Bought a new 50-inch LED TV, then wanted to gouge my eyes out

Nine months after the 3-year warranty expired, my 46-inch Samsung LED TV died.  I paid $2,200 for it and it was Samsung’s flagship TV at the time.  The picture quality was great but the TV suffered many problems: the panel was replaced three times, it had major backlight bleeding (who cares about deep blacks when there’s clouding?) and the optical audio port was busted.

It was an expensive TV and lasted less than four years.  It made me wonder whether instead of purchasing a $2,200 flagship TV every four years, I should just spend $1,000 on a mid-level TV every two.  With the way technology advances, the mid-level experience two years from now might be better than the flagship experience today.  I’d save money and average out to comparable viewing quality.

And so I purchased a Sharp Aquos 50LE450M online for an astonishingly cheap $720.  Yes, you read that correctly, a 50-inch, 1080P LED TV for $720 from a respected Japanese brand.  It was also only released in 2013.  I couldn’t find any reviews of it as the TV appears to be specially made for developing markets.  Sibling Sharp TVs with similar model numbers did have middling reviews, which by definition I was prepared to accept.  Plus, this is from Sharp so it can’t be that bad right?

The Sharp 50LE450M looks so good in press shots

The TV arrived yesterday and I excitedly connected it to my home theater system…

Only to have my jaw drop.  I was flabbergasted.  The picture quality was AWFUL.  I tried tinkering with the settings but, no.  The picture was horribly pixelated, there was so much ghosting the panel seemed haunted, actions stuttered and unbelievably, the color gradients were actually noticeable!   My eyes literally hurt from watching this cesspool in motion.  It reminded me of those grainy, 300 x 200 MPEG videos you watched full-screen on your laptop back in 1999.  Except up close.

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Actresses never looked so detailed!  Not.

And then I realized the TV wasn’t actually displaying a 1080P video — it was displaying the signal from my HD cable box via HDMI as 576i @ 50Hz.  That’s a standard definition output the TV must be stretching to the 50-inch screen.  Holy smokes, no wonder it looked so bad and no wonder it reminded me of 1999.  I couldn’t tweak anything to solve it, and neither could the Sharp technician on the phone, who actually seemed like a nice guy.

Maybe a different source?  I connected my PC via HDMI and set the TV resolution to 1920 x 1080, but text, icons and file windows told me the TV was actually displaying at a 1280 x 720 resolution.  Check it out below:

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Note the proportion of the same video file to the screen…both are set to 1920 x 1080 but only one is actually that resolution

Basically, something is fucked up with the TV’s scaler.  It’s not interpreting the signal and displaying the video properly.  This is a 1080P TV that’s never going to actually display 1080P.

I don’t think my unit is faulty — I suspect all Sharp 50LE450Ms are like this.

How is this possible?  How can something like this leave Sharp’s factory?  Did anyone at Sharp actually use this unbelievably crappy TV?  How can Sharp be so unconcerned about how this affects their brand?

photo 2 photo 5
One is from a computer monitor I purchased five years ago, the other from a 2013-model LED TV.  Guess which is which?

That’s the last time I purchase a TV online without looking at it in person or without professional reviews.

I ended up replacing the Sharp with a 46-inch Samsung H7000 series TV, which did get good reviews.  It costs twice as much as the Sharp, but at least I can watch movies without wanting to gouge my eyes out.

The grand experiment hasn’t necessarily failed.  The lesson is that there’s such a thing as low-end experience, and apparently $720 for a 50-inch LED TV is just that.

11 thoughts on “Bought a new 50-inch LED TV, then wanted to gouge my eyes out

  1. Sorry to hear about your TV. My Sony led also died in me a few weeks back. But it didn’t have so many problems like you described. But my TV lasted only about 2. 5 years or so…

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    1. As disappointed as I was that my previous Samsung TV had so many problems, I was even more impressed with Samsung’s customer service. They came over and replaced the panels with no questions asked.

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      1. I have not been impressed with Samsung’s customer service. I have 50 inch LCD that cost over two grand new and it has bad capacitors Samsung outsourced from China and were sued over. My model number is in the range of affected units. Anyway, Samsung basically told me tough stuff when I called and requested they send someone to replace the power board. Up until now, I have purchased a lot of Samsung stuff – other tv’s, phones, tablets, but after this experience I’m done with them.

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  2. Hey I just got the same sharp tv from a gift, and I have the same problem. the image is so bad.. I’m sad to see your comment, I was hoping just to set it up correctly

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  3. I think you have a faulty unit. About a week ago I auditioned TVs across multiple brands and did tried this Sharp model.

    It is as good as any other brands (Samsung, LG, Sony), by saying that I mean there was no major negative point: the TV was showing 1080 resolution, the detail was there. The only thing that catches my eyes was its color reproduction is slightly strange compared to TVs from other brands (innacurate RGB color).

    From that audition, I prefer LG IPS TV better.

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  4. I bought a Sharp Aquos LC32D50U 32″ 720p in 2007 and it’s still going strong but now demoted to my bedroom. Picture is good too.
    It looks like you have the saturation purposely turned up too high for the purpose of the pictures. I’m a movie editor and can tell when someone has messed around with the filters either knowing or not knowing what they are doing. If you knew you’re a liar and if you didn’t then it’s your own fault but i’ll stick with that you knew! And i can’t believe that all tvs in a model line would have the same fault you are a drama queen. It’s common knowledge that all cheap tvs above 42″ have crappy, pixelated image the bigger they are the worse they get. Also common knowledge that Sharp lend their name to third party manufacturers and only build the highest quality tvs themselves!

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  5. Sharp TVs SUCK!!!!! I will trash Sharp products for as long as I live. They make a crappy product and then tell you they don’t make replacement parts because it’s not economical. SCREW SHARP>>>>>

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    1. HA! Same problem here. I purchased a 70 inch Sharp Aquos LC-70TQ15U model less than 2 years ago and the panel went completely out. They told me “we don’t make replacement parts for sets because it is not economical. Sorry sir, your set is garbage”. Word for word! I am so pissed off it’s not even funny. I had a repair technician come out and tell me the panel is bad and it will cost around $2,000 for a new one. I paid $3,200 for the set, and now I have a giant paper weight mounted on my wall. Sharp=SHIT! Wish this would have happened before I purchased my 55 in 4k Sharp set… Regret is kicking in. I put the word out there to anyone listening… STAY AWAY FROM SHARP! Spend the extra money and get you something reliable. A company that stands up for their name and brand. Sony, LG, Samsung… Nothing else.

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