Sharp lc 32dh501e 3

Bright and breezy daytime HD broadcasts look refreshingly natural. The lack of any heavy-duty processing gives them a pleasing, almost CRT-like simplicity, although longer viewing reveals a few issues that some healthy processing might have been able to improve.

The screen also pumps out more brightness than many affordable 32in/26in CCFL LCD TVs, which gives the impression during predominantly light, colourful sequences that the picture is pretty dynamic.

High-def material looks sharper and more textured than you might expect from a non-1080p TV, revealing all those tell-tale little bits and bobs like skin pores and the weave in clothing. Or at least this is the case if you turn off the set's noise reduction tool.

Shifting from HD studio and sports footage to Blu-rays in some ways makes us feel even better disposed towards the 32DH510E. The sharpness seems even more defined, despite the set having to downscale full HD feeds to its 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution; pictures still look punchy and detailed, colours look bright and motion is handled well without any obvious processing to help it out.

Black level

However, Blu-rays also allow us to home in on a couple of notable shortcomings. The set's black level response, for instance, is pretty underwhelming, in that dark parts of the picture look rather grey and lifeless, even if you ramp down the TV's backlight setting.

Having spotted this, we also couldn't resist shifting our viewing position to the TV's side, and low and behold, the familiar (with LCD TVs) fairly dramatic loss in contrast and colour soon materialised.

The other problem concerns colours. For despite the picture being quite good at pushing brightness, hue can look unconvincingly anaemic.

A lesser but still noteworthy issue during some Blu-rays is that the 32DH510E's pictures are a touch noisy. It's hard to pinpoint the cause of this, but one contributing factor seems to be that the way the screen over-brightens dark parts of the picture is causing it to emphasise digital noise that would normally be lost in darkness.

Oddly, for a screen with a slightly lower native resolution than most TVs we see, the 32DH510E's standard def performance is one of the more disappointing we've seen for a while. Noise levels are quite high, and there's noticeably more motion blur on show – something we guess was probably inevitable given the screen's lack of such processing options as 100Hz.

This can result in standard definition pictures also looking slightly softer than they might, and flesh tones looking a bit waxy and the overall palette seems even weedier.