Other features, though, are rather thin on the ground. The set is HD Ready thanks to a native resolution of 1,366 x 768; there’s a black level booster; you can manually switch between interlaced and progressive playback depending on what best suits your source; and there’s a film mode that adjusts the TV’s frame rate handling to better suit film as opposed to video sources.
If we’re honest some of these features really aren’t that interesting or unusual – but with little else to report, we’re forced to take our ‘feature thrills’ where we can find them!
In the interest of fairness, though, it probably should be said that even just having HD Readiness and a digital tuner is arguably pretty decent for a 32in LCD TV costing as little as £564.
Happily our desire to be fair to the 32GD8E increases as we set about assessing its really quite good picture performance. Particularly striking for such a cut-price screen is the richness of its colours. Bright, colourful fodder – like seemingly any Xbox 360 game from Rare! – just explodes off the screen, grabbing your attention and holding it in a way that blows away the rather muted palette of most budget 32in rivals.
Even better, the extreme vibrancy we’re talking about has not come, as it so often does, at the expense of tonal naturalism. This can be seen in the complete confidence and authenticity with which the 32GD8E presents the multitude of tricky skin-tones on show during Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia.
Our love of all things high definition also revels in this Sharp’s handling of fine detail. It leaves no pixel of HD data unshown, and in doing so makes HD sources look for the most part stunningly sharp and crisp. What’s more, the 32GD8E even manages to retain a reasonable sense of sharpness while showing standard definition – a talent precious few LCD rivals can honestly boast. Impressively this ability with standard definition is delivered without seemingly anything like as much overt high-tech image processing wizardry as we’re used to seeing on screens from rival brands. Hmmm…
Some of the crispness we’re talking about can be laid at the door of the 32GD8E’s motion handling, which suffers far less with LCD’s infamous smearing problem than you’ve a right to expect of such an affordable TV.