As pretty much the instigator of this whole LCD TV phenomenon now sweeping the UK, Sharp has taken rather longer than expected to take its place at the full HD LCD table. But thankfully the brand has finally got its finger out and launched a whole range of full HD models, the XD1Es, ranging in size from 37in up to a whopping 52in.
For our money the screen size arguably offering the best combination of ‘AV grunt’ and commercial appeal is the 42in 42XD1E, so it’s that one we’re looking at today. Though you never know; our lust for ever-bigger flat TV action might lead us to have a peak at the 52in model at some point, too…
Sharp has entirely revamped its aesthetics for the new XD1E range. Out goes the old ‘titanium’ metallic look, in comes an actually slightly more ‘common’ gloss black with silver trim effect. Mind you, Sharp’s use of subtle curves and an attractive ‘wave’ design element along the bottom edge do make the 42XD1E stand out from the crowd at least a little.
Rather surprisingly for a full HD TV, the 42XD1E appears at first glance not to have fully catered for the various HD sources out there, since there’s no component video input. Further investigation reveals, though, that you can get an HD component signal in to the TV via the set’s D-Sub PC port and a provided adaptor cable. Which is fine, except that it means you can’t have component and computer sources connected simultaneously. Hmm.
Elsewhere the set sports two HDMI sockets, able to take 1080p/50Hz inputs – though apparently not the ultra-pure ‘as mastered’ 1080p/24fps format starting to appear as an option from one or two high-end Blu-ray decks. Plus there’s a CAM slot revealing the presence of a built-in digital TV tuner, a couple of Scarts, an RS-232 jack, and the usual composite and S-Video options for anyone daft/desperate enough to use them.