Sharp’s 80 inches of television glory

29 Nov

Call of Duty in 80 inches: Whoa.

It’s true what they say: once you’ve tried 80 inches, you never want to go back.

I’m talking, of course, about televisions (get your mind out of the gutter). I recently spent a few days with Sharp’s new 80-inch Aquos TV and, having fallen in love, I’m sad to say I have screen envy now that I’m back to my measly 50-inch plasma.

The thing is big. I mean seriously big. I have a relatively small living room so it blocked out almost the entire wall where my TV is usually located. By my math, 80 inches is 6 feet 8 inches, or as tall as Tracy McGrady and LeBron James. Imagine either of them lying diagonally across a TV screen. That’s how big it is. I’m 6’2″ and I couldn’t reach my arms across it.

The resultant effect was that my living room felt more like a movie theatre. Nothing besides watching TV, movies or playing video games was to happen there. Nothing could, because the screen dominated everything. You couldn’t walk into the room without noticing it, nor have a conversation about anything else while in its presence. It became like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey; this awesome thing that held some mysterious power.

The TV affected my behaviour in strange ways. I had to keep the blinds in my living room closed at all times, lest passersby spy the thing and peer in, thinking, “Holy crap, that’s the biggest screen I’ve ever seen! These people must be rich – let’s rob them!”

Indeed, the screen sells for $5,299. With 50-inch TVs available for as low as $1,000 these days, that’s a small fortune. In the grand scheme of things, however, it’s not that bad. Five years ago, I paid almost $4,000 for a 42-inch plasma TV. So, while it is a lot, it’s also a good example of how quickly prices have gone down – and likely will continue to.

The 80-incher boasts a full 1080p HD picture, with all of the internet connectivity that has become standard in sets (fuller specs are in the press release linked to above). I was able to connect my home Wi-Fi with no problems and was up and running on Netflix, with no intermediary box or game console, in minutes. Unlike most new TVs, though, there’s no 3D. That’s probably because adding 3D would only have increased the price tag even more. Or maybe 3D at that size would cause your head to explode. I’m not sure.

So what about that all-important picture? Well, with Blu-Ray and video games, it was stunning. I played a good deal of Call of Duty on it and was simply awestruck. Now that I’m back on 50 inches, I find myself moving closer and closer to the screen. Very bad for the eyes.

For kicks, I tried some analog TV on the big screen. Don’t ever do this. Televisions this size are not meant for anything less than full HD. Pixelated YouTube videos look good in comparison. Of course, if you can afford the set, you can probably also afford HD cable and would never have to try this.

Ultimately, an 80-inch set is the height of luxury. Not only is it an expensive TV in and of itself, it also requires a sizable living room, or one considerably bigger than mine, which means you’ll probably also need a big house. While you’re at it, you might as well hire some armed guards to protect it.


Posted by on November 29, 2011 in sharp


5 responses to “Sharp’s 80 inches of television glory

  1. Marc Venot

    November 29, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Great but next year the horde of 4K (like the Sony VPL-VW1000ES) will try to lure the early adopters.

  2. Chris C.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:28 am

    80 inch and ONLY 1080P? Ha! That’s Nothing! (like Topper would say), how about this one: (yes, it’s 7680×4320, or 16 times the resolution of the aforementioned screen)

    What I find mind boggling is, why is it taking so long for manufacturers to come up with LCDs that can even approach what cameras are producing today? Heck, the highest resolution monitor one can actually purchase (the Dell 3011 and its clones), at 2560×1600, barely exceeds 4 megapixels, when even consumer grade cameras produce well above 10MP!

    Can someone please explain WHY, with the monitors we are limited with, would anyone in his right mind want to purchase cameras that exceeds 4 megapixels?

    Excuse me, but I am NOT impressed by giant pixelated screens! You want to sell me a large screen? Get your homework done and start producing screens that I can actually use to view my photographs at native resolution!

    • randifer

      November 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

      The fact that an LCD is not precise enough to show the detail is neither here or there. With 18MP I have the ability to take a wide angle shot and crop it down or frame the image afterward, not in the heat of the action, and still maintain an incredible resolution. On the monitor, I can zoom in and not get a mosaic.

      Also, monitors are just one of many mediums for photographic images. Others have much better resolution. A photo printed on a common inkjet printer at 600 dpi on borderless 8.5X11 paper is 33MP. A standard 4X6 photo is about 8MP.

      It is interesting to note that the clarity of the 1080P image is only clear when the image is moving. Imperfections is the image when it is enlarged on a 48, 60, or even 80 inch screen are masked by the constant flow, and your brain will “fill in the blanks” where the image was slightly off between frames. A still picture gives you much more time to notice imperfections, and no frames on either side of it that give you a reference point to fill things in.

      • Chris C.

        November 30, 2011 at 12:02 am

        randifer, we could go into a long, heated argument on the (lack of) merits of paper versus projection media, as this debate has been raging on pretty much ever since the early days of photography. In short, although convenient, paper is vastly inferior to the original (such as the transparency or the digital file itself) when it comes to detail, color fidelity and dynamic range, so you can guess where I stand 😉

        What saddens me is that, although digital cameras are now able to give us extremely high actual resolution, pretty close to what was only attainable with the use of large format a few decades ago, the craft of high definition has all but been relegated to a obscurity and lost to the inferior movie format (that is driven by the all powerful Motion Picture lobby that intends to turn every computer user into a passive consumer), that you so pertinently say masks imperfection through the fluidity of movement.

        That is why I am NOT impressed by large screen TVs, unless that large size is accompanied by, at least, half decent resolution. Until this happens, I will only have utter contempt for these screens and their artificially enhanced pictures that, just like whores in back alleys, do a frankly pitiful job of masking their glaring deficiencies.

        In other words and as I said before… I’m NOT impressed, Pete!!!

  3. D.Stark

    November 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Wouldn’t it make more sense if we all sat around with VR hoods or helmets on? We could get complete wrap around images in 3D or 2D and all the family members could watch what they liked. I wouldn’t be held hostage to ‘The View’ and she wouldn’t have to watch ‘Top Gear’. We’re at the point now with 80 inch TV’s that the TV dominates ALL activity in a ‘Family Room’. No TV this size should be mounted in a room meant for human interaction. Putting these things in a home theater / man room isn’t the solution either. For example; I invite friends over to watch F1 car racing. We’re all F1 tech heads and like to discuss the action as it happens – who’s KER system is failing, DRS zones etc. The overwhelming size and sound just stuns the senses – the social aspect of our gathering together suffers as a result. We’d be all better off staying home alone. I think 50 inch is the limit for TV size and still retain a social connection to other guests or family members. Of course it’s all a mute point if your a hermit.

%d bloggers like this: