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Home Theater Installation Review: Sharp Elite Flat Panel Display

Home Theater Installation is centralized around a few specific pieces of hardware, but the one most people immediately click with is the TV. As time goes on, consumers seem to be striving for a way to achieve larger screens without the need to go with a projector and screen. Sharp has gone to great lengths to change their business model to focus more on the bigger section of the HDTV market which was never made more apparent than during the NFL playoffs this past year with their "VIEWMONGOUS" campaign. They introduced a complete lineup of 60", 70" and 80" LED TVs as diverse as Samsungs'46" and 55" lineups. A short while later, a rather unique TV came out that bore a name a lot of TV enthusiasts know of but were told was lost to the annals of time.

Elite is a name known to a lot of people in the home theater installation field as a Pioneer term for their performance end, but what most people do not know is that a few years ago, Sharp purchased a portion of Pioneer, thus giving them the right to use the Elite name if they so choose. It is not a TV had by former Pioneer engineers, a la Panasonic's VT50 Plasma lineup, but instead is something that had been in the works for a while. Roughly four years ago, Pioneer was looking to come out with a lineup of LEDs to get a foothold in that market. One thing lead to another and they wound up taking both feet out of the HDTV market itself, but Sharp, who was giving Pioneer most of the paneling for the LED, decided to continue to make it with what they had done so far.

In late January, Sharp Elite LEDs began arriving in performance electronic stores and to home theater installation professional's catalogs in the 60" and 70". First impressions were great. It is very hard to believe that you are looking at an LED TV with how natural and accurate the picture looks. When I first saw it, it happened to be placed directly right next to the Samsung UN65D8000, which was the most sought after LED and, to be frank, it make the Samsung look like a second grader was coloring the picture jumbled mess of Crayola crayons. That is not meant to bash on the Samsung, but when you see the two side by side, it becomes apparent that the levels of image quality are different. I saw a particular scene from Field Of Dreams, which by the way is not the most perfectly transferred Blu Ray out. The scene had Kevin Costner first hearing the voices in the corn field as the sun was going down. It cuts to scene showing the sun half on the horizon. On the Elite, the image looked as accurate as can be. It looked like a dusk image with accurate greens in the field, skin tones were legitimate and the sky had a natural tone for that time of day. On the contrary, the Samsung D8000 seemed to do everything in its power to make the dusk scene look like it was high noon at great expense to the images accuracy. The corn in the field had a weird unnatural green tone to it and the darkened sky had this weird purple-red tone that I've only seen in picture of the northern lights, not in a picture from a corn field in Iowa. To notice this difference you did not have to be a professional in the home theater installation world either.


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