Smart TVs are dominating the TV landscape in terms of variety. It is likely that there are still more ordinary TV owners than Smart TV owners since these Internet-capable TVs are often more expensive but the direction that the industry is heading looks pretty clear as companies try to fight each other by offering better online services and features so you won’t need any extra stuff hooked up for your online streaming needs. Even Sharp is heading towards that route by equipping their “6 Series” of TVs and all higher-end models with Sharp’s SmartCentral interface. Only 4 Sharp TVs introduced in 2013 lack these features and fortunately, the Sharp LC-60LE550U is one of the larger models that you can consider if you don’t need online capabilities and wish to save a great deal of money.
When you go to the budget category of TVs, you shouldn’t expect things like a slim profile and a very thin bezel. But at least with the LC-60LE550U, the TV actually looks pretty good as a whole. The bezel is noticeably there but it has a dark color which looks good and may not even be noticeable when watching certain content. The bottom bezel looks a little bit thicker just so you won’t miss that Sharp logo on the center. The panel itself isn’t as slim as the more feature-rich LE650 models but Sharp still bills this panel as slim which is true if you compare it to ordinary LCD models. The Sharp LC-60LE550U features its own stand just like any other TV but it hardly raises the panel. You could mount the TV to the wall but Sharp strongly recommends that you use Sharp’s own AN-52AG4 wall mount bracket which is sold separately. You might be able to use other types of wall mount brackets but Sharp claims that they may cause instability.
A good selection of inputs and outputs could make a basic TV very much functional. The D-sub, for instance, lets you hook up just about any type of PC or traditional laptop to the TV so you can essentially give the TV online capabilities. Of course you have to plug in a mouse and keyboard to the laptop so you can use your display as a typical computer monitor. As for the rest of the ports, the LC-60LE550U features 3 HDMI inputs, 1 digital audio output, 3 audio inputs, 1 audio output and the usual combo of component and composite video inputs. Unfortunately, the lone USB port is only used for servicing.
Without any kind of Internet features or even support for content playback through a flash drive, the Sharp LC-60LE550U is pretty much a TV stuck in the past. But not everyone really cares about TVs with Smart TV functionality. A good number of people would rather use their laptops, tablets and smartphones to browse the Internet and enjoy their content. However, if you are hoping to watch your favorite Netflix content on your Sharp 60-inch LE550U display, you won’t be to do so using just the TV alone. But as mentioned earlier, you can essentially give the TV online capabilities through the D-sub port. A small HTPC would serve as a fine companion to the LC-60LE550U where your TV has the benefits of a fully-fledged operating system. This means you can do some gaming depending on the GPU and some HD streaming from any service you like. You don’t have to worry about downloading apps and you don’t have to learn how to use a Smart TV platform. But since the Sharp LC-60LE550U lacks built-in Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to use your smartphone to control the TV or beam content to the TV unless another condition is met.
Getting a TV like the LC-60LE550U could be a smart idea too if you have an advanced Blu-ray player, AV receiver or modern gaming console like the Xbox 360/One or PlayStation 3/4.Since these gaming consoles and select Blu-ray players have built-in Wi-Fi and connect to your TV’s HDMI port, your Sharp TV can reap those benefits as well so long as those components are turned on. These components may feature some kind of smartphone/tablet integration too. So with these possibilities in mind, the best feature of the Sharp LC-60LE550U is its large screen and low price.
A basic TV may not be worth the low price tag if it doesn’t perform well. Fortunately, the LC-60LE550U comes with a few decent features that are present in the more advanced models. The Sharp LC-60LE550U uses the AQUOS UV2A display which helps deliver images with better contrast. The 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio only tells half the story because the bright scenes look better thanks to the way the UV2A technology lets in more light. The dark scenes also look better because the panel fights light leakage as well. Combined with the auto-brightness control, the LC-60LE550U is capable of delivering a good picture while conserving power. This control works by automatically setting an ideal brightness based on the room’s ambient lighting.
The Sharp LC-60LE550U also has a refresh rate of 120 Hz. By today’s standards, this dwarfs all those pricier TVs relying on fancy technologies that combine backlight strobbing with a 240 Hz refresh rate. But it is certainly better than having a 60 Hz refresh rate since 120 Hz adds some more clarity and reduces blurring for fast-motion segments.
On the audio side, the LC-60LE550U is equipped with a standard pair of speakers totaling 20-watts. These speakers sound okay and the Clear Voice feature can help emphasize the dialog a bit. But you can hear a world of difference if you take the time in installing a 5.1-channel surround sound system or even just a typical sound bar.
The $899 price tag is very attractive for a 60-inch LED display. The Sharp LC-60LE550U is a good consideration if you don’t care about built-in Internet features or don’t mind letting another home theater component handle the online stuff. As long as you don’t need all the advanced features like the Quattron Technology and you are not a huge critic about color accuracy, the largeness of LC-60LE550U should make you happy given the small price you are paying.
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