Without wishing to get this review off on the wrong foot, it’s impossible not to preface it without pointing out that the LC-32GD8E is about to become rather a ‘second tier’ product in Sharp’s current LCD range thanks to the arrival of the brand’s all-singing, all-dancing, new Full HD ‘XD1E’ range, complete with ace-sounding features and specifications oozing out all over the place.
But of course, the XD1E’s bag of tricks (which we’ll be running our eye over in the next two or three weeks) come at a price. So if you’re one of the masses for whom spending more than 600 quid on a telly is just too much to justify, then the 32GD8E is the Sharp TV for you. Provided, of course, that it’s any cop.
It’s pretty enough, that’s for sure. Sharp has dispensed with its once-cool-but-now-rather-long-in-the-tooth penchant for ‘titanium’ finishes in favour of a much more ‘now’ black bezel with silver trim and speakers that should look a treat in any living room.
The good first impressions grind to a halt with the 32GD8E’s connectors, though, thanks to the provision of a measly one HDMI socket and Sharp’s decision to make the provided D-Sub PC port double up as a component video input (via a provided component-to-D-Sub adaptor). Not being able to simultaneously connect either two HDMI sources or, say, a PC and an Xbox 360 console, are limitations that we really think might affect even the least ambitious TV buyer at some point or other.
Elsewhere the TV provides a pair of Scarts; a CI slot you can use to add subscription TV services to the core channel roster of a built-in digital terrestrial tuner; and oddly, given the lack of ambition shown elsewhere, an RS-232C port which apparently lets a PC take control of the TV in a system install situation.
One or two of Sharp’s reasonably recent LCD TVs have conspicuously lacked any electronic programme guide back-up for their digital tuners. But happily this has been comprehensively rectified for the 32GD8E, with a full 7-day EPG that’s actually better presented than most and allows you to program up to eight timer events just by selecting desired shows from the listings.