None of the cheaper 32-inch LCDs we've compared recently will satisfy viewers seeking the best home theater picture quality. The main strength of the Sharp LC-32D47UT, for example, lies not in the fidelity of its image, but in areas that might be more important to shoppers at the entry-level price point: features and energy efficiency. The former is comprised mainly of a third HDMI input, conveniently mounted on the side panel and quite rare for the breed. The latter will only save you a few bucks a year, at most, but over the lifetime of your typical bedroom TV that can add up. The sacrifice compared to other entry-level sets, despite the Sharp's relatively deep black levels, comes in other areas of picture quality, namely color and video processing. But if you want that third HDMI input and prize eco-consciousness, this little Sharp belongs on your own comparison list.
Although it's attractive enough, nothing much distinguishes the Sharp LC-32D47UT from the rows of identical-looking glossy black plastic LCD TVs out there. A subtle gray strip along the curved bottom edge of the panel adds a bit of contrast to the gloss, and the frame rounds slightly on the top and bottom, but otherwise the little Sharp blends right in.
Sharp's oval remote, with its rows of small, like-sized and different-colored buttons, has a toylike quality. We did appreciate the clicker's grouping of similar button groups by proximity, shape and color, and all of the requisite functions are accounted-for. On the downside the "freeze" button is given too prominent a place and the unit can't command other gear whether via infrared or HDMI, the way some other entry-level TV remotes can.
Sharp also endowed the LC-32D47UT with a feature not found on many TVs in this price range: a room lighting sensor it calls "OPC," complete with sensitivity controls. Two power saving modes limit the set's peak light output, one of which adds OPC to the mix.
More advanced controls start with a color management system hat's as complex as any you'll find, allowing adjustment of Hue, Saturation and Value for each color. The system wasn't very effective, however. Other adjustments include three levels of noise reduction, an active contrast setting that adjusts the picture on the fly, and a film mode setting for 2:3 pulldown.
Picture quality on the entry-level Sharp had its ups and downs, but overall it was among the least impressive of the models we tested. Black levels were deep enough for a low-buck LCD, but color accuracy, video processing, and a few other miscues tipped the scales in the negative direction.