Is Sharp's star on the rise? Hot on the heels of the news that Sharp could be about to get investment from Apple to become the supplier of iPhone and iPad screens, here's another fillip to the inventor of LCD TVs – a cracking 3D TV that's a polished performer with high-end sources, the LC-40LE831E.
Hardly a major force in the UK flatscreen TV market, Japanese brand Sharp has a huge LCD business that's largely Asia-focused and has, in recent times, been concentrating on the budget end of the TV and consumer electronics markets elsewhere.
That all changed last year when Sharp introduced Quattron – a new colour reproduction technology for flatscreen TVs that was long overdue.
TV pictures are made up of individual pixels that mix elements from three sub-pixels – red, green and blue – to produce colour. This RGB system has been in operation since the year dot in TVs, but Sharp changed all of that last year when it dropped a fourth sub-pixel – yellow – into the mix.
Reviews for Sharp's first Quattron TV, the LC-46LE821E, were good. But now this 40-inch LCD TV, the LC-40LE831E, is 2011's attempt at combining Quattron with 3D.
The LC-40LE831E uses active 3D tech (with a built-in transmitter) and is as fully featured as any on the market; Freeview HD, Full HD, DLNA networking and a stunning 34mm depth combine on this neatly designed package.
As well as some touchy-feely controls on the TV set's lower reaches – effectively on top of some hidden stereo speakers – there's a nice 'V' design, too.
It doesn't exactly recall Sharp's early reference-level (at that time) titanium Aquos LC-45GD1E LCD TVs from the mid-Noughties, but in sheer quality terms it's surprisingly close for such a low-cost TV, priced as it is at around £750.
Elsewhere in Sharp's stable of LE831 second generation Quattron screens is the 46-inch Sharp LC-46LE831E, a 52-inch Sharp LC-52LE831E and a 60-inch Sharp LC-60LE831E. Proof, if any was needed, that the major LCD TV manufacturers think that 40-inch is the new 32-inch, in popularity terms.