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Home entertainment has come of age in recent years. Sharp gives you the rundown on the latest developments

It's a fine line

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Home entertainment systems are becoming an integral part of the overall look of our living spaces and are often a design statement in themselves. So it's not surprising that entertainment systems today need to look good – even when they are not in use.

Sharp gives you the rundown on some desirable home entertainment options with answers to some frequently-asked questions.

What equipment do I need to set up a cinema experience at home? A complete home entertainment setup consists of three things – a visual display, a six-speaker surround-sound audio system and a good DVD player. There are many visual display technologies available, but when you are looking for a TV that will save space and still provide an attractive complement to your décor, you should consider Sharp LCD TVs.

What are the options for space-saving TVs? There are two choices of technology when it comes to thin, flat panel display TVs – LCD and plasma.

What is the difference between LCD and plasma? Both are thin-profile screens, without the bulk of traditional television sets. However, LCD and plasma use different technology to reproduce the picture on screen. LCD uses a fluorescent backlight and liquid crystals to create the picture, whereas plasma screens use sealed cells of gas.

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Which is better? They both suit slightly different purposes. For a large screen (over 50 inches) that you will view from a distance, a plasma screen is well suited. However, the characteristics of LCD technology provide additional versatility. For example, LCD looks just as good viewed up close as from a distance, says Sharp. LCD screens also typically weigh less than plasma and are therefore easier to reposition. The company says there are many other benefits unique to Sharp Aquos LCD TVs.

What are the stand-out benefits of Sharp LCD TVs? Firstly, Sharp LCD TVs have a 60,000-hour backlight life, which is around three times longer than most plasma screens last. Even after 60,000 hours the backlight can be replaced easily and cheaply, giving LCDs a virtually infinite lifespan.

Secondly, pictures remain clear and vivid under all light conditions – even with sunlight shining directly on the screen. This is made possible by Sharp's non-reflective TFT Advanced Super View LCD technology, and means that the choice of where to place the screen is not constrained by external light sources.

Thirdly, Sharp Aquos LCD TVs are a design statement in themselves, created by internationally renowned designer Toshiyuki Kita. Kita's works, including Aquos TVs, are displayed in several European modern art museums.

What should I look for in an LCD TV? When you are investing in a TV, you need to be certain just how many years you are getting for that investment. Sharp says its LCD TVs have backlights rated to last 60,000 hours, equivalent to 8 hours' viewing a day for 20 years. The company says this is the longest of any LCD TV.

What sizes of Sharp LCD TVs are available? Sharp's complete range of LCD TVs includes two widescreen models, the 37-inch and 30-inch, plus 20-inch, 15-inch and 13-inch standard LCD TVs.

What home theatre sound system would complement these TVs? The SD-AT50W, incorporating Sharp's patented 1-Bit digital audio technology, is the company's latest home theatre surround-sound system. You simply connect it to your DVD player to add crystal-clear, lifelike sound. Sharp says that by using ultra high-speed sampling (64 times faster than conventional amps) the 1-Bit amplifiers reproduce high-fidelity sound with realism that is just like being on the movie set. In addition, 1-Bit technology allows amplifiers to be one third the size and use half as much power as conventional amplifiers of similar output power.

For more information, contact Sharp Corporation, PO Box 12-244, Penrose, Auckland, phone (09) 573 0111, fax (09) 573 0112. Website:www.sharpnz.co.nz .

First published date: 20 May 2003

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