Sharp lc-60le925e

As noted in the introduction, the 3D credentials are of the full HD, alternate frame type rather than the passive, side by side type currently only supported by LG's 47LD950.

The 3D transmitters are built into the TV itself and you get one pair of Sharp's Active Shutter glasses free with the TV.

This seems a touch stingy when 3D viewing is being billed as a largely social thing and when each additional pair will set you back around £100.

But of course, there are other brands out there (Philips, Samsung, Sony) that don't include any glasses with some of their 3D sets.

Quattron tech explained

To give you a little more detail on the Quattron technology if you haven't come across it before, adding a fourth, yellow sub-pixel has the potential to improve the tonal naturalism of the set's colours. This is especially true when it comes to yellow and gold colours, of course, but having an extra primary to work with should also prove helpful in mixing every other colour.

Adding a yellow sub-pixel also apparently makes Quattron TVs exceptionally economical to use, since the screen becomes easier for light to pass through than ordinary red, green and blue panels.

This extra light transmission efficiency also gives the technology the potential to enhance the reproduction of shadow detail in dark scenes, and make light scenes look as much as 20 per cent brighter compared to a standard RGB panel.

A potential downside to all this is that the 60LE925E's panel might struggle to control its backlight effectively enough to produce really convincing black levels.

AquosNet features

Turning next to the 60LE925E's new online features, pressing the Net button on the remote control brings up a nicely presented online 'home' screen very reminiscent of the one employed on Philips' online TVs. In fact, the bottom right of the screen says 'Powered by NetTV', NetTV being the name of Philips' online engine.

What's happening here is that Sharp has officially joined up with Philips (and Loewe) in a supposed bid to bring some sort of standardisation to the online service situation, even though most big TV names are going the opposite way and seeing online features as a major point of competitive difference.

The reality here, we suspect, is that Sharp, Philips and Loewe believe they will be in a stronger bargaining position when trying to negotiate online content deals if they join forces.

Sharp's current content level is rather down on Philips' offering, with ring-fenced, streamlined content being limited at the time of our tests to DailyMotion, ScreenDreams, myalbum.com, Meteoconsult, and the Funspot gaming platform. Oddly, there's no YouTube portal yet.

However, Sharp's association with Philips means the 60LE925E carries an Opera Web browser, enabling you to access the internet at large, as well as the specially formatted content noted earlier.

Obviously, there are issues with this; inputting web page addresses via your remote is a chore and the Opera browser doesn't like online streaming video. But most websites will work at least to some extent and permit you to access links via the TV remote's cursor controls.

Interface

Heading into the 60LE925E's superbly designed onscreen menus you'll discover a respectable set of picture adjustments. Particularly welcome are a decent set of colour management controls, gamma adjustments and the facility to control seemingly all aspects of the TV's processing.

This processing includes '200Hz' (actually 100Hz plus a scanning backlight), noise reduction routines, and Sharp's Film Mode for improving the set's progressive scan handling with film, as opposed to video sources. As we'll see, the flexibility offered here is very important to the TV's final performance.

The set uses its great size to striking effect, delivering quite a statement with its single-layer fascia, smart tinted glass stand and illuminated brand name. Plus, its edge LED lighting enables it to be quite slim considering that vast expanse of screen.

Connections include four HDMIs, all built to the 3D-friendly v1.4 standard and a USB port for playing a good variety of multimedia file formats, including JPEGs, MP3s and DivX HD video. Inevitably, given the presence of the online features, there's also an Ethernet port on the TV: this can be used for streaming in the same range of multimedia files from a networked PC.

You don't have to hard wire the 60LE925E to the internet or your PC network, though, for the TV ships with a USB Wi-Fi dongle.

Elsewhere there's a PC D-Sub port that also, unusually, doubles as a component video input via a supplied adaptor and an RS-232 port for system control.

The 60LE925E's most unusual feature is built-in hard disk drive (HDD) recording. This enables you to record from the built-in digital tuner to 8GB of built-in memory.

As mentioned in the overview, the lack of Freeview HD is a blow, the thinking being that anyone thinking of stumping up £3,500 on a 60in TV will almost certainly have or be happy to buy an external HD receiver.