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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read the FAQ here, so no flames, please. (Unfortunately, I read it AFTER I bought my sharp!)


I recently bought a 46 inch 94U Sharp Aquos limited edition. Got it home, excited, hooked it up to OTA digital, and was awed by the picture. Until a light picture of sky came up, when I noticed a 3 inch band down the right side of the screen. Within this band there are alternating light/dark horizontal stripes.


I went on the web, and came across this (and other) sites, detailing the "banding" issue with the Sharps. Ugh. Totally unacceptable.


I noticed the band pretty much immediately, but my girlfriend noticed (immediately) only with prompting after 10 minutes of viewing (I waited to see if she would notice herself.) Once you see it, it is annoying and obvious.


Called Sharp New Year's Eve, and they said to call back Friday after taking my information. I called back today, and the first guy politely took more info and description of the problem, then transferred me to AQUOS "Advantage" support, where some lady tried to play the cop. Our conversation goes something like this (wish I recorded it



DA: "What is it hooked up to?"

Me: "Right now, a DVI to HDMI on my PC, shows up with a light background. I took a picture of it."

DA: "Ok. Does it show up on all channels?"

Me: "Yes, any resolution, any setting, anything with a light background."

DA: "Ok. What is it hooked up to, digital or analog?"

Me: "A digital input... a DVI to HDMI from my PC."

DA: "Yes, but does it show up with analog? I need you to take a picture of THAT."

Me: "Well, I didn't take a picture of that yet, but I took many of it with Digital TV."

DA: "No, I need NORMAL TV that you would watch. That's what we care about, you know, with ABC, NBC."

Me: "Yes, I tried that, with digital HDTV. I can take a picture with analog if you want."

DA: "Yes, ABC or some TV like that."

Me: "I took a picture of a newscaster with a white background, but it was digital. I use digital OTA."

DA: "I know that in February over the air is going digital, YOU don't need to tell me that, and some people are prepared and get digital through cable. What I want to know is right now with a normal over the air channel does it show up."



It dawns on me that she doesn't know the difference between analog OTA and digital OTA, nor does she realize that digital OTA is already being broadcast. She thought digital meant cable box now, and in February there was a "switch" to digital that hasn't happened yet. I couldn't educate her because of her confrontational, condescending attitude and she refused to listen. I finally just promised to send her pictures with three "different sources" for them to evaluate.


I realize that most people they talk to are very ignorant of technology, but, man, I graduated from MIT. Although I was totally calm and reasonable, I don't need this crap, and again, if I wasn't on a cellphone I would have tried to record it and put it up on the web -- funny.


I'll keep you guys updated on what happens and how they address the problem... I'll post some pictures in a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
All right... here are a few images. I took a few with moving images -- it is hard to capture the effect -- because the stripes are "fixed" with a moving image, your eye tends to focus on them so it is worse than the image shows.

 

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I had the same t.v you have. I went through two defective ones, one would black out, and the other one just stopped powering on, power light kept blinking. They both had banding, but it wasnt severe, you could only see it on a white screen. Banding didnt bother me so much, but two defective t.v's in a row did it for me. Their aquos advantage sucks ba((s, they dont know anything, sharp actually made it seem like it was such a huge advantage over other company's customer service. I went with sony xbr6. It actually looks better IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys, it helps to realize that it is not just me / I'm being "too picky." What angers me is this is their top-of-the-line set, and I really thought their QC would be better than that.



Here is an OTA snap -- in real life it is worse, especially as it remains fixed every time a bright image pops up. All photos are unretouched, BTW.


For those affected, the number to call is (800) 237-4277, then follow menus for AQUOS. You need to get a case #. The first couple people were really polite and helpful. The last person started this "we don't care about computer images, only what you see on TV" stuff.


The email address to send the pics is:

[email protected]


with the Case # in the subject line. I'll let you know how it turns out.


 

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Wow, that looks extremely bad - and I though that the very slight clouding on my Sony 52X3500 (I think it's called XBR4 or XBR5 in the US) was annoying. I'd return that thing to the dealer with a speed that proves modern physics wrong, especially the part with nothing being able to travel faster than light...


I sincerely hope that this story will end well, neapolitan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Received something a little better than an auto-reply, saying "Thanks for the images, we'll look at them and get back to you."


I read up a lot more about this banding issue -- I think it is primarily due to manufacturing defects in the diffusion panel that sits in front of the LCD cold cathode lamps, perhaps varying its distance to the lamps or not making appropriate contact. I think the "bands" that I see are caused by bright spots from the horizontally-running lamps.


A picture of a cold cathode lamp is here, if you've never played with one:
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question580.htm


On my TV, it is perfect up to the last 4 inches from the edge. There is also weird halo-ing around the upper right corner as you can see, and the whole right side has backlight field heterogeneity.


IMHO this is really unacceptable quality control. Anybody turning on this TV and running a grey / white screen test would be astounded -- I'm really sure that Sharp does a cost/benefit analysis in continuing to pump out bad LCD panels that 70% of people will not notice (mounted in a kiosk in the airport, nobody would care), but to market this as your flagship "prosumer" line product....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One more link - very illustrative:

http://www.plasma.com/classroom/what_is_tft_lcd.htm


In the very last figure -- with the cutaway diagram -- you can see the rows of backlight. If the TFT-Array changed its relation to the backlight, it would not "diffuse" evenly and this is what I suspect is happening. The dark splotches on the screen may be contaminant that is raising the array relative to the backlight? Anybody with technical / manufacturing knowledge here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmmm.... well, it is a bit complicated re: store. I got it as a gift, so it was stored at home two weeks before given, so I think it is actually outside the return window. I will call them and ask anyway.


I'll look up the "birthdate" of my set.


Yes, returning to the store might be a better option -- I thought perhaps that Sharp might have newer sets or secondarily reviewed one for warranty replacements, but this might not be true.


Does anybody have an idea on the % with significant banding? Man... I am just continually annoyed about having to pack it up and lift this thing down the steps again, heh.
 

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Looks like a phase adjustment. It is not the backlight. Phase is the minute difference between the edge of the clock signal and the data signal.


Try to set your set up to a direct digital source like a computer. Put up checker-board patternes and solid colors. The checker board will show vertical strip-looking defects if phase is out of wack.


Can you put up the on-screen menu (internally generated digital signal). Can you place the menu in the area of the problem. Is it still there. If it goes away in the menu, then it is an adjustment and not a bad set.


It is VERY unlikely to be the backlight beat-frequency (the backlight issue).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
??? I don't think it could possibly be phase adjustment -- I only am dealing with digital signals here. In the first set of images I posted this is a DVI digital input running 1920x1080, again a purely digital signal.


I wasn't talking about backlight frequency -- I think that I am seeing a warped / lifted diffuser panel, allowing one to directly see the CCFL lamps running horizontally (see my first attachment) on the right half of the screen.


The artifacts are there regardless of source (digital, analog, etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
By the way, an *excellent* tutorial into the manufacturing process of LCD screens is:

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...ary/optics101/


It talks about the direct transmission lighting systems too. Small amounts of heterogeneity in the diffuser panel leads to the clouding effect. I think the banding effects are from two different sources - vertical moire (as also described) and the horizontal appearance of the cold cathode lamps as in my poor quality set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Could you give approximate purchase dates and model numbers? Have you tried a grey screen test? It helps to know the extent of the problem in planning my replacement (another Sharp or another brand...)


Except for the annoying visible lightsource stripes, I'm otherwise very happy with the set!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sharp called back -- they acknowledged the defect, and will replace the whole unit on their dime. Kudos to them for doing the right thing, although I wish defective units wouldn't get sent out in the first place (indirect costs in time, shipping, and backache lifting this thing



They just said problems with "backlight", although I still think in my case it is a warped light diffusion panel is the culprit.
 

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I'm wondering how much banding is considered "acceptable". I had begun to notice it on my new 46sb54u, and I wasn't overly concerned with it until I began to see it while watching football games and other fast-moving programming instead of just catching it on certain static images. I've owned two Westinghouse LCDs before this one and _never_ had a banding issue on either of them. It seems like a crapshoot with Sharp LCDs with regards to banding so I'm not even sure I want to go through the trouble of trying to get it replaced under my protection program, but I'm still debating. I don't have one specific area of ridiculous banding like the TC...it's more subtle, but it is all over the monitor. Where do you guys draw the line?
 
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