Unlike front projectors, LCD televisions are a breeze to set up and go. The connections are plentiful, as the LC32GP3 offers three HDMI ports, two component connections and a multitude of analog inputs. A couple of other nice features are the outputs for digital audio (via fiber optic) and a subwoofer pre-out. These are great compliments for those that do not have a full home theater setup, but want to plug in what they do have available such as a all-in-one surround bar and sub.
Once a source is plugged in, you should spend some extra time tweaking a few of the settings, which can better optimize the entire experience and extend the life of the television. If you don’t have a DVD designed to optimize a TVs audio and video, then just turn down both the contrast and brightness (which are set out-of-the box to extremely high levels) to a level that still looks good, but isn’t as bright as the factory settings. By lowering them, you will extend the life of the TV and keep the image looking better for a longer period of time.
After tweaking the settings, I wanted to get my hands on the assignable input and Vyper Drive system, so I hooked up the Xbox 360 Elite. For this TV out of the box, the Game Port on the remote was set to match the HDMI Input 4, which was the side input. I actually changed it and also assigned it to HDMI Input 6, which is on the back. This worked better for me for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because once the HDMI cable was plugged in, I wasn’t planning on moving the 360 or PS3 off the TV until testing was complete. It is actually quite easy to change the input assigned to “Game”. You just go into the Setup menu where it has a listing for “Game Port”. You can assign any one of the TVs Inputs to the Game Port button, or none of the Inputs. The nice thing is that I had both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 hooked up via HDMI, which cycled between the two whenever I hit the Game Port button.
The only true concern I had during setup was with the automated channel scanning for the digital tuner. When you hook a digital TV up to a cable outlet, an auto-scan must be done to return all of the channels (both analog and digital) that are available. Unfortunately, the GP3 returned just about every channel above 76.1, so I had to manually remove over 60 channels from the memory list because they did not have any programming on them. I may have missed something in the manual on how to make this easier, but I expected it to only return channels that actually had a viable signal on them.
Overall, the LC32GP3 was extremely easy to set up as long as you know of the channel search that needs to be performed for sources using the internal TV tuners (this is for all HD TVs). The volume of inputs allowed me to hook up HD sources for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, cable box and Satellite receiver at the same time. Throw in the out-of-the wall cable or off-air antenna, and the GP3 is about as versatile as it gets in the 32” class of TV for displaying HD sources.
One of the newest reference samples I am using to review is “Open Season” on Blu-Ray played through a PlayStation 3. Since inception of the Blu-Ray technology, this movie is probably the best looking I have seen to date on the format. The one thing that really stands out is the rendering of the fur on Boog and Elliot (as well as all the forest creatures.) The GP3 did a fantastic job of not only displaying the incredible detail, but also the different individual motions that the fur makes throughout the movie. The primary test sequence I used was the river scene when Boog accidentally destroys the beaver dam. The amount of fast-paced action on-screen along with the detail of the water droplets on the truck hood (among other things) are hard for any TV to pick up and reproduce properly. The GP3 did a great job of keeping the action moving smoothly while retaining all the details with no discernable motion blur.
As for general video testing, I plugging my local cable into the GP3 straight out of the wall to see how the GP3’s internal ATSC tuner handled the HD channels without a cable box. I watched a full episode of my favorite show to review with (CSI: Miami) as it tends to offer some of the best visuals found on network television. In addition, I watched some live NFL action and some college sports in HD. I also spent some time watching the HD game trailers that I have been using for all video products I review. These include the trailers for Lost Odyssey and Gears of War. I shot a couple of still images from the Lost Odyssey trailer that appear in the images at the end of the review. In all cases, I was not disappointed by the quality of the picture and how well it looked on screen. Not only were the images crisp and clean, they also showed off rich colors and decent black levels.
While the Sharp GP3 is being marketed as a gaming TV, it still is a full 1080p HD television at heart. In order to get the best gaming performance, it has to deliver the best video performance possible. Having spent time watching dozens of hours of video content on the LC32GP3, it is very clear that the television has one of the best pictures in the 32” class that I have seen to date. Regardless of the source (off-air, cable, Blu-Ray, etc) the picture, colors and black level were always brilliant and extremely clean and impressive to watch.
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