Sharp LC42D63X

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Sharp LC42D63X
  • Sharp LC42D63X
  • Sharp LC42D63X
  • Sharp LC42D63X

Pros

  • Sharp images, good colour balance, minimal ghosting, 24p playback

Cons

  • Some contrast issues, minor motion judder, PC connectivity problems

Bottom Line

If you don't want to connect a PC and are after a full high definition 1080p screen, the Sharp LC42D63X may suit you nicely. It offers good image quality with just a few small problems and comes in a stylish body with a good range of connectivity options.

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Sitting slightly below its premium D83X series, Sharp's LC42D63X is a 42in LCD TV that offers the same 1080p full high-definition resolution along with a stylish design and 24p playback, but lacks the 100/120Hz motion options of its more expensive brothers. It provides fairly good image quality with a few niggling issues. It struggled to output at maximum resolution during our PC tests, meaning media-centre users may need to look elsewhere.

With a resolution of 1920x1080, this screen is capable of displaying images from all the latest high-definition sources. We started by running our usual HD tests using the Xbox 360 complete with an HD-DVD drive and were generally impressed with what we saw.

The film Transformers was rendered as sharply and crisply as we've come to expect. Edges were clean and detail in background areas was impressive. We tested using the film pre-set, which gave quite a soft colour balance but it was appealing in this instance.

Black levels were pretty good although not quite as deep as we've seen on some competing units. There was a fairly high amount of detail in dark areas but at times things were a little obscured, particularly in our gaming tests. The D63X sports a 2000:1 native contrast ratio — this is a touch lower than what is offered by some other models and may explain this.

The panel sports a 4ms response time, which is quick even by today's standards. We noticed no ghosting to speak of in any of our HD tests, be they film or gaming. There was, however, some very obvious motion judder in some scenes of Transformers and at times it got a little irritating. We also noticed that despite this panel lacking the 100/120Hz playback found on the more expensive D83X it still exhibited a smoother, more liquid picture overall. This took a little getting used to but was welcome and is a sign that the built in 24p playback is doing a good job.

In our standard definition tests, the D63X was a solid performer. It's tough for any 1080p to accurately render 576i footage but this unit should satisfy those with large DVD collections. There were some minor scaling aberrations and a little more noise than normal, but overall the picture was fairly sharp and colours were well balanced. Our only other complaint is that the same niggling contrast issues seen in our HD tests were present here too.

It was when we came to our PC tests that we found the only major issue with this screen. It is impossible to connect a PC and output to 1080p properly. We hooked up two separate notebooks via HDMI and both, while outputting to the correct 1920x1080 resolution, were stretched beyond the bounds of the screen. We couldn't get the desktop to fit fully on the display when using this resolution; perhaps a quarter of the total space was cut out.

The best we could do was 1366x768 via D-Sub, which did fill the screen. During our tests with this configuration we experienced quite a bit of noise in block colours and some weird haloing around edges. We wouldn't recommend this panel if PC connectivity is a necessity.

As has become standard, this unit packs in 3 HDMI ports for all your connectivity needs. They're supported by a variety of component, composite, D-Sub and optical connections. The same design seen in Sharp's other units makes a welcome return here, with the slick piano-black bezel looking extremely stylish. A built-in HD digital tuner completes the package.

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