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More potential good news for the 46X20E’s pictures comes from the set’s use of Sharp’s tru-D anti-judder processing technology. It’s just a shame that this processing element is not, sadly, joined by any 100Hz system for fighting LCD’s problems with resolution loss when showing moving objects. Though the onscreen menus do contain an ‘Action’ mode that reckons to do a similar sort of thing – more on this later.
Also present in the 46X20E’s tidy-looking if rather long-winded onscreen menus are a set of reasonably thoughtful picture presets, and the increasingly inevitable option whereby the TV can adjust its picture settings in response to your room’s lighting conditions.
One final trick up the 46X20E’s sleeve that we love to bits is its ability to label its HDMI inputs automatically using data provided by many HDMI sources. So if you’ve got a Sky HD box connected to HDMI one, this input is automatically relabelled ‘Dual HD/PVR STB’, while Xbox 360s and PS3s also trigger an automatic input name change. Cool.
Starting our tests of the 46X20E with National Treasure 2 on Blu-ray (look, it’s got good picture quality, OK?!), we were for the most part very impressed by what the set can do with HD source material. The pixel density generated by its Full HD resolution, for instance, helps it deliver the fine colour blends on show in the subterranean city of gold with real finesse. Similarly, the levels of clarity and sharpness evident during exceptionally textured sequences like those in the Library of Congress are excellent.
The 46X20E also delivers some of the deepest black levels around in the LCD world during NT2’s underground sequences, with surprisingly little of LCD’s customary greyness to besmirch the film’s darkest corners. We didn’t find ourselves particularly distracted by any OTT activity from the 46X20E’s dynamic contrast system either; in fact, the image can look unusually stable.
Colours are also very expressive, with rich saturations and plenty of dynamism, while noise levels are at a premium, especially if you do the sensible thing and watch HD sources using the set’s ‘Dot By Dot’ mode. This allows pictures to appear without any rescaling processing.
It’s worth pointing out that the above results were obtained using the TV’s Movie image preset. Selecting any of the others while watching films results in various different issues – reduced black levels, over-bright colours, one or two signs of noise – and so they’re best avoided. In fact, the only other mode we’d bother with under any circumstances is the game mode, which reduces the image processing going on for a faster response to a console’s time-sensitive video signals.