Nowadays flat tellies are all about high definition, but how many of us are actually watching it? Even if you’ve got a Sky HD box, Freesat or a Blu-ray player it is likely that most of your sofa sitting is accompanied by regular standard definition TV channels. What you want is a TV that can make both HD and SD look brilliant while not breaking the bank – and Sharp has come up with just that in this 32-inch panel.
The LC32D44 is HD-ready, not Full HD, and it has a built-in Freeview TV tuner. Wrapped in a nice looking "wave" design that’s common to all of its Aquos TVs, it makes the best of all of this by delivering an all-round picture that’s almost always immaculate.
Freeview is handled well via some simple but user-friendly electronic programme guide software. It’s easy to zip around using the excellent remote control. It’s also a cinch to swap from seeing what’s on over the next few hours to viewing the entire week’s TV schedules. The basic digital noise reduction feature works really well and Freeview channels are much cleaner than on most HD-ready sets. OK, so there is a trace of MPEG blocking, but that’s the fault of the low-rent broadcasts.
High definition on its 1366 x 768 pixel resolution screen also impresses, though isn’t perfect. Picture strengths usually found on much more expensive TVs – such as realistic colours and detail in black areas of images – combine to produce a HD picture that will suit those with Blu-ray, PS3 or Xbox 360. The bad news is some blur on action sequences. A problem that will annoy gamers especially, the LC32D44 is also not the perfect set for Blu-ray. Unable to display 24fps material from Blu-ray discs, we’d suggest looking elsewhere if you like your movies as the director intended.
Connectivity is good for the price, with a couple of HDMI and SCART inputs alongside a set of Component video, S-Video and Composite video inputs. These ins and outs are also well designed so you could easily mount the LC32D44 on a wall and change inputs without getting your screwdriver out. The input screen on the TV can also be customised so, for example, you can rename "input 3" as "Xbox".
The LC32D44 is a great TV for Freeview because as well as producing a fine picture it works better than most dedicated digital set-top boxes. High-def can look better, but the performance is good enough for occasional gaming and HD programming from Freesat or Sky.