The 46DH77E’s winning HD performance is bolstered further by a strikingly authentic colour palette, replete with blend subtleties and general tonal consistency. What’s more, the high detail levels are achieved without leaving the picture looking unnecessarily gritty.
Finally, in the plus column, black levels are consistent right across the screen, and just about good enough to leave dark film scenes like the classic hotel/street shootout in ”No Country For Old men” looking perfectly watchable and engaging.
Having praised the 46DH77E’s black levels, though, they’re not without their flaws. For while, after careful calibration, there may be considerably less of the old blue-grey undertone to black colours that used to affect some previous Sharp TVs, I also sometimes felt that the TV wasn’t showing me all the shadow details in dark picture areas that I wanted to see.
Such dark areas thus look rather hollow, flattening the image out and making it look slightly unbalanced when you consider how well judged and dynamic the bright, colour-rich parts of the picture are.
The 46DH77E also exhibits some – though not all – of Sharp’s familiar weaknesses when it comes to handling standard definition sources. The biggest of these problems concerns the set’s colour tones. For no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t get the standard definition colour palette to look totally convincing.
Skin tones are particularly problematic, often coming out orangey, pinky or a salmony combination of the two. For some reason the colourscape feels a little constrained, too, with the result that standard definition pictures sometimes look slightly monotone or even sepia-like, for want of a better description.
The 46DH77E’s standard def pictures are at least a bit crisper-looking than we’ve seen them on previous Sharp Full HD LCD TVs. And impressively this extra sharpness is joined by better suppression of source noise. But the colour concerns ultimately make the most lasting impression.
Also making a negative impression is the 46DH77E’s audio. I’m depressingly used to hearing precious little bass response from flat tellies, but the 46DH77E is an even worse culprit than usual. Explosions sound like pops from a toy cap gun, deep rumbles such as those emitted by the alien ship as it glides over the moon in ”Independence Day” are completely lost, and male vocals sound thin and unconvincing. The mid-range sounds cramped, too, when put under any sort of pressure, leaving voices sometimes all but obliterated in the mix. There’s not even much treble detailing around to inject some much-needed life and a sense of space into proceedings.
Not for the first time with a Sharp TV, while I’m happy to commend the 46DH77E as a good and, at just £764, startlingly affordable HD monitor, I’m sadly unable to give it more than the most cautious of nods as a living room all-rounder on account of its indifferent standard def performance and frankly shonky audio.