Three is a fairly powerful number to us humans: think of the Pyramids, the Holy Trinity and even the Three Little Pigs. In construction, a triangle is the strongest shape, and you can't even tell a story without a beginning, middle and end.
Three is strong in the broadcast world too, which is based around the RGB standard of Red, Green and Blue light. But it's not for nothing, humans are one of the few mammals that see the world as made up of a series of three colours — trichromatics, for those taking notes.
Though we do have other systems based on four colours — particularly in print with CMYK — it's yet to take a hold in broadcast. Until now, it seems. Sharp's Quattron system takes the RGB system and adds a third colour: yellow. But how this works is shrouded in witchcraft, voodoo and even maybe some vindaloo. On a recent trip to Japan,the TVs add the extra colours that should have been there, but that the RGB cameras couldn't capture. But what does this actually mean?
Imagine anon growth hormone. Imagine it sitting on its side in your lounge room. Now you're getting the idea. The Sharp shares a lot of elements with other devices from the past couple of years: the black glossy front, the silver trim and a slim profile. The TV sits atop a silver pedestal, and silver bleeds subtly from the base to inside the frame as well. While not entirely original, this is still a very attractive television.
Along the front of the TV lies an illuminated Sharp logo, the power "triangle" from the LE700X TV (which should rightly be a square, given the theme) and a series of capacitive — though not very responsive — controls on the right.
In the past Sharp's remotes have been kind of dreadful: stodgy, grey and with tiny buttons. The company has remedied this somewhat with the LE820 remote. It fits well in the hand and all of the buttons are relatively easy to locate. There's no backlight, though, and most of the buttons are black on a black background.
Yes, the Quattron system is the star of the show, and its inventors say the addition of the fourth colour increases panel contrast as well as allowing a wider colour gamut. Sharp has been a little coy as to how any of this works, and it's unclear if content with more colours than RGB — "Deep Colour" — would still be extrapolated to include extra yellows.
As far as black levels go, Sharp says the TV has "Mega Contrast", but all they really needed to do is what every other company does: stick a random number in front of a bunch of zeroes!
Beyond this, the Quattron is a 46-inch full high-definition screen illuminated with local-dimming edge-LEDs. The TV comes with a Fine Motion Advanced 100Hz mode and supports 1080/24p signal inputs. For the green-conscious, shrewd or both, it features Advanced OPC (Optical Picture Control) and an Eco function for reducing power consumption. As a result, the screen features one of the highest power ratings with six Energy Stars.
While overseas versions of this television get a panoply of features including IPTV and movie playback, the specs sheet is a little more modest with the local model. The TV does include an Ethernet port, but it doesn't do very much apart from stream music and JPEGs from your network server. It can't even be used to update firmware, instead you'll need to download the latest version from the website onto a USB key.
In addition to Ethernet and USB (which is also used for media playback), you get four HDMI inputs with audio return channel support, a single component input, an AV-in and a VGA port. Outputs include an optical digital and a headphone out.
We first loaded up ourwith our Monster calibration DVD and fine-tuned the TV picture — finding that the default modes were all kinds of horrible, while the Movie mode wasn't too bad.
With the TV "calibrated" we started with the synthetic HQV discs, which are a good measure of a television's processing capabilities — or how it gets rid of picture artefacts, in other words.