The Sharp LC42PD7X is a 42 inch LCD television with a native resolution of 1920x1080, or what's also known as 1080p. Sharp has a reputation for creating the best in LCD television technology and this full high definition model is no exception. It is not without its problems, though, and while they are only minor, they prevent the unit from attaining true perfection.
The new "Neo Fluidic" design is elegant with a piano black bezel and a silver metallic speaker grill. As many of its competitors moved to a piano black finish, Sharp resisted for quite some time. It's good to see that in finally doing so, they chose a design that stands out, rather than take the easy road and simply clone a previous design in black.
The LC42PD7X is a part of the first series to use the new four wave backlighting system which allows for a wider spectrum of colours. The result is quite stunning, with excellent colour and a smooth blend during subtle colour changes. However, while the black levels are improving every year, the panel is still subject to a backlight and, as such, blacks are a little grey.
The panel has an integrated HDTV digital tuner, two HDMI ports and two component connections. Being a 1080p panel, it is geared toward high definition use but still supports composite and S-Video nonetheless.
If you are a part of the ever-growing movement toward movies then you will be astounded by the image quality, colour, sound and the overall package that the PD7X has to offer. It doesn't handle motion as well as a 100Hz television would, but when compared to similar units, the level of judder is acceptable. When viewing regular DVDs, the interpolation noise is quite high and there is understandable detail loss. This isn't the panels fault though, and is purely due to the shortcomings of the DVD format.
If you own a high-definition games console, this panel will make you drool. Our 1080p tests using the Playstation 3 were outstanding with excellent motion and impressive clarity. With theset to 720p, the panel faired just as well, making this a definite consideration for serious gamers looking for the best.
We were overjoyed to see the return of the DVI port as it allows for a pure digital PC connection and a true 1:1 pixel ratio at a maximum 1920x1080 desktop resolution. The last Sharp model to support DVI was over two years ago and it has been sorely missed by media centre PC users. However, since there is no VGA D-Sub port, those wishing to connect their laptops may find it problematic.
One minor thing we noticed when testing this unit is that when transitioning from light to dark images the whole panel tends to dim. This makes the blacks look much better but sacrifices brightness in the process and tends to be distracting. However, this is not a feature of the panel -- it isn't mentioned in the manual and most importantly, there isn't a way to turn it off. We thought it might have been the Optical Picture Control settings but even with OPC turned off, it still occurred. Sharp assures us that it is a problem with our test unit and is not indicative of the PD7X series, but it warrants a mention all the same.
While we found the dimming issue annoying, it may only be a minor problem in the grand scheme of things. Considering how excellently this unit performs as a whole, it is a forgivable blemish and one that many users may not notice. The LC42PD7X is the best 1080p LCD television on the market, and the price point makes it worth your consideration.