I purchased this set a couple weeks ago just before the Super Bowl for $1700 at BB. Out of the box I was very disappointed with the quality of the picture, specifically the motion blur with fast paced movies. I popped in the Avatar blu-ray and it was not very colorful, dark scenes had no detail; just a black cloudy picture.
The worst part of this TV is the optical audio output does not work properly. It only works on one HDMI input, and you have to go in to the menu and change the audio settings every time you turn on the TV or change inputs. This is unacceptable Sharp. They are well aware of this issue as it is posted on reviews and forums all across the internet. However they have no solution other than to use the analog RCA output, which most sound bars do not have any more.
After getting this TV, I looked to google to see if others were having the issues I was; poor picture quality and the lack of means of connecting an external audio system. Most everywhere I read, the solution was to return the TV and upgrade to the 70LE640U. I went back to BB to exchange and sure enough there were no more 640U's anywhere to be found, nor could they be ordered from the bestbuy website. I did not want to revert to Amazon or one of the cheap discount online stores since then I would have to rely on a square trade warranty. BB has an amazing protection plan I did not want to give up.
So after some research, contacting SHARP, and running the spydertv calibration, I have some settings that I am happy with. Here they are:
Configure them on the USER video mode, and make sure when you change inputs you change to USER on each HDMI input.
MOTION ENHANCEMENT: LOW
FILM MODE: LOW
ACTIVE CONTRAST: OFF
DIGITAL NOISE REDUCTION: OFF
Unfortunately, there are no more settings than you see here. There are no color adjustments or black level adjustments. What you see is what you get. So, with the limited menu, I was still able to get an enjoyable picture with the settings above. It actually looks great now. Well not compared to my plasma, but 90% better than the out of box picture. I am still very upset that I can't use an external sound system, but I have faith that Sharp will not let us down. All they need to do is release a firmware upgrade to fix the issue. I ask that everyone who experiences this, PLEASE do not just hope someone else will take care of it, PLEASE contact Sharp support and report the issue. If not enough customers contact Sharp, they will likely let this issue slide. I have the 60 day return policy, if there is not a fix for the optical out in that time I think I will be returning the TV. Please add to this thread if anyone hears of the fix, or has some better calibration settings.