The picture quality of the Haier HL47K would be OK for an entry-level set if not for its lack of uniformity. Those issues, such as brighter areas in certain parts of the screen and discoloration in others, along with "banding," were most visible in dark areas but still bad enough to knock the Haier lower down the totem pole than many budget HDTVs.
Setup during our standard calibration was somewhat frustrating. The set's initial color temperature before adjustment was quite blue, averaging about 9,000K even in the so-called Warm color temperature preset. Unfortunately, even adjusting the Custom color temperature controls as far as they could go didn't minimize the blue tinge enough; it still averaged around 6,800K, which was far enough from the 6,500K standard to be visible, but not terrible. We also missed having a backlight control, which could have helped improve contrast. For our full picture settings, check out the bottom of this blog post.
We compared the Haier HL47K to another budget set, the Honeywell Altura MLX, as well as to a few more expensive displays, including the Sharp LC-46D85U, the Sony KDL-46W4100 and the Samsung LN52A650, and as always, for reference, the Pioneer PRO-111FD plasma. Our Blu-ray of choice for image quality tests this time around was Get Smart played back via the Sony PlayStation 3.
Black level: We didn't expect the Haier to outperform the more expensive displays at delivering a deep shade of black, and it did not. In dark scenes, such as the nighttime shots of the Chechnyan warehouse in Chapter 2, shadows and black areas appeared lighter than any of the others by a good margin, with the exception of the Honeywell, which appeared even lighter. This scene also revealed some of the Haier's serious uniformity issues, especially the "spotlights" in the corners (see below). Shadow detail suffered somewhat on account of the lighter blacks, and many details appeared too dark and a bit obscured as a result, but it was still decent for an inexpensive LCD.
Color accuracy: As we mentioned at the top the Haier was somewhat blue overall, although color in general looked much better than on the Honeywell. Skin tones in bright areas, such as the sunlit face of Anne Hathaway on the plane in Chapter 7, were in the accuracy ballpark, but she did look paler than on the reference displays. Black areas and shadows were tinged blue--the darker the bluer--although the effect was more noticeable on the Sony and the Sharp, for example. Again the Haier's Achilles heel was uniformity; in dark areas of the shadowy warehouse we noticed the reddish tinge to the sides of the screen compared to the middle, for an overall unnatural look to shadows.
Primary colors measured well for the most part, which was visible in the relatively accurate looking red of the sports car in the Smithsonian lobby from the opening of the film, and the blue sky above the Lincoln memorial. We did notice a bit of yellow mixed into greens, such as the grass of the mall for example, compared to the reference display.
Video processing: We noticed occasional flicker with some sources on the Haier. It was obvious in test patterns and also showed up in program material. We didn't see any flicker during Get Smart at 1080p, but we did noticed some while watching Get Out on HD Net, for example, from our DirecTV receiver. We saw flicker in foreground objects such as plant frond of a plant as a zoom tightened, and later the hostess's ribbed pink shirt showed some flickering breakup. None of the other displays exhibited these issues.
The HL47K's motion resolution measured between 300 to 400 lines, which is about average for a standard 60Hz LCD. The Haier is the first HDTV we've tested in a long time that couldn't properly deinterlace film or video-based sources. We don't think this failure had anything to do with the flicker since we also saw flicker on 720p sources, but it may contribute to some visible artifacts, and we'd recommend sending it 720p or 1080p when possible (it scales 1080i anyway). The HL47K accepted 1080p/24 sources, for what it's worth, but as expected this 60Hz display didn't look any different when showing 1080p/24 or standard 1080p/60 material.
Uniformity: The screen of the Haier HL47K was the least-uniform we've seen this year. The sides appeared redder and significantly brighter than the middle, and the upper left and right corners had relatively bright "spotlights" that were brighter than the rest of the screen. The display also revealed uneven backlight structure, similar to but even worse than the "banding" we noticed on the Sharp, that was obvious in some program material, especially fast pans and other whole-screen movement as well as flat fields of color. We noticed both the banding and the brighter edges, for example, in footage of the Space Shuttle taking off and later as it orbited the planet. The Haier's screen also washed out and discolored more quickly than any of the others when seen from off-angle.
It's been a while since we noticed a dead or stuck pixel in a review sample, but our HL47K sample has a prominent one in the middle of the screen, which showed up in most obviously in dark program material. Of course, this issue will vary from sample to sample.
Bright lighting: Like most LCDs with matte screens, the HL47K performed well in a bright room, controlling ambient reflections nicely. Among the sets in our lineup, the shiny-screened Samsung was better at maintaining black levels in bright lighting.
Standard-definition: The Haier didn't fare all that well in this department. It was able to resolve every detail of DVD sources, but in the Detail test shot the stone bridge and grass looked softer than on the other displays. It also had a hard time with video-based sources, leaving plenty of jaggies behind in moving diagonal lines and a waving American flag. The set's noise reduction was effective enough, on the other hand, at removing snowy motes from shots of skies and sunsets. The Haier successfully engaged 2:3 pulldown detection to remove moirÃ© from the grandstand behind the racecar.
PC: When we connected a PC to an HDMI input, the best resolution we could get was 1,144x900, which looked OK albeit a bit soft. Choosing any higher resolution, up to 1,920x1,080, caused the screen to flicker to an unwatchable degree. As the manual states, the highest resolution the TV's VGA input accept is a paltry 1,024x768, which again looked OK, but didn't come close to taking advantage of the Haier's native resolution. Even for an inexpensive display, the HL47K is not a very good PC monitor.
|Before color temp (20/80)||8722/8344||Poor|
|After color temp||6461/6920||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 1904||Poor|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 293||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.637/0.33||Good|
|Color of green||0.271/0.596||Average|
|Color of blue||0.145/0.063||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||No||Poor|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Pass||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Fail||Poor|
|1080i film resolution||Fail||Poor|
|Haier HL47K||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||237.3||231.73||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.25||0.25||N/A|
|Cost per year||$73.45||$71.73||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|