A few weeks ago, Sharp startled us with the quality of its debut ‘Quattron’ TV, the LC-46LE821E, which innovatively added a yellow sub-pixel to the usual red, green and blue ones. The only catch was that TV’s wallet-busting price.
So it’s a relief to find today that Sharp isn’t another brand that’s decided to abandon the mainstream market. In fact, at just £599, its 40in LC-40CT2E (exclusive to Dixons and Currys in the UK) is one of the cheapest 40in TVs in town. So we guess we’d better get busy trying to spot the compromises!
These don’t particularly materialise with the 40CT2E’s design, though. For while it’s inevitably not as elegant or opulent in its lines as the posh LE821 models, its finish is glossy enough to hide the bezel’s inherent plastickiness, and the addition of a silver strip along the bottom offers some welcome relief to the general black finish.
There’s a smallish compromise to swallow on the connections front, as we only rustled up three HDMIs rather than the four we’re now finding on the majority of TVs we see. But to be honest, three is probably enough to satisfy the needs of the relatively entry-level customer likely to spend £600 on a 40in TV.
Elsewhere the 40CT2E’s connections actually go further than expected, with highlights of a D-Sub PC port, an Ethernet port, and a USB input through which the TV can play MP3 audio and JPEG photo (but not video) files.
The Ethernet port seems particularly surprising on such a cheap TV, and rather excellently, it turns out to be there because the 40CT2E carries a built-in Freeview HD tuner. This is clearly great news for anyone living in a Freeview HD reception area - though even people who can’t get the service now might as well be considering getting a Freeview HD TV, as pretty much the whole of the country should be geared up for Freeview HD by the time the Olympics hit London.
The Ethernet news isn’t all good, since it can’t also be used to access any online services, or even files stored on a DLNA-ready PC. But then neither of these features could reasonably be expected on a TV as affordable as the 40CT2E.
Heading into the TV’s reasonably well-presented and well-organised onscreen menus in a quest for features turns out to be a pretty unrewarding experience. In fact, there isn’t really anything in terms of picture tweaks or processing adjustments to keep us occupied beyond the basic adjustments you’d expect to see on any TV worthy of the name.
In other words, the TV is a 50Hz model, with seemingly no sophisticated image processing to speak of beyond the basics required to upscale standard definition to the screen’s Full HD resolution.