Once you have set aside a budget for your TV, the next step is to usually pick the largest TV size that falls just below that budget. That is how it used to be at least for the very early LCD TVs when extra features weren’t really the focus. But now, you will find plenty of TVs from different brands all having the same size but priced differently. This is where you need to realize that more factors need to be taken into consideration when picking the right TV. It also depends on how acceptable the picture quality is for the price you are paying. The Sharp LC-80C6500U is a good example because it is an 80-inch edge-lit LED TV that is priced lower than a lot of 70-inch TVs and even some 60-inch displays.
The LC-80C6500U is an impressive display in looks alone because the large 80-inch panel can really change the overall look of a standard living room. While you probably need to clear up a lot of space for this TV, you won’t have to worry too much because the TV is quite thin for an entry-level 80-inch model. Perhaps the best solution would be to purchase a VESA 400x400mm wall mount so you can mount the TV like a giant picture frame. The bezel impressively thin too although the bottom bezel is a bit thicker just to show off that Sharp logo and the iconic arrow below it.
The Sharp LC-80C6500U is also proof that you don’t have to spend additional money on extra ports as this display has 4 HDMI ports with one of them being MHL-enabled while the other is ARC-enabled. There are also 2 USB inputs, a single D-sub port and RS-232C port.
The LC-80C6500U is Sharp’s most affordable 80-inch TV so you would expect the company to cut out some features. But what they didn’t cut out is the highly useful SmartCentral interface that takes the entertainment outside cable. The purpose of SmartCentral is to allow the TV to connect to popular services on the Internet without the need of connecting a computer or adding a special dongle. What is even more impressive about the Sharp LC-80C6500U is how simple it is to get connected. If you already have a wireless router connected to the Internet, you can make use of the wireless LAN built into the LC-80C6500U. Once you have gotten through the simple setup process, you can bring up basic form of the SmartCentral interface by pressing its corresponding button on the remote control.
Unlike other competing TVs with more feature-rich Smart TV interfaces, the first part of SmartCentral doesn’t take up the entire screen so your programs don’t get interrupted. Basically you just pick a tile you want to launch and then the app takes over. As far as app selection goes, there is a pretty healthy selection with heavyweights like Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube to the more social stuff including Facebook and Twitter. The simple horizontal bar that serves as the app launcher is customizable so the idea is to put all your favorite or frequently used apps there. It is also advisable to put your top 3 favorite apps on the left side of this bar because they are linked to the 3 fav app buttons on the remote control. It is not necessary though to put Netflix there since it has its own dedicated button.
Pressing the Smart Central button from the quick menu takes you to the full screen version of the SmartCentral interface. This shows you all the apps you have in each category so it is easy to spot the app you want to load. You may also download new apps to the Sharp LC-80C6500U from there.
No Smart TV is really complete without a Web browser just for those moments where you may need to go to a particular website and you have no mobile gadget, laptop or desktop available to use. But this browser has a couple of tricks too including the ability to load any content powered by Adobe Flash as well as this feature that puts the browser on one side of the screen and the current TV source or channel on the other side. Since this is an 80-inch TV, the 2 screens are still comfortably large. There is also a Skype app which you can use to engage in video chats if you purchased the separately sold FREETALK TV Camera.
The picture quality is where the compromises take the spotlight. The LC-80C6500U doesn’t have the Quattron Technology that most other Sharp displays have. This means that the colors are less accurate as there are no yellow subpixels present. But those that never saw those technologies in action may not even mind especially since the Sharp LC-80C6500U still looks more impressive than the dated box TVs and early LCD TVs. The AQUOS UV2A display panel is at least present to improve bright and dark scenes. The 4,000,000:1 contrast ratio isn’t particularly impressive but it is still a good choice for people who are not seriously critical about color. It has a refresh rate of 120 Hz too which is not so bad for blur reduction. The audio quality is pretty standard too as it utilizes a simple pair of 10-watt speakers minus the subwoofer that is only reserved for higher-end models. Just don’t forget that you can add a sound bar to boost the audio performance without adding to the setup hassles.
TV enthusiasts will probably dismiss the LC-80C6500U as a lackluster or average TV because of all the technologies that the Sharp LC-80C6500U is missing. But other frequent TV users that have been stuck with 20 to 40-inch displays for the longest time will see the LC-80C6500U as an incredible deal for a huge 80-inch display. It is priced at under $3,000 which is fantastic given all the features and built-in Wi-Fi. It is also a good sign that not all 80-inch TVs are luxurious and overpriced models.
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