After reading so many reviews before buying a new TV, I stumbled on AVS forum and read these. I purchased this from Best Buy in New Westminster, BC as it was on sale for $1399. I orginally bought online for $1499 but cancelled and bought in-store. They even made a mistake and didn't charge me for special delivery....saved $55!!
First, let me say that this TV is awesome, especially on bright colours. I had a 5 year old Hitachi 42" ultravision plasma, which cost me $3500 before but still retains great picture quality and smoother colours with better darker colours. It was time to upgrade but let me tell you the benefits of this LCD TV first.
1) Great, vivid colour for brighter scenes
2) Good features, including the 120Hz technology that CAN be turned down or off by choosing in the Film Mode. The High setting causes the "soap opera" effect but turning it off, as mentioned before in this forum returns the picture to a movie-like mode. I use this mode for live TV, reality shows because the frames per second are greater than that of movies, but I turn it off for movies so it doesn't jutter as much as pictures can get distorted when panning quickly.
3) Awesome for sports games
4) Such a large display and so clear
The one thing that really bugs me, still, is the darker colour scense, especially hd movies. LCD is known to be more blocky (pixelated) during darker scenes and this is no exception. The very dark colours and blacks are good but the slightly dark scenes, in the yellow/orange/brown/red colours get very blocky when there is no brightness in the movie scene. It gets worse when panning left and right, get so distorted that even dark bluish colours are blocky and the tv looks like something is wrong.
This is a minor gripe because when the lighter scenes come back, the video pops again, as clear and vivid as ever. I am not sure is the contrast ratio has anything to do with it but I hear that Sharp is very truthful about advertising their contrast ratio based on their results, without inflating numbers. I think this LC60E78UN has 15000:1, but that's from the Best Buy website. I though new TV's were over 1M now, but even with this non-inflated number of 15000:1, the darks are dark and brights are bright.....just the mid-dark colours.
Using 1080p video eliminates some of the blur and blockiness. This TV has a very complicated processor and by turning off extra functions, distorteness can be reduced. For movies, I turn off the active contrast, fine motion, and film mode. Use low or off for dynamic noise reduction.
for live TV including realty shows (hurting, I know), news, and especially sports, I turn on the Fine Motion to High and leave DNR to low. The rest, leave off so the internal processor doesn't work too hard or play around with the settings.
Here are my settings:
Color Temp: Medium -- Red Gain +6, Blue Gain 0, Green gain -5 (this setting normalizes the whites...some people like low setting but I want it more vivid)
Brightness: -9 to -12, depending on the programming. For HD movies...I use these settings but for live tv, I use -4 for brigher more vibrant pictures. Use Film Mode in High to get the best clear and vivid results....doesn't blur much because live tv frame rate is greater than movie.
Sharpness: -1 (greater sharpness can distort)
Backlight: +5 to +6
CMS Hue: For live tv, I crank all of them up to +28; for movies, I increase to +8 or so
CMS Saturation: For live tv, I crank them up to +26 to +30, for movies + 5
CMS Value: For live tv, I also crank this up to +30, for movies, + 5
So if you are planning to buy this, buy it for the size first of all...yes, the nice matte finish, and the vivid colours as well as dark blacks. TV is so much more fun to watch now especially with my new 5.1 precision acoustic speakers and Yamaha receiver!!
The only drawback are those darn mid-dark colours that turn a clear picture into blocks. Other than that...it's really not so bad anyways and I hightly recommend this tv for the price! If you want smoother dark colours, go for a plasma but feel the heat from those tv sets...mine gave me so much heat before I sweat in the same room!
One more tip is to make sure you are at least 6-10ft away for clearest pictures. I am about 6-7 ft and notice the clarify when I go back to 9-10 ft.
Hope this helps.