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A full HD resolution isn’t the 52XD1E’s only intriguing specification, though, for it also claims a sky-high (by LCD standards) contrast ratio of 10,000:1, and a really very low response time of 4ms. These figures promise winning black levels and very little resolution loss over moving objects compared with most LCD rivals, overcoming two of LCD’s most common woes.
Please note, though, that the 10,000:1 contrast ratio figure does come with strings attached. For it’s only achieved via a dynamic backlight system that reduces the image’s brightness when dark scenes are detected to make black levels look deeper.
The attractive onscreen menus of the 52XD1E contain a reasonably long and sophisticated set of features, including, crucially, an ‘Underscan’ setting (rather more hidden in the onscreen menus than it should be) that removes all overscanning from the TV’s picture. This is crucial when viewing 1080-line sources, since it allows them to appear on the screen on a perfect ‘pixel for pixel’ basis with no unnecessary, mess-inducing scaling processing.
Also important to the 52XD1E’s full HD credentials is its ability to play 1080p sources, at least in their 50Hz configuration.
One final trick up the 52XD1E’s sleeve is its TruD processing engine. Proprietary to Sharp, TruD is designed first and foremost to reduce LCD’s common problems with image judder, but it also apparently boosts sharpness and contrast.
As you’d expect of such a large LCD TV, the 52XD1E’s pictures make an immediate, almost visceral impact thanks to extreme brightness levels and dazzlingly rich colour saturations. The computer-generated backdrops of volcanic planet Mustafa in Star Wars Episode III thus look gloriously vibrant and engaging.
The full HD screen resolution makes its presence felt, meanwhile, with Sky’s 1080i broadcast of this film in all the key ways. Which is to say there seems slightly more visible detail in, say, the shots of Obi-Wan’s arrival on Utapa than you get with a non full-HD TV; there’s slightly more finesse to colour blends, especially where skin tones are concerned; and there’s remarkably little sign of scaling artefacts such as colour moiré, dot crawl of grain. Bright HD scenes really can look little short of spectacular at times