Review: Nothing `Shoddy’ About Sharp LC-65P8000 4K HDR TV
The Sharp 2017 LC-65P8000 is a mid-range 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV with very good picture quality when viewed in a darkened room. The set has a good local dimming system and direct-lit LED backlighting that produces deep black levels for an LCD.
The $1,299.99 LC-65P8000 also is a competent gaming display, with low-input lag and minimal motion blur. Its primary weakness is that it’s not very bright for a high dynamic range (HDR) TV, which tends to limit its ability to present peak brightness and a wide range of color in full glory.
Being an LCD, the television also exhibits the typical amount of degraded contrast and color quality when viewed off-axis, but over all, we found it to be a good 4K television for the money.
Read more of our review of the Sharp LC-65P8000 after the jump:
Hisense licensed the Sharp brand for the manufacture and sale of television sets and related A/V peripheral devices in the United States two years ago, and has used the prestigious trademark to market lines of 4K Ultra HD and Full HDTVs through a wide range of retailers, including some specialty A/V stores.
In that time, Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn/Hon Hai Precision, which acquired controlling interest in Sharp shortly after the Sharp TV brand was licensed off in the U.S., has since sought to get those rights back. Hisense has refused, and Sharp, under Foxconn/Hon Hai Precision, recently filed a legal complaint charging mismanagement of the Sharp brand and producing goods that are “shoddily” made under the trademark.
Curious, we managed to get ahold of a 65-inch Sharp LC-65P8000 model, which is positioned as a mid-range 4K Ultra HD performer with direct-LED backlight (Hisense refused to disclose the number of LED zones) with local dimming and HDR support – specifically the HDR10 profile.
What we found was an attractive, solidly built 4K Ultra HD television with good entry to mid-range 3840×2160 resolution and HDR performance that will offer cost-conscious shoppers a good value.
It’s important to keep in mind this set’s position in the market. The P8000 is the third model series from the top in the Sharp 2017 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV assortment, which places it toward the middle of the market range.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 doesn’t have quantum dot technology and won’t produce the widest color gamut – we found the 65P8000 produces a respectably accurate (98.1 percent) Rec. 709 color gamut with good color range among standard dynamic range (SDR) TVs. For HDR, it measured 81 percent of the DCI-P3 professional theater color gamut recommendation.
The set does offer good 4K resolution, and gets a small boost in brightness and color quality playing 4K HDR content. Peak HDR luminance measured up to 411 nits on a 10 percent D65 white window pattern, which is on the low side as HDR sets go. This is certainly dim in comparison to higher-end (and significantly more expensive) HDR TV models from companies like Samsung, Sony and LG, but better than the average opening price point and mid-range 4K HDR sets available under some third-tier and even higher-ranked brands. The 65-inch model is also priced at a very affordable $1,299.99 street retail, which is about the same as you would pay for Vizio’s 65-inch M series M65-D0.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 has an appealing thin-bezel design, with 0.5-inch chrome edging around three sides of the screen, 1-inch at the bottom, and matching plastic feet that attach to the base of the screen about six inches in from each end of the display. Each foot is toed outward from the front end of the attachment point for both aesthetics and stability. However, we noticed that the screen rocked slightly back and forth when given a gentle push, which could be something to consider if young children are around. Also, the feet sit flat on the table or shelf leaving less than 2-inches of clearance between the base of the screen and the table surface. This will make it hard to fit many soundbars in front of the TV without blocking some screen real estate.
Despite these issues, the overall build quality of the LC-65P8000 was good, and didn’t provide any indication of fragility or alarming susceptibility to damage. The panel appears to be heavy and sturdily made, suggesting ruggedness and stability, particularly in wall-mounted applications. The back of the set is made of the standard black plastic.
Inputs are positioned facing outward away from the wall on the left side of the screen, with a second input panel positioned on the back of the set facing out toward the wall. The connections placed on the back of the screen hold two HDMI 1.4 inputs, an ethernet port, component and composite analog outputs and a TOSLINK digital audio output.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 has a nice assortment of inputs, including four HDMI jacks, but only two of those support HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 (upgradeable to HDMI 2.0b) and are capable of accepting 4K UHD/60p video with HDR. One is the Audio Return Channel (ARC) jack. The other two HDMI inputs are HDMI 1.4 compliant and will accept up to Full HD 1080p/HDCP 2.0 content.
Other inputs include three USB ports, two of which are USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0; an Ethernet input; an RF antenna/cable input, component video and composite video inputs and a digital audio output. The set also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 has a very similar remote to those used with Hisense TV models. It is long, measuring 8.6 inches and about .75 inches thick with rounded edges on the back for comfort in the hand. The remote holds an ample set of control buttons that are laid out in a very intuitive manner. Four buttons are added at the bottom of the handheld control to quickly access the Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Fandango Now and YouTube apps for over-the-top streaming services. The HDMI-CEC capability synched smoothly with an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, enabling the TV remote to control most of the basic commands of the source device.
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CalMan software, Florian Freidrich HDR workflow and TP.
To calibrate the LC-65P8000 we used the latest version of SpectraCal CalMan software, the SpectraCal C6 HDR colorimeter, and a Murideo Fresco SIX-G signal generator, the latter for use with Rec. 709 standard dynamic range. To check HDR and color gamut performance for HDR10, we used an HDR10 workflow and accompanying HDR10 Reference Disc (on Ultra HD Blu-ray) developed by Florian Freidrich.
We played the HDR Test Pattern Disc on both Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and Oppo’s UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. The HDR10 Reference Disc uses special test patterns with motion targets that prevent a television’s brightness limiter from ramping down peak brightness or shutting off pixel lighting when checking for black level.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 offers seven picture modes in both SDR –Vivid, Standard, Energy Saving, Theater, Game, Sport and Calibrated — and HDR modes — HDR Vivid, HDR Standard, HDR Energy Saving, HDR Theater, HDR Game, HDR Sport and HDR Calibrated. We found Calibrated and HDR Calibrated to be closest to the preferred 6500 degrees Kelvin (D65) color temperature, and produced a nice warm tone.
We turned off local dimming and pumped up the backlight setting to full to measure peak luminance for HDR. Using several different window sizes, we found our review sample output between 350 and 411 nits of peak brightness with a 10 percent D65 white window pattern and that level remained relatively consistent with 25, 50 and 100 percent white window patterns.
Overall, HDR brightness, black level and color performance were noticeably enhanced with HDR10 metadata, but not to the degree that we see it on top-end Samsung QLED or LG OLED 4K Ultra HDTVs. The company soon will be coming out with two additional step-up series with QLED technology for elevated performance levels, and we expect those to bring brighter HDR performance, which might be worth considering if you have the ability to spend a little more on a TV.
Overall, both SDR and HDR images were very good for the price range.
Boosting the backlight to maximum from its pre-established setting in calibrated HDR mode didn’t have much of a measurable effect on peak brightness, even with local dimming turned off.
Black level on the LC-65P8000 measured at 0.08 nits, which doesn’t achieve the pure black of some OLED sets, but dark areas of images were nonetheless deep with acceptable levels of fine detail crushing in very dark shadows. The measured level is just shy of the Ultra HD Premium Certification level for LED LCD TVs (0.05 nits).
The deep space sequences in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of The Martian were inky black, and even faint pinpoints of starlight were visible in the background scenes.
Again, measurements were all well short of the 1,000 nits of peak luminance level specified by the Ultra HD Alliance for certification as an “Ultra HD Premium” LED LCD TV. But this is expected for this price and class level. The display will recognize and accept HDR10 metadata in a signal and then play it back to the best of its ability – as is required by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) standards for an “HDR Display.”
In HDR mode, we found the color gamut measured at 81 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiative P3 recommendation, with color points missing most targets, particularly in red, blue, cyan and green sectors on the CIE 1976 uv chart. Lacking a color management control system in the TV, we didn’t try to adjust the color targets for HDR.
CalMan software, ISF workflow.
Testing for Rec. 709 with SDR was a different story. We found that the Sharp LC-65P8000 was close to hitting all of the gamut color points (98.1 percent of Rec. 709), requiring very little adjustment. Colors are rich, bright and well saturated for a Rec. 709 display. The TV includes both 2-point and 10-point white balance adjustment, but no color management system or gamma controls were to be found.
Still, the out-of-box settings in calibrated mode were pretty much dead on target. This is important since SDR/Rec. 709 content will represent the bulk of what is watched on the display, at least for a few more years.
The Ultra HD Premium Certification standard requires a color gamut meeting 90 percent of the DCI-P3 recommendation or better, so again with an 81 percent P3 reading this is not an Ultra HD Premium set, but it meets quality levels of a good low- to- midrange 4K UHD LED-LCD TV with HDR.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 uses an LCD panel with a 60 Hz native refresh rate. Motion blurring and judder are good, but not perfect, and the on-board Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) with backlight blinking enhancement system does a reasonably good job at limiting overt artifact issues. However, the settings allow users to select only “clear” (blurring control of fast motion) or “smooth” (judder) settings but not both. Fortunately, the soap opera effect, where film-based content looks overly sharp to the point that it resembles live video rather than film-based movies, was not pronounced.
Using a gray screen uniformity check, the LC-65P8000 showed some of the typical issues we’ve come to expect but the direct-lit local dimming system seemed to mitigate distracting smudging effects. We didn’t see much in the way of dark corner shading, but we could make out faint vertical bars toward the top-middle of the screen. Also, the horizontal edge at the top of the screen seems to be a little hotter than the center. Still, the effects were hardly noticeable when running live video with sweeping camera pans, which is good. Uniformity was solid across a 100 percent black pattern.
The Sharp LC-65P9000 uses a Vertical Alignment (VA) type of LCD panel, which means it offers generally better contrast performance than In-Plane Switching (IPS) type panels, but the tradeoff is weaker off-axis viewing angles. Contrast and colors on the 65P8000 begin to weaken around 60 degrees from center point. The same is true when viewing from low or high angles, as would be found when wall mounting a display a foot or more above or below the direct line of sight. Unfortunately, this is a weakness of most LCDs.
Unfortunately, the LC-65P8000 does have a noticeable level of screen glare with any amount of ambient light on in the room. This can be distracting at times when light levels are dim or dark in a scene.
Processing and Upscaling
The LC-65P8000 does a nice job of upscaling lower-resolution content to meet the additional pixels (3840×2160) on the 4K UHD screen. HD (720, 1080i) and Full HD (1080p) material looks crisp and colorful. This is particularly so with live sports events. The TV handles lower resolution programming, like 480p standard definition DVDs and analog-produced TV programs adequately well, but as with virtually all 4K displays, when upscaling 480p material more of the noise and artifacts present in the lower-resolution image have to be multiplied along with the clear and solid parts of the image to fit all of the additional pixels on the 4K screen. This means that lower-resolution content can sometimes look less clear than it does on a 720p for Full HD 1080 display, where fewer resolution lines need to be quadrupled or more to fill all of the additional pixels of the screen. However, upscaled 1080p content looked sharp and colorful on the set. We didn’t encounter any unusual moiré patterns, but we did see some banding, particularly in sunrises and underwater images with the camera pointed up toward the sunlight surface.
Smart TV Functionality
Like virtually all 4K UHD TVs today, the LC-65P8000 includes Wi-Fi connectivity and the Opera smart TV platform loaded with a good selection of the most popular streaming app services, including: Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu, YouTube, Fandango Now, Pandora, and others available through the Opera Store. Sorry, no GoogleCast or Google movie services.
The TV also features a browser to navigate to a favorite website.
The app layout is straight forward and simple to use, reminding us in several respects of the Roku platform.
The video processing in the Sharp LC-65P8000 does a very nice job of minimizing excess background noise in low-light images and movies shot on grainy film stock. Although, we could see some background noise in the ocean cavern sequences on the HD Blu-ray edition of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. The Sharp set did a nice job of cleaning much of this up so that moving artifacts behind the actors didn’t distract the eye from where the director intends the viewer to look. The processing does a nice job of preserving the natural grain of the film for a natural-looking theatrical appearance.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 should make a good gaming display with Full HD and less resolution signal input. We measured a respectable 26.7 ms lag time feeding the set a 1080/60p signal, which is very good.
Because many who buy a TV in this price class are not likely to buy any supporting home theater audio equipment, the on-board sound system in the Sharp LC-65P8000 is very important. This model uses dbx sound effects with five modes that optimize sound for the content or listening situation. These modes include: standard, theater, music, speech and late night. Standard mode provides a flat frequency response to preserve the original sound experience. Theater mode adjusts the virtual surround effect and boosts the bass level for movies and action programming. Music adjusts low and high frequencies to enhance musical effect. Speech mode attenuates low and high frequencies to emphasize dialog in a program, and late-night mode enhances dialog for clarity at low volumes.
We found dialog through the on-board speakers to be clear and upfront in most modes, but the embellished enhancements for music and surround sound are only marginally effective. The speakers are a little tinny and lack deep bass. The sound system gets the job done, but home theater buffs will want to add a soundbar or full home theater speaker setup to maximize the experience.
Appologies to Sharp and Foxconn, but in our opinion, the Sharp LC-65P8000 is far from a “shoddily made” 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV. The set design was attractive, assembly appears to be solid (omitting the slight screen wobble on the stand) and connections appear to be durable (although we would have liked all four HDMI inputs to support 4K/60p signals, instead of just two).
Overall, the picture quality is very nice. The HDR benefits aren’t as bright or pronounced as you will find in higher-end televisions, but you will have to pay a lot more to get those. If getting impressive HDR is what you really want in your next television, you might want to wait until the Sharp P9000 or P9500 series with QLED technology arrive. Alternatively you can look for another brand of QLED or OLED TV model in the market. If that’s out of your price range, it’s hard to complain about the performance quality of the P8000 series delivers. It’s a good gaming device, and handles the 80-plus percent of the content you are going to watch from SD, HD and Full HD sources very well. The smart TV system is basic, but it provides all of the key apps, including 4K and HDR streaming content, through Amazon, Netflix, YouTube and others. This is a recommended mid-range 4K UHD LED-LCD TV set.
We therefore award the Sharp LC-65P8000 3.5 out of 5 hearts.
The Sharp LC-65P8000 used for this review was a company loan.
By Greg Tarr
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