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If you're one of those boring old curmudgeons who's still yet to be convinced that the whole HD phenomenon is anything more than just a fad, here's some more evidence to prove just how wrong you are: the Sharp LC-32XL8E.
This TV's screen is only 32in across, yet its makers have seen fit to cram into it a ‘Full HD' pixel count of 1,920 x 1,080. Not because it wants to show off, but simply because that's what many Great British punters actually want these days.
In other words, even on a screen so small that you might not be able to make out the HD advantage, resolution is king. People already associate resolution with definition, and higher definitions with better picture quality. And if the idea of high definition is already that ingrained in people, then we're sorry HD sceptics, but HD is not only here to stay, it's surely well on its way to becoming the de facto AV standard. Anyhoo, I've kind of strayed off the subject already, so let's get right back to business by discussing the face the 32XL8E presents to the world.
Essentially it's a rather pretty one, combining a tidy slim piano-lacquer bezel with Sharp's trademark silver ‘wave' along the bottom edge. To be honest I'm kind of getting ready to see something really new from Sharp on the design front, but just because I'm getting tired of it doesn't mean the current design is ugly - especially given the new slenderness of the bezel.
Connections are about what you'd expect of a well-specified 32in TV right now, which is to say you get three v1.3 HDMIs and a digital audio output sitting alongside the customary D-Sub PC port, component video input, SCARTs, S-Video input and composite video jack. Some sort of multimedia slot for playback of JPEG stills and maybe music files might have been nice, but hey, that's us; always wanting the world.
Aside from the Full HD resolution, the 32XL8E's biggest feature claim to fame is undoubtedly its 100Hz processing. This frame rate doubling technology - to counter LCD's motion blur - is actually the main point of difference between the 32XL8E and Sharp's debut Full HD 32in model, the previously reviewed 32X20E.
Other notable specs include a claimed contrast ratio of 10,000:1 achieved via a dynamic backlight system together with a native (i.e. no dynamic backlight) contrast of 2,000:1; a solid-looking 6ms response time; full 24p support; SRS TruSurround audio processing; and a digital tuner with all the usual electronic programme guide and event timer setting stuff.