But it’s also evident, albeit more subtly, in the smoothness of colour blends and skin tones, as the extra pixel density of the full HD array makes for less obvious colour ‘jumps’. And finally the full HD difference makes its presence felt in the simple lack of noise in an HD picture, especially if you’re doing the sensible thing and using the ‘Underscan’ 1:1 mode.
So far so good – and we haven’t even mentioned the 42XD1E’s emphatically dazzling colours yet. These add real lustre and solidity to the cars of Forza 2, or the rich computer-generated backdrops on show throughout Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith on Sky HD. Crucially, though, the colour vibrancy on show is not achieved at the expense of a winningly natural colour tone, which helps skin tones avoid the rather sickly pallor seen on lesser flat TVs.
Colours as rich as those of this Sharp are generally only possible where there’s a decent black level response, and that’s certainly the case with the 42XD1E. The sequence of the Black Pearl’s assault on the fort in the Blu-ray of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie shows pleasingly little greyness over the night skies, while also enjoying a good sense of scale thanks to the solid amount of shadow detailing subtlety the TV reveals in dark areas.
The 42XD1E does have its foibles, though. First, you have to be VERY careful setting it up if you want it to look its best; we’d suggest getting the DVD Essentials disc to help you calibrate things correctly.
Also, the picture’s aggressive quality can slightly exaggerate noise in standard definition sources. Next, there’s noticeable loss of resolution over moving objects – especially with standard definition - when compared to the latest ‘100Hz’ TVs now appearing. And finally the machinations of the automatic backlight adjustment system -which reduces light output during dark scenes - are occasionally a touch too obvious, causing a noticeable ‘step’ in overall brightness.
The main thing about the 42XD1E, though, is that its imperfections aren’t really that serious overall – and for the most part they’re also very common across the LCD world as a whole. The 42XD1E’s many strengths, however, are certainly not common. So it’s these that really define its relative capabilities, and leave us with no option but to give it a resounding recommendation.