One of the latest great deals in LCD HDTVs is the Aquos LC-52D85U from Sharp, which offers 52-inches of 1080p HD resolution with a lightning fast 120-Hz display for under $2000. The low price point of this TV along with its above-average picture quality puts it near the top of our list for one of the best LCD HDTVs for the money.
The outer bezel of the LC-52D85U is glossy black and very reflective, which gives the whole TV a very slick and impressive design. The screen itself has a sleek matte finish and blends nicely with the TV's outer bezel. The set itself weighs 52 pounds and measures 3.78 x 49.3 x 31.3-inches (depth x width x height). Along the right side of the TV are where the on-screen display controls are located, which are pretty easy to use and navigate. The included remote follows Sharp's standard design and comes with backlit keys, which is a very nice feature to have, especially in a dark home entertainment room. The remote is designed in a way that is tapered and bigger at the top than at the bottom, which allows for better grip.
In terms of ports, the Sharp Aquos LC-52D85U doesn't lack at all. On the back panel of the TV, you'll find four HDMI ports, two component video, S-Video input, VGA, RF input, optical digital audio output, and a serial port for interfacing with programmable home-theater systems. On the right-hand side of the TV, there's another HDMI input and a component video input.
This TV set is also very energy efficient because it includes an ambient light sensor, which automatically adjusts the display's backlight according to the room's ambient light. The screen itself has the ability to show 720p and 1080i/p content without any scaling at all with just one push of a button on the remote. This lets you watch video from many different sources and qualities without a lot of picture detail inconsistencies. When viewing HD content, the picture performance is much better when viewed in a moderately lit room as opposed to a dark environment. The black levels produced by the TV were not as dark black as they could have been and as seen on a few other comparable, yet more expensive, LCD TVs. The 120-Hz and 4 ms response time screen allows for smooth video movement when watching good, high-quality HD content. The 176 degree viewing angles makes it viewable from virtually any angle possible.
Viewing standard definition (SD) video on the Aquos LC-52D85U is pretty good, with slight jagged edges and picture artifacts appearing on occasion. All in all, it does a fairly decent job at displaying SD content, and an average to above-average job displaying HD content.
The two built-in 15 Watt stereo speakers did a good job with producing sounds, but for a larger room and more depth, you'll definitely want to hook this TV up to a stereo surround sound system via either the optical digital audio output or HDMI.
One essential thing to do when you get this TV is to calibrate the picture using the built-in calibrating tools located in the TV's menu. The test patterns that are displayed allows you to more accurately tone the colors of the reds, greens, blues, whites, blacks, and grays. Before calibrating, the grayscale colors were a little off and were not pure gray, but after the calibration, the grays were as pure as possible and improved the picture quality immensely. Another recommendation is to use the movie preset, which is pretty color-accurate with some minor tweaks via the above calibration technique.
The Sharp Aquos LC-52D85U comes with a 1 year warranty from Sharp and is Energy Star Compliant.