For a generation, TVs have been in the background – in more ways than one – of household entertainment.
- Massive Size, Excellent HD, Simple and advanced customisations, wide array of inputs, Massive Size.
- Very Expensive, Speakers lack a little bass, Standard Definition inputs could have been a little better.
If you’re super rich and want the very best in massive flat panel television the Sharp Aquos LC65G5XSYS LCD TV is for you.
Price$ 20,999.00 (AUD)
Our continuing obsession with massive televisions has lead us to the promised land. We have reviewed all manner of giant televisions ranging from the LG 52SZ85R right through to the ridiculously huge Samsung SP67L6HX and while they have varied in quality, they have shared an unfortunate common factor; they aren't LCD. It's no secret that our favourite LCD TV thus far has been the Sharp Aquos LC32-AX3X so it stands to reason that when we found out there was a 65 inch Aquos available in this country, our inner geeks leapt for joy. When we then discovered we were the only publication that was being given the chance to review it, we were over the moon.
The Sharp Aquos LC65G5XSYS isn't just an enormous television set; it's also a marvel of engineering. LCD televisions of this size are virtually unheard of in this country. Manufacturing the glass for the panel is, in itself, a very difficult and expensive process. Using one single piece of glass for its panel and its other multiple achievements certainly makes it deserved of excessive commendation.
The design of the LC65G5XSYS is consistent with the 32 inch Aquos. The panel is a charcoal grey colour with a speaker set running along the bottom. The left side of the panel has the common operation buttons like volume, channel and on/off switch while the rear has only three proprietary inputs which connect to the included AV breakout box. Humorously, the panel also has handles on the back which are extremely useful during setup, as the unit weighs 68.5kg. Installation is fairly simple with only two cables to plug in but connecting all your devices to the breakout box is a different matter.
We felt it was strange to not include all the ports on the rear of the panel. This is the first television we have ever seen that required a separate AV controller in order to operate. The controller has inputs for Component and DVI for high definition and three SCART ports, which can be used for S-Video and Composite with a converter. However, we found it odd that one of these SCART ports needs to be dedicated to sound when accompanying a component or DVI signal. It would have been much better to have a single L/R audio controller right next to the component port like every other television.
Interface and Customisation
Like all Sharp televisions, the interface is simple and intuitive. The calibration options are extensive, moving far beyond the regular brightness, contrast and tint of most other televisions. This is particularly useful for those that like to have complete control over the quality of their images. The Sharp has an advantage over other sets as it uses four primary colours instead of the usual three. By adding crimson to the red, blue and green elements it is able to create richer reds, a colour many units have problems with. Thankfully, the colour calibration options are hidden away in the "advanced" options. For those that want simple controls, the basic interface has all the tried and true calibrations we have all used before.
The audio can also be tweaked, with various preset modes to change the bass and treble elements as well. We also found the settings for each input mode were quite intuitive, although for some inputs, we had to consult the manual to work out which signal format was needed to display the image properly.
The speakers in the Sharp are of a reasonable quality. They aren't the best speakers you will ever hear and tend to have no volume whatsoever at around the 15 mark on the volume scale; however, at high volume they do a good job with very little, if any distortion. They lack a little bass at times, making the low end flat but the channel separation is quite good and the mid-tones and high treble registers are impressive. Most people will most likely use a home theatre with a television of this size, so the speaker quality is not as important as with a smaller panel.
Standard Definition Testing
When testing how well this television handles standard definition inputs, we firstly ran our informal DVD tests including DVD playback of the lobby scene from The Matrix and the T-Rex attack from Jurassic Park. We run these two tests on all televisions as they are excellent for picking up problems in colour production, colour stepping, pixelisation and contrast ratio issues.
Overall, the Matrix tests were fairly reasonable. There were no discolourisations, the fast moving action was displayed well without any ghosting and the detail on the finer elements like debris was quite remarkable. However, there were some stepping issues on skin tones, instances of digital artifacts on block textures and, at times, slight noise on edges and highlights.
In the Jurassic Park night scene test, a few more issues became obvious. The stepping on skin tones seemed a little better in this low light environment, to the point where it was barely noticeable. The rain in the scene was a little pixelated at times, which also caused the detail in things like car decals to degrade. However, the overall quality of the blacks was exceptional and there were no artifacts when testing the sharpness of the image. The details on the pebbled skin of the T-Rex was fairly good, though we have seen is shown better on other units.
We also ran our formal standard definition tests using our Digital Video Essentials DVD which uses a series of still test patterns to check the quality of standard definition. In these tests, the panel performed brilliantly with no problems whatsoever. The edge definition tests were flawless and the SMPTE colour bars rendered beautifully. The grey scale tests were near-perfect with only the very slightest magenta tint at about 40% amplitude which is a more than acceptable aberration.
These results are actually very good for a TV of this size. From a reasonable viewing distance many of the problems are not noticeable and when you consider the low resolution of the DVD format, it is superb that a 65" LCD panel can look as good as it does while downscaling an interlaced signal. While it could have been better, and many of the issues are largely negligible we still found them noteworthy as they could potentially be a deciding factor for the more technically minded viewer.
High Definition Testing
For our high definition tests we connected our Xbox 360 to the Sharp as it the truest source of 720p and 1080i signals. Another advantage of using a gaming system is the fact that video games move at a fast pace and require an excellent response time to accurately render images without ghosting or frame dropping. The Sharp performed impeccably with bright, clear images, no response time problems and crisp edges in 720p. Naturally, 1080i was less impressive but this is a product of the signal format, not of the panel.
Until HD-DVD or Blu-Ray becomes readily available, The Xbox will remain as our single HD test device. We look forward to amending the testing process to include HD video once these formats become more common, but until then, this test has shown this panel to be of the highest quality and breath-taking to watch.
Connecting to a PC
The AV breakout box on this model only allows inputs for DVI when connecting to a computer. A 15 pin D-Sub adapter can be used as well, but in order to view the image the television needs to be told that the signal is an analog PC signal instead of the Digital PC signal of DVI. Connected to a PC and running in the native resolution (1920x1080), text and graphics looked exceptional.
We ran our formal tests using DisplayMate Video Edition and for the most part, it passed with flying colours. There was a slight amount of pixel fluctuation in the 2/3 vertical resolution tests but it was barely an issue. The geometry and distortion tests were clear and the colour tests were flawless.
We ran three high definition WMV files using Windows Media Player. All the videos looked great with only a very slight amount of colour stepping in the playback of one of the files. They all produced rich colour and no digital artefacts whatsoever.
Unfortunately, continuing the trend of almost every manufacturer on the market, this television only comes with an analog free-to-air television tuner. This limits it as the user will need to buy a set top box to access digital television. Surely, someone who can afford a TV this costly will be able to afford a STB as well but still it's an added expense that could have been avoided. The analog tuner will look reasonable if you are in an area with good reception but given the size of the screen, we recommend you accept no less than digital HDTV.
While this television has a few minor problems, we still rate it highly. Not only is it absolutely huge but it also delivers with brilliant images in high definition and reasonable vision in standard definition. As stated above, no reviewer should expect this television to perform In standard definition as well as it would in HD. Given the native resolution, the degree to which it handles the scaling of the image is commendable and from a good viewing distance, this becomes a moot point anyway. However, one complaint we can direct at this model is definitely its exorbitant price tag. This is an awful lot to spend on a television. That said, considering the research and development that would go into creating this technology and the cost of producing the glass alone, we can't be too harsh on it and you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. If you're super rich and want the very best in massive flat panel television the Sharp AquosLC65G5XSYS LCD TV is for you.
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