By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
When I heard that Sharp was coming out with an HDTV that defied the trend and focused instead on enhancing the viewing experience by adding yellow to the RGB red, green and blue, I was a bit sceptical. After all, how much difference would and additional colour make in the scheme of things. Well, it turns out that adding yellow to RGB makes a big difference.
We tested Sharp’s Quattron LE810 LED HDTV ($1,500) for three weeks. This 40-inch HDTV is the model with the glossy screen and which has a number of forward-thinking features such as Netflix capability and an Ethernet port so you can connect it to the Internet for diagnostics, firmware updates and USB input for photos and media playback with four HDMI ports to boot.
The Internet features of the Quattron LE810 LED allow for remote diagnostics, supports and troubleshooting directly from Sharp under their Aquos Advantage program. This also makes it way easier to get software and firmware updates as all these new TVs run like computers and get updated software from time to time.
Battery of tests
We tested the LE810 by hooking it up to a Playstation3 for games and Blu-Ray playback, an AppleTV for on-demand HD movie rentals as well as Rogers Cable for sports and cable TV playback. We had mixed feelings about the HDTV’s glossy and reflective screen (the Quattrons come in both glossy and matte models) but realized that it wasn’t an issue once the set was on.
With yellow added to the RGB palette, we witnessed spectacular difference in the way high definition video was rendered. Besides adding significant depth and contrast overall, yellow helped add a natural glow to skin tones, additional shine and brightness to nature videos and an added touch of realism to each frame.
We watched BBC’s documentary titled Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer and were completely riveted as they showed the infamous monarch’s collection of fine tapestries. The degree of detail and clarity was surprising. When they slow-panned through a vast collection of statues, golden artifacts and jewels, everything looked vivid. With the added yellow, anything that is gold, from wheat fields to a royal coat of arms seems almost iridescent. Shows like documentaries that have slow cuts and transitions are the best because you can take your time to enjoy the colours, detail and realism.
Playing NBA2K10 on the Playstation3 was similarly gratifying to watch on the Quattron. Everything is saturated just right and the colours jump off the screen. You do tend to notice the colour yellow more. The parquet floors, the gold of the Laker’s jerseys all seem to take on a new life. Skin tones are more natural and have an actual glow to them and the players look more alive than ever.
We also watched the Montreal F1 Gran Prix and were completely s by how vivid everything looked, even in high speed. Most HDTVs tend to have a difficult time decoding high-speed signals like races, action scenes or explosions. The Quattron did a great job giving us a clear and vivid picture even from the in-car cameras.
Energy saving features
We like the Quattron’s Sharp’s OPC function that automatically adjusts the unit’s brightness based on the lighting of the room, again enhancing the energy efficiency of these TVs.
We had the TV set-up next to a window and we could see the quick adjustments taking place as the light changed. This is just one of the many green features that the Quattron has, since Sharp’s 1080p X-Gen LCD panel incorporates UV2A Technology and offers a dramatic reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional fluorescent-backlight LCD TVs.
The new AQUOS LED LCD TV with Quattron technology product lines are compliant with Energy Star® Version 4.0 standards which become effective in May 2010, as well as meeting Energy Star Version 5.0 standards which become effective in May 2011.
The Sharp Quattron LE810 LED is a premium and high-quality HDTV set that speaks the language of colour so eloquently. The addition of yellow to the RGB we’re so used to does add a lot of depth, vibrance and realism depending on the scene. The colour yellow can, however, manage to stand out a lot and seems ultra-vivid. This could just be a matter of getting used to the additional colour in the TV’s spectrum.
We’ve long maintained that the TV is the nerve centre of the home entertainment system and the Quattron LE810 LED is a great set to build around. You get ample input and a lot more HDMI porst (4) which is two more than we’re used to. With its Internet connectivity, Netflix integration and the fact that you can easily connect your PC for gaming or wide-screen web surfing and playing back photo slideshows.
As with any expensive HDTV, interested customers should go check out their nearest Best Buy of Future Shop to see if the Quattron LE810 LED will suit their needs. We found it to be an impressive set and it handled all the input we gave it admirably.
Rating: 5 out of 5