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Every year there are improvements to LCD televisions that make them a more attractive proposition.
The Sharp LC37RD2E is an example of this year's improvements, sporting 100Hz technology to make movies look smoother and reduce motion blur.
We can't fault the design of the LC37RD2E, even though it's a pretty standard look these days -- the chunky plastic case is finished in piano black and the speaker system is concealed in a thin strip at the bottom of the screen.
The inputs for the TV are located, for the most part, under a removable panel at the rear of the television. This means you can wire everything in and then cover the panel up, never to worry about it again. Or at least until the next time you buy a piece of AV gear.
You can see a full list of the TVs inputs on our specifications page, but there are no nasty surprises, although the LC37RD2E does only manage two HDMI sockets. The only oddity is the component video input, which shares the VGA socket. You'll need to use the supplied adaptor to connect a hi-def source via the RCA style connections. This is okay in practice, but makes having a media centre and games console hooked up together slightly tricky.
One of the key features of this set is its 'TruD' 100Hz picture mode. Using electronics to artificially increase the refresh rate is designed to decrease the amount of blurring and motion judder you see. The Sharp picture mode is one of the best we've seen -- it's really very obvious when you switch this setting on that the processing is working.
Freeview is built-in, as we'd expect, and there's an analogue receiver in case your area can't yet receive digital.
The menu system is incredibly basic, and verging on ugly. That said, the menus are all easy to use, and they are fast to respond, which makes setting the TV up or changing picture settings much easier. What it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in functionality.
The television's remote control is the usual crazy Sharp affair. It's wider at the top than at the bottom and it's pretty chunky. At the bottom is a flap that conceals four buttons. We really couldn't tell you why they need to be under a flap -- it's not like they control the nuclear deterrent for Great Britain or anything, they're just buttons for adjusting the picture control and putting the TV into sleep mode.
When we popped in our favourite HD DVD, Serenity, we were blown away by the difference 100Hz processing had on the CGI scenes at the start of the movie. As the camera panned across spaceships and computer-generated cities, we switched the TruD on and were amazed to see that it totally eliminated any film judder.
The 100Hz feature is so effective, it gives movies a TV show feel. If you're a purist who prefers to watch movies with their atmospheric motion effects, you'll leave it off. If you like smooth, judder free motion, this is the best system of its kind we've seen.
The only problem we noticed with the 100Hz picture mode was that on objects moving in the frame there was sometimes a distortion around them -- this is a side-effect of the complicated video processing the TV does. While it is slightly annoying, we suspect that after a while you wouldn't notice it. Plus, it's not there when the 100Hz movie mode is turned off.
The picture quality overall was excellent. Watching hi-def we found the images to be jam-packed full of glorious detail. Once we turned down the backlight, the blacks were dark and there was loads of contrast, even in dark scenes. We didn't notice any unpleasant grain on pictures, either.
Freeview picture quality was also good. We've criticised Sharp TVs in the past for displaying ugly de-interlacing artefacts -- we're pleased to say that this TV doesn't seem to suffer from those problems.
The 100Hz processing also seems to make Freeview look a lot smoother, which is no bad thing. We noticed that during camera pans there was much less motion blur than we've seen on other screens.
Sound quality was also good. We aren't fans of the built-in speakers on LCD and plasma televisions, but the speakers on the LC37RD2E were good enough for general use. We could make out speech, even when there were other sound effects happening at the same time. That's not to say we don't think you should get some external speakers too, after all if you've just spent more than a grand on a TV, you'd be mad to neglect the sound quality.
Sharp has managed to create an amazing TV set. We often hear people complain about how much HD DVD and Blu-ray judder -- this mode manages to eliminate pretty much all of this. How much you rate this feature will depend on how much you like the 'feel' of film. Either way, you can turn it off. But it's a remarkable piece of image-processing technology, and the most effective we've seen.
Overall the picture and sound quality make this television a good, sturdy performer and the only real criticism we can level at it is that it has slightly odd video inputs, which might make hooking up your games consoles a little harder than other sets.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield