Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U

Sharp AQUOS LC-50UB30U 50″ 4K UHD TV -Review

Choosing the Sharp AQUOS LC-50UB30U 50″ 4K UHD TV

When a friend of mine asked me to take a look at his new 80″ Sharp 4K TV, I was hooked.  4K TV’s have amazing clarity, thanks to their 2160p video and resolution of 3840 X 2160 pixels. Adding to this, there have been many improvements in TV technology (like LED backlighting, improved refresh rates, etc.). My friend’s Sharp has an amazing picture, at times, seemingly even better than life-like. After seeing this TV, my inner-geek was immediately addicted. It was time to replace my 5 years old 1080P Sharp Aquos.  Of course, reality began to set in. I wanted a 4K TV, but I did not have a large budget for a large screen TV.  In addition to my limited budget, the site of the TV would mean a screen no larger than 50″. After some serious shopping and pouring through volumes of tech specs, I found two 50″ 4K TVs that had decent specs, and equally as important, both were in my budget: the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U and Vizio M50-C1.

At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer. I had such good luck with my current Sharp, and the picture on the display’s of the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30’s that I had seen in the stores were great, so………I went with the Sharp.

Sharp AQUOUS LC-50UB30U Tech Specs

From Sharp USA[1]:

PANEL SPECIFICATIONS

Display Panel Type:
LCD
Backlight Type-Source: LED
Native Panel Resolution: 3840 x 2160 , Ultra HD
Aspect Ratio: 16×9
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 4,000,000:1
Refresh Panel Rate : 60Hz
Refresh Scanning Rate: AquoMotion 120

BROADCAST SYSTEM

Analog: NTSC
Digital: ATSC/QAM
Design
Bezel Color: Black
Frame Color: Black
Stand Color: Black
Dual-Position Stand: —

SPECIAL FEATURES
Wallpaper mode: Yes
4K Playback (Up to 60 fps): Yes
Gaming Mode: Yes
AQUOS AdvantageSM Live
Powered by Update Logic: Yes

VIDEO
THX® Certified: —
SPECTROS™ Rich Color Display:–
Revelation™ Upscaler:  Yes
AquoDimming™ Technology: —
Pixel-Splitting Technology: —
Quattron™ Technology: —
Optical Picture Control (OPC):–
Enhanced Noise Reduction:  Yes

AUDIO
Speakers (channel): 2
Speaker Location: Bottom, Down Firing
Speaker Output Power: 10W+10W
Auto Volume Control: Yes
Simulated Surround: Yes
Headphone Jack: —
Compatible Sound Bar: Sharp HT-SB30D 2.0 Channel
Wall mount setting: No

SMART
Smart Platform: SmartCentral™
Android TV with Google Play: —
Processor: Quad Core
Remote Control APPS (iOS/Android): Yes
Web Browser: Yes
Mirroring: Yes
Web+TV Split Screen: —
DLNA Certified®: —
Home Network Sharing: Yes
MHL Certified: Yes
4K Streaming incl.
Netflix (HEVC),
YouTube (VP9): Yes

AV INPUTS/OUTPUTS
RS-232C: —
PC In (15 pin D-sub): —
SD Card Slot: —
Total USB Input(s): 2
USB feature: Photo/Music/Video/Software Update
Total HDMI Input(s): 4
ARC (Audio Return Channel): Yes (HDMI 1)
HDCP 2.2: Yes (supports all HDMI input)
MHL®: Yes (HDMI 3)
RF in (Antenna/Cable): Yes
Component Video Input(s): 1 (shared with composite)
Composite Video Input(s): 1 (shared with component)
Audio Input(s): 1
Audio Output(s): 1
Digital Audio Output: 1 (optical)
Analog Stereo Output: 1 (RCA)

CONNECTIVITY
Ethernet: Yes
Built-in Wireless: Yes (802.11 b/g/n)
IP Control: —
Bluetooth: —

CONVENIENCE FEATURES
Remote Type: Standard
SmartCentral™ Remote Control Link (IR Blaster): Yes
Sleep Timer: Yes
Closed Caption: Yes
Parental Control V-Chip: Yes
Language (English/French/Spanish): Yes

POWER
Power Source (Voltage, Hz):
AC 120V, 50/60Hz
ENERGY STAR® Qualified: Yes
Auto Power Off: —
Power Saving Mode: —

WALL MOUNT
VESA Compliant: Yes (400mm x 400mm)

DIMENSIONS/WEIGHT (INCHES/LBS.)
Including stand (wxhxd): 44.37″ x 27.20″ x 12.83″
Product Weight (-/+ stand): 33.08 lbs / 35.28 lbs
Shipping (wxhxd): 48.23″ x 32.28″ x 5.98″
Shipping Weight: 46.30 lbs

WARRANTY/UPC
Parts: 1 year limited
Labor: 1 year limited
UPC: 074000376755

The Good

The Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U has three outstanding features:

  1. Picture quality (as long as you are directly in front it). Even with its edge-lit backlighting, which is neither as flexible nor as bright as the Sharp’s full-array LED competitors, the Aquos produces a nice clear and satisfying picture. Colors are both correct and vivid. Also notable, the screen for the Aquos itself is glass, complementing its picture quality.
  2. The TV’s upscaling engine is excellent. Though low resolution images seem sharper and deeper; however, they will not appear as well as they would in a native 4K format. That being said, often image quality similar to “Blue-Ray” can be expected.
  3. Finally, as you can see from its specs, what is provided in terms of video technology, smart platform, and inputs/outputs are about what one would expect for an entry level 4K TV, and help support the low price of this 4K TV. Price may well be its most outstanding feature.

The Bad

There are 6 things about this TV that are deal-breakers:

  1. Picture quality. Yes, the picture quality is both good and bad.  Though very good while you are seated directly in front of the TV, the quality of the TV quickly dissipates as you move away from “center”. This is not an uncommon issue with LCD TVs, but in this one, the quality differential is greatly accelerated.
  2. The setup menu for the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U is too limited. This is an entry level 4K TV, and Sharp seems to be underscoring that point by dummying-down the menu. Only the very basic of adjustments are available to the user.
  3. Judder (so not to get too “techie”, let’s just say “missing frames”) is too pronounced, making images in a picture seem “jerky”. As one would expect, this commonly occurs in “action” sequences.
  4. The remote has all the look and feel of one that might be purchased for $10 at Walmart. It is shiny black, with keys that feel wobbly and numb. Using it requires a direct line of sight.
  5. The Aquos would, seemingly at random, restart the video. When this occurred, I could alway get audio, but the screen would go black, then go to the normal start-up screen, delay a few seconds, and return to normal video. The restarting might take place three or for times in an hour, or the TV might run several hours, then restart, run several more hours, then restart every few minutes, then run for several hours without incidence.
  6. Support from Sharp was challenging. I called Sharp’s “Customer Support” to get help in solving the resetting issue. A technical advisor had me unplug the TV, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in. He then provided a case number. I was waiting for more direction, when I was asked if there was anything else he could do to help me? I  told the tech advisor that I had already done a “power cycle” before the call, and it did not resolve the problem. I was told to call “Customer Support” the next time the “restarting” occurred, and the call was ended. So……, not waiting for another reset to occur, I immediately called “Customer Support” again, thankfully getting another technical advisor. I was given codes to enter into the remote, the resulting action was to clear all settings and memory caches, bringing the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U back to the original factory setup. After completing the “reset” the technical advisor told that if the problem persisted, to call again, and a different tier of technical advisor would work with me. He further stated after all the resetting was done, the problem might well be hardware related. The resetting continued.

Summary

To me, the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U 4K TV appears to suffer from a compromised design where technology is either hindered or in some cases altogether abandoned to get to a price-point. Sometimes this design philosophy works, and some times it doesn’t. Sadly, for this TV, the result is the later. The TV works and feels like a “bargain” TV. Not something I would expect from Sharp.

I had the Sharp Aquos LC-50UB30U for 4 days. The resetting issue was never resolved. At this point, I lacked any confidence the set would be repaired without involving a higher level of complexity, which would result in more complications than I wanted out of a TV after a few days of ownership. If this wasn’t enough, there are just too many things about this TV that I don’t like. As a result, I returned the Sharp Aquos to the retailer from where it was purchased, and bought the other “choice” I had determined from my initial research: a Vizio M50-C1 4K TV. Outside of some minor color calibration, the Vizio now has a very good picture, and works perfectly.

Sources

1. Tech Specs | http://www.sharpusa.com/ForHome/HomeEntertainment/LCDTV/Models/LC50UB30U.aspx

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