Sharp HT-DV40H

A simple, high quality 2.1 DVD music system

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Sharp HT-DV40H
  • Sharp HT-DV40H
  • Sharp HT-DV40H
  • Sharp HT-DV40H

Pros

  • Easy to set up, good sound quality, powerful subwoofer, versatile

Cons

  • Only two speakers

Bottom Line

Sharp's HT-DV40H is a home theatre system that delivers good DVD playback and sound quality, but users looking for surround sound will be disappointed.

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The HT-DV40H from Sharp is a stereo system with DVD playback support. It combines the functions of both an up-scaling DVD player and an audio receiver. Our only criticism is that mid-range sound is a little lacking, and there aren't any rear or centre speakers for movie surround sound.

The system is incredibly easy to set up, with only four main components — the two front speakers, which are rated at 75 Watts each, the system's 100 Watt subwoofer and the control unit, which incorporates a DVD player, receiver and amplifier. Unpacking was easy and the supplied cables are long enough to place the speakers and subwoofer some distance from the receiver, if necessary.

Looking more like a mini hi-fi than a DVD player, the control unit has a classy piano-black fascia, accented by brushed silver buttons and dials. Equally well-designed are the stereo speakers, which are over 2kg each despite being quite small. The unit is easy to view and operate from across a large room.

HDMI output worked straight out of the box; we used The Matrix to test out the system running through a Sharp AQUOS LC42D63X. The HT-DV40H produces a good picture, with no noticeable image quality issues. DVD up-scaling over HDMI is done at 1080i and produces a clean picture. The picture was noticeably better than the unscaled composite or component output, which looked jagged and washed out when viewed on a high-definition TV.

Menus are unobtrusive and easy to navigate. One shortcoming is the menu system's low resolution: it looks pixelated and jagged. After the initial setup, however, it's unlikely you'll need to use the menu often.

Sound quality from the unit was surprisingly good. Since Sharp has only bundled two speakers with the unit, it isn't a fully fledged surround sound system. However, the audio rivals more robust home theatre systems for quality. If you're not too worried about missing out on surround sound on your favourite DVDs, then you'll be pleased with the audio from the HT-DV40H.

When played back in stereo, movies sound great. Dialogue is loud and clear and the system does a good job of providing some positional audio. The stereo speakers have a high quality tweeter built-in, which lends a very crisp sound to audio. When pushed to loud volumes higher frequencies sounded ragged and harsh, but are well balanced and consistent for everyday listening.

Bass is handled solely by the system's subwoofer, due to the speakers' small size. It doesn't extend particularly low, but at its default settings is well balanced and is suited to the sound produced by the speakers. If there was a flaw with this system, it would be the lack of mid-range. Because of the combination of large subwoofer and tiny speakers, there's nowhere to put a suitably sized mid-range woofer. The subwoofer tries to replicate these middle range frequencies, but the majority of the time it ends up sounding slightly quiet and distant when compared to bass and treble.

A large range of audio equaliser settings are included, with Dolby's Audistry suite making up the bulk of these. A variety of systems like Natural Bass are also able to be activated. The sound is noticeably altered with these modes enabled; they add a more cinematic touch when watching movies. If you don't mind about missing out on surround sound, then the Sharp HT-DV40H is a great choice for a home theatre system.

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