Sharp LC-52D85U LCD TV Setup & Tests
The user menu includes a color-temperature control that offers one set of red, green, and blue adjustments rather than two sets, the minimum required to fully calibrate the grayscale. The service menu provides two sets of RGB controls as well as all the basic picture controls (contrast, brightness, color, tint, sharpness). I calibrated the set both ways—from the user and service menus—to see which yielded a better result.
As you might expect, the service-menu calibration got closer to the targets than the user-menu cal, though the user-menu adjustment was surprisingly good (see Measurements). On the other hand, the procedure to access the service menu is very convoluted—unplug the set, hold a couple of buttons on the side panel while plugging in the power cord, and enter a code number (then you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around...just kidding). Unless the TV is located very near an AC outlet, it's a two-person job just to enter the service menu! Of course, no one should access the service menu or try to calibrate the set without the requisite tools and training.
Another thing that calibrators should be aware of is that a service-level calibration can be performed only if the AV Mode is set to User before entering the service menu. Also, the user-menu controls should be in their default settings, and the basic picture controls should be adjusted from the service menu.
Interestingly, the color-management system (CMS) is in the user menu, where it can screw up the color big time if you don't know what you're doing. Also, as mentioned before, it provides only hue and saturation controls for the three primaries (red, green, blue) and secondaries (yellow, cyan, magenta)—a complete CMS also provides brightness controls for all six colors.
The default color gamut was not bad at all, but being an inveterate tweaker, I had to see if I could bring the color points even closer to their targets. I could, though the saturation controls were much less effective than the hue controls. Also, the green point was positioned such that it could not be corrected, but it wasn't that far off, so I left it where it was.
Once the set was calibrated, it was time to break out the test discs. Starting with HQV Benchmark on DVD at 480i via component, the horizontal high-frequency bursts in the color-bar test were mostly rolled off. Jaggies were very mild—among the best I've seen lately—including the waving American flag. However, the detail test was not that great, looking a bit soft compared with other sets in recent memory. The single Digital Noise Reduction control was quite effective without softening the picture. The set's processor picked up 3:2 pulldown very quickly, and 2:2 video was among the best I've seen, even with Film mode on.
Switching to HQV Benchmark on HD DVD at 1080i, the video resolution-loss test was solid as a rock, though the horizontal high-frequency burst was a bit rolled off. Jaggies were invisible. The set picked up 3:2 pulldown in the film resolution-loss test quickly, but there was still a bit of shimmering in some of the bursts. A goodly amount of detail was lost in the bleacher seats as the camera pans across them, and frame interpolation had no effect on this.
Finally, I looked at FPD Benchmark on Blu-ray to see how well the Sharp's frame interpolation worked. Fine Motion Enhanced did sharpen moving objects, but not nearly as much as all other 120Hz LCD TVs I've seen to date. On the other hand, it didn't introduce any visible artifacts, either.
On the gradation tests, the 0-100 ramp was very smooth, no doubt due to the 10-bit LCD panel; even the 0-25 ramp was smoother than I normally see. Moving off axis, the black level rose considerably as expected, but it remained more even across the screen than most, and the color didn't shift as much. The mostly black shots had reasonable differentiation between shades of black, while the mostly white shots had excellent differentiation.