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Sharp's 120Hz LCD TV bucks blurring, but doesn't dejudder

CNET editors review the Sharp LC-46D85U, the company's first true 120Hz LCD HDTV.

The Sharp LC-46D85U is the company's first to offer a 120Hz refresh rate. CNET

Ah, 120Hz. Like many features used by TV manufacturers to induce people to spend more money on step-up models (see also 1080p, HDMI 3.0), its visible impact on picture quality is often difficult to discern. In test patterns, 120Hz can reduce blurring, and when paired with a 1080p/24 source it can make film-based sources appear a bit smoother, but for the average viewer, and in many cases even experienced reviewers like me, the differences appear slight.

It's easy to confuse 120Hz with dejudder processing, which can have a significant visible impact on picture quality--not all of it good, but that's another story. The confusion increases because many manufacturers market 120Hz and dejudder in the same breath, and, in fact, nearly every 120Hz LCD also features dejudder. The Sharp LC-46D85U we just reviewed is one exception.

This LCD TV doesn't have any dejudder video processing, but its 120Hz mode still manages to provide some blur reduction, according to our tests. It's worth reiterating that we couldn't discern the benefits of its antiblurring technology without using test patterns, but if you're hyper-sensitive to blur, or want an LCD and don't want dejudder, the LC-D85U series is the only game in town.

Unfortunately, our review sample also exhibited the same kind of uneven backlight performance, also called "banding," that we saw on earlier Sharp LCDs. Its black level performance suffered somewhat as well, and at the end of the day, these more-visible picture quality issues trumped anything 120Hz could bring to the table.

Read the full review of the Sharp LC-46D85U.

Below you'll find the settings we found best for viewing the Sharp LC-46D85U in a completely dark room via the HDMI input with a 1080p, film-based source. Your settings may vary depending on source, room conditions, and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.

Picture menu:
A/V Mode: Movie
OPC: Off
Backlight: -8
Contrast: +30
Brightness: +1
Color: +1
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 0

Advanced menu:
Fine Motion Enhanced: On
Active Contrast: Off
I/P Setting: Fast
Film Mode: On
Digital Noise Reduction: Off
Monochrome: Off
Range of OPC: [N/A]

CMS Hue menu:
R: +5
Y: +6
G: -30
C: -7
B: +8
M: -4

CMS Saturation menu:
R: -4
Y: 0
G: +30
C: 0
B: 0
M: 0

Color Temp menu:
Color temp: Low
R Gain: +5
G Gain: +11
B Gain: -20

Power Control menu:
Power Saving: Off