I decided to spend a delightfully sunny afternoon in a basement in Central London, where a very clever man made me feel bad about my TV. Sharp had invited me to check out their new Quattron Pro LED range, which has just launched in Europe, and occupies interesting space in the battle for your next big upgrade.
The 60″, 70″ and 80″ TVs go beyond Full HD without going all the way to 4K using some very smart pixel management technology. The screen augments standard RGB technology with an additional yellow subpixel, which enhances the range (you can get over a billion shades of colour) but also enables to Quattron Pro sets to display Ultra HD content, at slightly cheaper than Ultra HD prices.
They had two screens running side by side – one with 1080p content and one with Quattron Pro technology and scrolled through selected images. Now, obviously the Quattron Pro side looked better – noticeably better in some instances, and is good enough to receive THX Display certification. It wasn’t quite good enough to make me want to ditch my existing flatscreen but it did leave me feeling bad that I didn’t have enough money to do so.
Of course, had a 4K set been side by side I would have seen yet further improvements in picture quality, but Quattron Pro sets are at least £500 cheaper, making it a good halfway house till 4K really takes off (realistically how much 4K content are you really going to have access to in the next year or so).
I also thought the wallpaper mode was cool – allowing you to use the TV as a picture frame, whilst consuming only 30-40W of power per day (more than a traditional painting, but about the same as a lightbulb).
However I was a little disappointed that so little thought had gone into the “smart” TV side of things, with very few built in streaming options and a fairly basic browser. This isn’t a knock on Samsung per se – most smart TVs are a let down in this regard, but was worth noting. Sharp are adding features – with the BBC iPlayer coming in June, but you may miss out on the next wave of streaming with 4K content from Netflix and others over the next few years.
Quattron Pro sets should be in stores now! For more info head to Sharp