As you’d expect of a TV with a 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution, the 42XD1E carries a ‘1:1’ option for showing the UK’s dominant 1080-line HD source pictures in their ‘native’ state, pixel for pixel, with no overscan processing to mess the HD picture quality up. The only moan we’ve got about this feature on the 42XD1E is that for some reason Sharp has hidden it away; to find it you have to enter a rather obscure sub-menu and look for the equally obscure name of ‘Underscan’. Because of this, we can fully envisage a situation where many punters will buy the 42XD1E and never actually get the best HD performance because they never switch it to its pixel-for-pixel mode.
Its full HD resolution isn’t the only impressive spec boasted by the 42XD1E. Its 6000:1 contrast ratio is also strikingly high for an LCD TV of this size, and its claimed response time is just 6ms, raising hopes that we won’t have to suffer too much in the way of LCD motion blur.
Lifting these hopes even higher is the 42XD1E’s use of Sharp’s new ‘truD’ anti-judder processing, which also claims to improve sharpness and contrast at the same time that it’s making motion look more natural.
We have to chastise Sharp before going any further, though, for the 42XD1E’s onscreen menu system, which is neither very well presented nor intuitive to navigate. Still, once you’ve clapped eyes on the TV’s generally outstanding pictures, you’ll probably find the operational quirks suddenly become far less of an issue.
There’s no doubt, for instance, that the 42XD1E visibly delivers the benefits of its full HD pixel count, even given the confines of its relatively small (in full HD terms) 42in screen. The most obvious example of this can be seen in the sharpness with which the set reproduces all the sumptuous HD detailing in the Casino Royale Blu-ray disc, or the fabulously detailed backdrops to Gears of War on the Xbox 360.