction can interplay with the CMS system as well I chose the default gamma setting under movie mode which is much closer to a 2.2 reference point.
As can be seen in the chart, the panel is extending the color gamut quite a bit in the standard mode and matches up to Sharp’s claim of creating a wider color gamut. Cyan and Magenta are far too bluish in their hue balance.
Using the CMS system gave the capability of dialing in the colors to the Rec. 709 standard with dE76 being less than 3% in primary and secondary colors.
The color temperature found in Dynamic and Standard picture modes is very cold or bluish.
Here are white balance results without the use of the CMS system but with the color gamut set to standard in movie mode. Red low gains were set to the maximum settings and reds were still measuring low in lower IRE outputs.
Here are white balance results for movie mode with the customized color gamut. As can be seen in the chart the upper and lower end of the output was a little colder of a color temperature than is reference, however with more time spent with both color temperature and cms controls, better results might be possible.
A test was done to evaluate 3D performance which involved using a checkerboard pattern that was displayed in side by side and top bottom 2D to 3D modes to evaluate how much bleed there was in each eye’s image. Images were free from crosstalk on the sides and top but there was a very small amount of bleed of left to right eye image on the bottom of the squares that was probably one or two pixels tall.
Video processing was tested with the Spears and Munsil Blu-ray disc output source direct from an Oppo BDP-83. The Sharp LC-60LE835U had excellent video processing performance. When the film mode is set to either Standard, or Advanced (High,Low) the display could lock onto and display most cadences including 2:2 and 3:2 without losing detail or producing artifacting in every resolution including 1080i. When film mode is set to Advanced High it appears that there is some frame interpolation effects and the media looks overly smooth. Displaying diagonal content such as that found in a hockey game was free from major jaggies however diagonal filtering was not exceptional on this display with the Quad Pixel Plus feature turned either on or off. When in Dot by Dot mode, a full 1920×1080 screen is shown with no clipped pixels, however the default “Stretch” mode clips about 30 pixels from every side which is helpful for hiding the squiggly lined, white data strip found on the top of the screen of some standard definition content and commercials found in cable and satellite broadcasts.
In addition, the LC-60LE835U had no issues displaying RGB Video, RGB PC, 4:4:4, or 4:2:2 color modes and detail in luma and chroma was excellent in every mode.
Conclusions About the Sharp LC-60LE835U 60” LED LCD 3D HDTV
With a very thin attractive panel, solid 3D performance, excellent brightness capabilities, and very good Energy Star ratings, the LC-60LE835U is a very good, large LED LCD television that should bring hours and hours of entertainment. While the color output is not for everyone, the capability to dial it in to a reference point is present and good results can be achieved with professional calibration. Its weakest points are its change in viewing from off angle and its limited internet app collection. For $2799 there is a lot of screen, very good energy savings, and a solid feature set that makes Sharp’s LC-60LE835U a solid contender in the market of flat panel televisions.