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7/10

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Sharp Aquos LC-46DH77E 46in LCD TV - Sharp Aquos LC-46DH77E

Settling into more prosaic matters, it has to be said that the 46in 46DH77E is quite a looker. Its bezel looks glossy, is subtly styled, and feels startlingly robust, for a start. But the best thing is the gently triangular shape created along its bottom edge, and the subtle shade of blue that's been infused into the screen frame.

The 46DH77E's connections are a mixed bag. On the downside, there are only three HDMIs when we're increasingly expecting range-topping TVs like this one to deliver four. But in the plus column the DH77E has a dedicated D-Sub PC port, an RS-232 control port to aid system integration, and - for the first time on a Sharp TV, I think - a USB port able to play JPEG or MP3 files.
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I couldn't help but think Sharp might have flexed its multimedia muscles a little more, maybe by adding a PC-compatible Ethernet port, given how many other brands are thinking outside the box with their multimedia options these days. But that's probably just me being that curmudgeonly old git again.

Turning to other features beyond the aforementioned Eco mode, there are two further green touches; namely, a Low Power Standby system and an 'OPC' mode that adjusts the image's brightness in relation to the amount of ambient light detected in your room.

You can tweak the backlight output manually, too, as well as fine-tuning colours courtesy of hue and saturation adjustments for the red, green, yellow, cyan, magenta and blue image components.

The 100Hz processing can be turned on or off as you wish, meanwhile, as can the set's Active Contrast system (where the TV adjusts the backlight output in response to the darkness content of the picture).
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Finally, there's a Film mode for optimising playback of 24/25p sources, a Clear Voice audio mode for highlighting vocals in a mix, and the rather cool ability to automatically recognise what devices are connected to the HDMIs - PS3, Xbox 360, PVR etc - and then label its inputs accordingly.

The 46DH77E's picture performance reveals itself to be a chip off the old Sharp block. A fact that has both positive and negative connotations.

Chief among the TV's 'hits' is its occasionally breathtaking HD sharpness. The amount of detailing and texturing revealed from the Blu-ray of No Country For Old Men, for instance, helps produce a visual intensity and sense of solidity that I've only rarely witnessed before. So long, at least, as you make sure you've got the set's noise reduction systems turned off and the aspect ratio set to Dot By Dot.

It's pleasing to report, too, that this HD sharpness isn't marred by as much motion blur as is common in the LCD world, clearly revealing that the generally good results noted with Sharp's previous 100Hz generation continue.

I should say here that although motion is largely free of blur and resolution loss, it doesn't look as fluid and free of judder (especially during camera pans) as it does on more processing-heavy TVs like Philips' Perfect Pixel Engine or Panasonic's Intelligent Frame Creation models. But then the 46DH77E's subtler enhancements are tellingly made while generating fewer unwanted side effects - just the very occasional marginal twitch or edge shimmer.

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