Who would want to watch high-definition on a 19-inch LCD TV? Anyone who owns Sharp’s LC-19D1E, that’s who. Just out in high gloss red, this small telly is also available in back and white.
If you’re looking for a digital TV or gaming screen for a bedroom or second room, the issue is similarly monochrome: buy a LC-19D1E.
Sharp may have struggled to produce truly top-draw LCD TVs in the bigger sizes in recent times, but the main driver behind the flat TV technology has obviously been busy working on improving its reputation at the other end of the market. And what better way than on a recession-busting £250 LCD TV?
Fitted with an HD Ready screen and a single HDMI input, there’s almost nothing to fault our gloss white sample of the LC-19D1E. It has a Game mode, a PC input and even an audio-only mode for listening to digital radio stations from its built-in Freeview tuner. An 8-day electronic programme guide and a CI slot for adding subscription channels from Top-Up TV (via a viewing card) make going digital easy.
Of slimline design - something that’s not easy to find at this size, where most efforts are chubby - the LC-19D1E perches on a small clip-on desktop stand. With its speakers curved around underneath the screen, it’s every bit as impressive as most bigger LCD TVs.
Despite its lack of girth, the LC-19D1E has ins and outs a-plenty. As well as an HDMI input (which sadly is only version 1.2, so can’t accept Full HD 1080p video), it sports a set of Component video inputs, a VGA jack for a PC, some analogue audio ins, a RGB Scart and a S-video port.
The white remote, a new style for Sharp, is rounded and reasonably well designed, though we did have an issue with the size of the buttons - it’s all too easy to press the wrong command.
While digital TV pictures are coped with admirably with a minimum of noise or blocking, it’s with high-definition that the LC-19D1E excels. Attach an Xbox 360, switch on Game mode and the only downside is a slight lack of brightness - everything else about the picture is spot on. There’s no blur, which helps retain all the detail in the disc. Colours are well saturated and bold, and supported by terrific contrast.
Black levels are so good that even dark areas of Blu-ray movie scenes enjoy loads of detail that wouldn’t show-up with such accuracy on some LCD TVs 10 times the LC-19D1E’s size.
With such a startling high-def picture, we’d go so far as to say that there’s really no need for an expensive LED panel - the latest tech that LCD manufacturers are employing to get rid of LCD’s weaknesses - to improve the LC-19D1E’s picture further.
The speakers directly under the screen won’t exactly blow you away, but there’s a precision to treble detail that serves dialogue music very well indeed. Movies fare less well, though it’s a decent attempt.
It’s hard to fault the LC-19D1E. It overcomes virtually all of LCD technology’s main weaknesses and impresses in other areas - and that price? It’s time to fill the nation’s bedrooms with the best small LCD TV yet.