Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sharp Aquos LC-13B4U-S 13 in. EDTV-Ready LCD Television

By Christine

Price: $265.00 to $300.00

For years, I had a 9 inch, standard TV on my kitchen counter. It took up half the usable area. I knew I wanted a flat screen TV, but the cost was prohibitive. Prices have come down a lot, but I had seen some "cheap" models that were really awful, with poor resolution and bad angle of viewing. They looked more like the screens you see on airplanes.

I usually do my research, and this was no exception. I went to Costco, BestBuy, Target, and Walmart to see the various models. In most places, the price for a 13 inch quality LCD tv was about $450.00 or higher. Costco had some low priced ones, in the 300s, but I didn't care for the picture quality. The best picture I had seen, at BestBuy, was the Sharp Aquos line. It seemed to have the blackest black background and sharp images. NOTE: if you are really picky about picture quality, no LCD will match a CRT screen at present, unless you pay A LOT).

For the reviewed Aquos, the lowest price I found was for a refurbished unit from and that is where I ordered from at $299.00. Their website was easy to use and the product was shipped as promised. I was not disappointed. The unit has a medium shade silver cabinet in front and grey in the rear (it also comes in black and they have that unit as well), and the picture quality is excellent for an LCD screen. The viewing angle is as advertised, up to 170 degrees, which means you can see it from everywhere in the kitchen (except behind, of course), and the 2.1 watt speakers on each side of the screen really put out big time sound. I have always figured that refurb products are good if they are direct from the manufacturer. This one came directly from Panasonic with their factory seal. Once repaired, there is not likely to be any further trouble, and after a month, I have had none. I ordered a second one for my second home (again from the same vendor). The specs are shown below, but suffice it to say the TV picture will impress you, and that's what you are buying. The only quirk is that they placed a master on/off button on the top of the unit. This is where most people would go to turn the unit on if not using the remote. But using this button turns off the master power, so the remote won't work. However, pressing again, turns on master power AND the set, so just use the remote and avoid this issue. There is a cable jack on the back, RCA inputs, S video, and although the set has component inputs, I suspect that a tv this size will not be used in conjunction with high end receivers, but it's there if you want it. You can even claim to be an environmentalist as it uses a miserly 33 watts of power, thus saving forests, or rather oil.

Channel and volume controls are conveniently on the top along with a menu and tv/video switch. But don't forget the power button on top is a master power, not a standard on/off button. Go figure!

The 60,000 hour lamp sounds like you might wear it out, but if you have the tv on 10 hours per day, that allows for 16 years of lamp life, so unless you have it on 24/7, it should last a very long time.

The remote control is silver, and shaped like a Y, with good controls. There is the standard circular oriented arrow function buttons around a "enter" center button, along with buttons for menu, sleep mode, flashback, mute, tv/video, display, vol and channel of course, and a quick brightness control button, and a curious picture flip button. I don't know what this is for, but it allows the picture to be flipped upside down, or flipped into mirror mode (the picture looks backwards and would look normal if you watched it in a mirror). Maybe these options are for a projector? I personally found the remote to be somewhat strange looking, being used to rectangular remotes, but this was obviously a style effort on Sharp's part.

The unit has sufficient weight that it swivels nicely on its stand, so that when you rotate it, the base stays put. The swivel is very fluid and well engineered. I really like the picture and you will too! Unlike projection tvs, you can look at this screen from above, below or to the side without any change in the appearance.


• The AQUOS™ LC-13B4U-S with built-in cable TV tuner is less than 3" deep with an elegant design and features 480p (EDTV) compatibility for progressive DVD players. And with Sharp's proprietary Advanced Super View LCD panel, a 500:1 contrast ratio and 170 degree viewing angles, it is truly "TV where you want it," for any room in the house!
• ======================================================
• 13" ASV (Advanced Super View) LCD Panel
• is a Sharp proprietary panel with Black TFT low reflection coating.
• EDTV Monitor
• allows for 480p (progressive) DVD compatibility.
• High Brightness (430 cd/m2)
• AQUOS Liquid Crystal Televisions are very bright, so you can put them anywhere -- even near windows, doors or other light sources -- and their picture will still be vivid.
• Auto Clock
• allows you to display time of day on the screen.
• viewing angles are so wide that you can view AQUOS Liquid Crystal Televisions from almost anywhere in the room!
• 60,000-Hour Lamp Life
• Sharp's LCD backlight life is long enough to give you viewing pleasure for many years.
• 500:1 Contrast Ratio
• provides incredible images whether you're watching dark or bright scenes!
• Specifications:
• Panel Type 13" Active Matrix (a-si TFT) LCD1
• Pixel Resolution 921,600 dots (480 x 640 x R/G/B=VGA)
• Video System NTSC/PAL/SECAM
• Brightness 430 cd/m2
• Lamp Life 60,000 hours
• Viewing Angles 170 degree
• Audio System 2.1W + 2.1W
• Tuner Type Electronic PLL Tuner
• Aspect Ratio 4:3
• Contrast Ratio 500:1
• Color Temperature 8,000 degreeK
• Component Input Y/Pr/Pb x 1
• S-Video Input 4-pin DIN x 1
• Composite Video Input RCA x 2
• Cabinet Color Silver
• Power Consumption AC 33.5W
• Dimensions
• (w x h x d) 16 7/8" x 13 19/64" x 7 25/64" (with stand)
• 16 7/8" x 10 11/16" x 2 27/64" (without stand)
• Weight 9.7 lbs. (with stand)
• 8.2 lbs. (without stand)