Sharp LC-60UQ17U: A Brief Critical Look - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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When Tom Norton invited me to see the Sharp LC-60UQ17U LED-LCD TV he was reviewing for Sound and Vision, I jumped at the chance. This TV was introduced at CES 2014 as part of Sharp's new Q+ line, which the company claims is an intermediate step between HD and UHD that can accept and display a UHD signal, though it's not a true UHD panel.



Jim Sanduski, Senior VP of Strategic Product Marketing at Sharp, explained the Q+ Revelation technology a bit during my interview with him at CES. Each subpixel in the 1080p panel—red, green, blue, and yellow in this case—is divided in half vertically and addressed alternately, providing an effective vertical resolution of 2160, though this seems somewhat like interlacing to me.

The horizontal-resolution story is a bit more mysterious—the red and blue subpixels are dynamically shared with neighboring pixels in the horizontal direction, depending on the color in that area at any given time, while the green and yellow subpixels are not shared and used primarily for brightness. This supposedly results in a horizontal resolution "up to" 3840, depending on the color on the screen.

I was eager to see this technology in action for myself, so I headed over to Sound and Vision's TV testing lab (which I established about four years ago when I worked for Home Theater). Tom had the 60UQ17U set up next to a Sony XBR-55HX950 LED-LCD TV—which is two years old now, but still a reference-quality 1080p FALD LCD display—both being fed from an Oppo BDP-103 that has two HDMI outputs. Like all Sharp TVs other than the discontinued Elite models, the 60UQ17U is LED-edgelit.

Tom reports that the grayscale calibration resulted in delta-Es of less than 1 across the board using the 2-point controls; the set offers 10-point controls, but he didn't need to use them. It also provides a complete CMS (color-management system), and he was able to the overall color delta-E to around 3. The peak-white level was around 30 foot-lamberts, and displaying a full black field, the black level was around 0.009 fL; with anything on the screen, like a status indicator, it was around 0.03 fL, which is what to expect watching real program material.

Unfortunately, Tom had no native UHD content to play other than YouTube, so we looked at two UHD shorts from there—"Costa Rica in 4K" and "Northern India." Both looked great, with excellent color and detail, though they are fairly bright and slow moving, which presents no great challenge to the TV. I saw no obvious artifacts from the tricks being pulled by the TV.

Next up was Blu-ray. We started with Life of Pi, switching the Oppo player's output between 1080p and 4K. Even up close, I could see no difference between them. Otherwise, the colors were beautiful, and the detail was great. However, moving off axis even a little caused the picture to degrade significantly, which is to be expected, since Sharp's ASV (Advanced Super View) panels are a variation of VA (Vertical Alignment) technology.

The use of VA technology makes the high black level quite surprising, though I've yet to see a Sharp TV—other than the Elites—that have even moderately deep blacks. This was abundantly evident when we looked at Prometheus—the moment when Dr. Shaw breaks through the cave wall on Earth near the beginning of the movie, the black of space, and the dark alien cave all looked distinctly gray, and I could see some nonuniformity in those shots as well as the letterbox bars, which were also clearly gray. This was made even more obvious when we fired up the Sony HX950, which is a FALD (full-array local dimming) LED-LCD with exceptional blacks.

The poor blacks were also obvious in Oz the Great and Powerful, which starts with a black-and-white image in a 4:3 window surrounded by letterbox and windowbox bars. All that black area was certainly not deep, nor did it look very uniform, with lighter patches throughout, especially along the sides. Once Oscar Diggs gets to the Land of Oz, the 4:3 image opens up to 2.4:1 and gains full, bright color, obscuring the high black level and nonuniformity in the letterbox bars.

We watched a bit of Oz in 3D using the Sharp's active-shutter Bluetooth glasses, which are fairly lightweight and comfortable. It's among the brightest 3D I've seen on a flat panel, but it also has among the worst ghosting I've ever seen.

The LC-60UQ17U lists for $3000, though Sharp's website offers it for $2100, as do other online retailers; in fact, I saw it for around $1750 from a few places online. And it looks great when displaying bright, full-screen images—as long as you're watching it on axis. But move off to the side or play a dark movie, and the image suffers considerably. Plus, I saw no advantage in the Q+ technology. There are plenty of similarly priced 60-inch HDTVs in the market that have better blacks without sacrificing other attributes, so I have to recommend looking elsewhere in this case.

Look for Tom's full review in an upcoming issue of Sound & Vision and on SoundandVision.com when it's posted.

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post #2 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 11:12 AM
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Thanks for posting your thoughts Scott! This would be something to be excited about while waiting for the cost of UHD T.Vs to decrease (although they already are) and for there to be more 4K content. That's what makes it so unfortunate then about the poor performance in terms of off axis viewing and black levels - Something I'm not entirely surprised by. It seems as though they spent so much time into their Q+ (or maybe not given the lack of benefit as you described) they neglected to ensure the T.V was a top performer in other areas.

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post #3 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 11:24 AM
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sounds like once again, any potential improvement of the UHD resolution is completely ruined by placing the panel in front of an inadequate backlight. if EVER there was a way to get customers to pay the small premium for FALD, it's now, attached to a UHD panel.
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 12:17 PM
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I saw one of the Q+ TVs at best buy. I'm not sure of the exact model. I wasn't impressed. The picture was OK. Looked like a high end LCD. Not even close to the best 4K LCDs showing 4K content.
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post #5 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 12:33 PM
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I was curious about this Q+ tech from one of your earlier discussions on the topic. I suspect one of vizio's new offerings will trump this model, except maybe in the cms department. Thanks for the refreshingly intelligent article.
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post #6 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

sounds like once again, any potential improvement of the UHD resolution is completely ruined by placing the panel in front of an inadequate backlight. if EVER there was a way to get customers to pay the small premium for FALD, it's now, attached to a UHD panel.

 

I wouldn't call the premium for FALD "small".  While the Vizio P series 4K FALD sets are certainly affordable ($2,200 for the P652ui-B2), the next cheapest is Toshiba with the 65L9400U at $4,500.  The pricing for Panasonic's TC-65AX900U has not been released yet, but will likely be significantly higher than their 4K ELPD TC-65AX800U which is listed at $4,500.  Sony's XBR-65X950B is listed for $8,000, a full $2,400 higher than their 4K edge-lit XBR-65X900B.  LG, Samsung, and Sharp are not doing FALD sets this year.  These are just MSRP's, so street prices will likely be significantly lower.  But, even on sale, I would expect the FALD sets to be at least $1,000 higher than the non-FALD models 1 tier down in each manufacturer's lineup.

 

That said, if you can afford it, I would say they are worth it.

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post #7 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for the Review. I recently viewed the TQ/UQ at BB and while I thought it looked OK I went away disappointed as last years Sony 900A 4K simply blew it away - no comparison.

I'm a fan of Sharp so I expected better than what I saw but BB had no Sharp UHD1 4K panels to compare either.

I also felt the Sony 4K was better than the Samsung H9000 but again the Samsung was playing some rather boring concert material that did nothing seemingly to showcase 4K - more than likely 1080 material and shocked Samsung would feed this garbage to their flagship panel, WHY?

My attraction to Samsung is the choice of 75"-78" at a more affordable price versus Sony 79" $25K panel and 65" plus those monster speakers become too large for my HT Ctr and the price commands lottery winnings..

Interested in seeing how Sharp follows up the UD1 panel next gen should happen in August/Sept.

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post #8 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyoAJB View Post

I wouldn't call the premium for FALD "small".  While the Vizio P series 4K FALD sets are certainly affordable ($2,200 for the P652ui-B2), the next cheapest is Toshiba with the 65L9400U at $4,500.  The pricing for Panasonic's TC-65AX900U has not been released yet, but will likely be significantly higher than their 4K ELPD TC-65AX800U which is listed at $4,500.  Sony's XBR-65X950B is listed for $8,000, a full $2,400 higher than their 4K edge-lit XBR-65X900B.  LG, Samsung, and Sharp are not doing FALD sets this year.  These are just MSRP's, so street prices will likely be significantly lower.  But, even on sale, I would expect the FALD sets to be at least $1,000 higher than the non-FALD models 1 tier down in each manufacturer's lineup.

That said, if you can afford it, I would say they are worth it.

it would be small if they all did it. edgelighting should never have been considered acceptable imo. I'd take any 10yr old CCFL backlit lcd over anything edgelit today. truth is, I hunted hard to find a CCFL backlit lcd for my bedroom after trying two newer LED's

look, the price of led's isn't what's costing 1000bux extra. so what is? processing? fine, so be it, but again, not the PARTS, it's the software. if that software takes a million bux to develop, it becomes dirt cheap if used on 200,000 displays or more.

anyway, imo, the tv can't be high end without FALD, so it's price is entirely moot. asking me to choose between an edgelit LED that costs 2grand and a FALD tv that costs 4k is like asking me to choose between a tv and a banana. there's just no way I'm going to use a banana to watch movies/tv... so it doesn't matter how cheap it is
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post #9 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 04:36 PM
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Sounds like Hitachi plasma 'ALIS' technology...
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post #10 of 22 Old 05-22-2014, 05:36 PM
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Sounds about right these impressions.

 

The new Q+ sets have looked really flat to me. Idk if it was the content on it, both the Sharp demo and some blu-ray content I've experienced, but it was rather flat-looking, with not as much depth as you'd expect from a mid-upper range set like these. But like Scott mentions, these sets excel with bright and colorful content, that's for sure.

 

For me personally, I'm really liking the HU9000's. But with Vizio about to change the pricing game when the P-Series comes out, everything will be dropping in price for this year's models, including starting next year with everybody's 2015's. 

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post #11 of 22 Old 05-23-2014, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westa6969 View Post

My attraction to Samsung is the choice of 75"-78" at a more affordable price versus Sony 79" $25K panel and 65" plus those monster speakers become too large for my HT Ctr and the price commands lottery winnings..
.

Not sure where you're getting this from, the Sony 79X900B is priced at $9,000 MSRP. Still priced $1,000 higher than Samsung's 78HU9000, but not a huge delta and will probably be less when it streets. The 85" X950B is the $25k full-array local dimming 4K set. Samsung MSRP for the same thing is $40K (UN85S9, last year's carry-over model)

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post #12 of 22 Old 05-24-2014, 04:46 AM
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In my opinion this year's Sharp TV's are a considerable downgrade in picture quality vs last years. We have several of the Sharps on display at our store, and I noticed immediately how poor the blacks were as well as the off axis viewing. This was especially noticeable when we still had a 757 series on display (last years model).

Scott, nice review, glad to see you and Tom saw the same thing.


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post #13 of 22 Old 05-24-2014, 06:08 AM
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There are many owners and viewers in the Sharp 2014 TV thread who have seen and own these TVs and don't have an issue with the black level. I'd like to think that if the black level was that bad across the board that at least one of them would comment on it. Sounds to me this was a dud unit (specifically given the comments on all the flashlighting/clouding) which seems to be an issue with these Sharp sets, specifically the UQ line given what I have read in that thread. You either get a set with minimal to no flashlighting/clouding issues or you get one like this. Poor quality control.

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post #14 of 22 Old 05-24-2014, 11:23 PM
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I received a Sharp LC 70UQ17U this last Thursday. After putting it on it's stand I started watching Spiderman 2 that was recently on ABC. After a few minutes I changed the picture to settings from AVManic, - found in the Sharp 2014 thread - that he posted for the 60 SQ and then a revised setting for the 70 SQ.

Next I played my Blu-Ray Jack Reacher, a torture test for blacks. I was disappointed that in the car chase the blacks were crushed in the night and car interior scenes. I turned up the brightness to 10 to gain detail, but blacks were washed out. I was viewing at night and did not have outside light to contend with at the time.

My TV for the past seven years is a Sony 50" SXRD. My first viewing of this TV was at Sears side by side with the Sony LCD. The SXRD was clearly superior in black level so I made my purchase on this basis. The Sony was going to be sent of to my daughter, but I will hold on to it. It is an awesome TV that holds up well today. I have not changed a bulb yet as it is not left on for extended periods.

The Sharp was purchased because of it's narrow depth - the Sony was a rear projection that took up a lot of wall real estate - and I have concerns about the arrival time of the Vizio P or R series. The Vizio 65 R was very tempting, but limitations of 4-K material means that the TV will be under utilized for it's capabilities.

For now I'm ambivalent about this TV I can make it work in the decorating parameters that confront me. Maybe if Scott Wilkinson has posted his observations and opinions a few days earlier I may have reconsidered, but Cleveland Plasma and Sharp had a good sale. I will make this TV work and hopefully have better luck with further tweeks to the settings.
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post #15 of 22 Old 05-25-2014, 05:23 AM
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Scott, can you clarify where you got the information that Sharp downscales to 1080P before upscaling to the Q+ sub-pixel resolution? I've reposted this link and your statement in a couple other topics and it is being met with skepticism and if true a lot of disappointment.
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post #16 of 22 Old 05-30-2014, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Citivas View Post

Scott, can you clarify where you got the information that Sharp downscales to 1080P before upscaling to the Q+ sub-pixel resolution? I've reposted this link and your statement in a couple other topics and it is being met with skepticism and if true a lot of disappointment.

I regret to say that I did not fact check it for myself, but rather reported what Tom Norton told me. I just heard from Sharp that this is NOT true; the UQ17 accepts UHD and displays it with somewhat less resolution than true UHD but more than 1080p. I'm sure this will have been corrected in Tom's full review when it appears. I have corrected the OP. If you would, please post comments wherever else you reposted this and make sure everyone knows the correct story. Thanks!


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post #17 of 22 Old 05-31-2014, 05:08 PM
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Another review on the 60" UQ: http://www.cnet.com/products/sharp-lc-60uq17u/

Pretty consistent with the Sound and Vision review (except that it corrects the misinformation regarding downsampling of 4K content).
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-01-2014, 01:44 PM
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I'm getting the LC70UQ17U to replace my faulty LC-70LE845U, which just hit its second anniversary.
I have really liked the set and have not had issue with clouding, flashlighting, or ghosting on 3D.
I consider it the luck of the draw, except, for the defect of periodically re-booting itself.
After 4 repair attempts and the delivery of a non-functioning refurb set of the same model,
Sharp tells me this is the solution to the problem.
I'll get new 3D glasses and the full 1-year warranty of a new set.
Do you think it will be a step up from my current model? I hope I will like it as well...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfull View Post

I'm getting the LC70UQ17U to replace my faulty LC-70LE845U, which just hit its second anniversary.
I have really liked the set and have not had issue with clouding, flashlighting, or ghosting on 3D.
I consider it the luck of the draw, except, for the defect of periodically re-booting itself.
After 4 repair attempts and the delivery of a non-functioning refurb set of the same model,
Sharp tells me this is the solution to the problem.
I'll get new 3D glasses and the full 1-year warranty of a new set.
Do you think it will be a step up from my current model? I hope I will like it as well...

Well, it's unlikely to be a step down..
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-01-2014, 03:25 PM
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I like my current set, thanks.
One of the things they tried to do to fix it was to change out it's main board.
This briefly resulted in a new setting for Yellow Pixel Plus which I did not like at all.
Whether it was a mismatch of the board with the panel, I don't know, but the new set wanders even further into the weeds of tinkering.
I would rather the set accurately represent pixels and values, so it could be a step down if the new set is rife with artifacts.
I have long since had the old set calibrated to my liking, so it will be a while before the new one is properly tweaked.
I just hope that the features can be shut off if they are annoying. I have learned to like the soap opera effect because someone in
the household prefers it on, but mainly because it is competent and doesn't stutter or cause anomalies.
I am skeptical that the new set will produce more detail from satellite pictures without adding noise. Maybe the bluray will be ok...
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post #21 of 22 Old 06-01-2014, 04:17 PM
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I hope you will get a UQ with very minimal clouding as these Sharp TVs seem to be pretty poor when it comes to that.

I have been viewing a 70SQ (not my tv) for the last week and everything can be turned off in movie mode which will I am pretty sure will be the same for the UQ. I don't think the resolution enhanced feature does anything of noticeable value. I have compared it a few times and the difference is very minor so don't expect any big change from it.

These sets have a big issue with a blue bias in the greyscale so all colour temperature presets out of the box are through the roof and the resulting gamma is too low. They definitely require calibration if you want accuracy or even halfway accuracy. I've never seen a display that is so far off yet once you get it all dialed in the image looks really nice other than dark scenes which are so-so.

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post #22 of 22 Old 06-02-2014, 03:05 AM
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Thanks for the preview. Yes, the clouding issue is what I dread the most. My current set has been very uniform in black level and I know it was luck of the draw.
As far as blue issues, I wrote extensively about the battle to balance the colors/temperature with so much blue light coming from the so-called white LEDs.
Sharp seems to want to emphasize overall brightness at the expense of accuracy in that regard. I did find a way to tame the blue on my old set with the
10-point white temperature setting and the CMS settings. I have been very happy with the color fidelity since then. It's good to know that the enhancements
can be shut off. It looks like flicker will be cut in half on the new set, with a doubled refresh rate and a quadrupled LED strobe rate. I'm looking forward with
a bit of trepidation but also some curiosity. If it's a lemon, I suppose Sharp will be reasonable yet again. I will try not to anticipate problems in advance, though...
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