As a member of the smallest screen size we currently review here at CNET, the 32-inch Sharp LC-32D43U competes against other name-brand 32-inchers from Samsung and Sony, among others. This is a step down from the company's 1080p model, the LC-32GP1U, but it still offers the company's best specs for a 32-incher in other performance areas. And in our lab tests, the LC-32D43U did turn in an impressive score, exhibiting deep blacks, more accurate color than we've seen from Sharp in the past, and decent uniformity. It lacks the kind of picture adjustments found in our favorite 32-incher so far this year, Samsung's LN-T3253H, but in some ways, it exceeds the picture quality of that set. All things considered, the Sharp LC-32D43U makes a good choice if you're willing to spend more than budget sets demand.
The LC-32D43U continues Sharp's tradition of sleekly styled HDTVs, and it starts by bucking the current trend of using nothing but glossy black for the flat-panel cabinet. Sure, it still sports plenty of gloss, but around the black frame is a slim silver border along the top and sides that flows a bit wider along the bottom edge to encompass the small silver speaker grilles. Its overall appearance is unusually rounded and organic, a look that's reinforced by the smooth lines of the stand and the oblong curves of the base.
Including stand, the Sharp LC-32D43U measures 32.3 inches wide by 23.2 inches tall by 9.6 inches deep and weighs 43 pounds. Remove the stand, and the panel measures 32.3 inches wide by 20.9 inches tall by 3.8 inches deep and weighs 36.4 pounds.
Sharp's been using the same remote for years, and the LC-32D43U is no exception. It has full orange backlighting, the ability to command four other pieces of gear, keys that are nicely spread out and well-differentiated, and a generally logical button layout. We say "generally" because the key controlling aspect ratio is stashed clear at the top of the long wand, the one for freezing the image is given an unduly important spot near the main directional keypad, and the one for changing picture modes is hidden beneath a flip-up hatch. The menu system is simple enough to navigate and includes helpful explanations that appear along the bottom.
With a native resolution of 1,366x768, the LC-32D43U matches the pixel count of most other flat-panel LCDs on the market. The set can fully resolve 720p HDTV sources, and all sources, including high-def, standard-def, DVD, and computers, are scaled to fit the pixels.
Sharp doesn't include as many picture adjustments as many of its competitors, including Samsung, Sony, and Vizio, so serious picture tweakers will probably be left unsatisfied. We would most like to see the ability to further refine the TV's color temperature beyond the five available presets, but at least the most accurate Low preset comes much closer to the standard than it did on previous Sharps. We did appreciate the wide range of the backlight control, which affects the TV's all-important light output and black level performance. We also liked the ability to adjust five of the TV's global picture preset memories, along with a sixth User memory that's independent per input.
Other picture controls of note are an OPC setting that uses a sensor to automatically adjust the picture according to room lighting, a Black setting that affects shadow detail, and a three-position noise-reduction control. For standard-def sources, you also get a 2:3 pulldown control labeled Film Mode and an Image Compensation setting designed to optimize the picture for fast or slow movement.
Disappointingly, the LC-32D43U cannot change the aspect ratio of HDTV sources at all--unless your source can switch aspects, you're stuck with the default wide mode. There are four aspect ratio choices available for standard-def sources.
The Sharp LC-32D43U offers the standard array of connections, albeit split between two different bays. The bay on the top right side houses a pair of HDMI inputs, a VGA-style PC input (1,360x768 maximum resolution), an RF-style coaxial input for antenna or cable, and an optical digital audio output for surround signals from the ATSC tuner. The bay on the back boasts two component-video inputs (one of which shares a slot with a composite-video input) and an AV input with composite and S-Video.