Investigating Sharp’s AQUOS Q+ Technology & Q+ Equipped Televisions

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From the invention of the mechanical pencil to the first-ever LCD calculator, Sharp has a rich tradition of innovation that stretches over a century. It was also the first company to introduce the cellular camera phone. Sharp even used its eco-friendly silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells to make an energy-efficient, solar-powered television. As for the company’s AQUOS LCD panel technology, it improves every year. Last year’s 2013 AQUOS E857 Full HD Smart LED 3D TV featured several enhancements over the company’s high-end 2012 television models. And Sharp’s 2014 Q+ television panel technology provides another great leap forward. The AQUOS Q+ “Highest Resolution Full HD” televisions are the first commercially available 1080p Full HD TVs that support playback of 4K content via HDMI over a 1920 x 1080-resolution panel. However, these innovative AQUOS Q+ models also feature standout enhancements when it comes to wireless connectivity, user interface design, ease of use, and more.

The game-changing AQUOS Q+ technology has only been integrated into a handful of Sharp’s top-tier 2014 television models, including the SQ15 and its higher-end cousin, the UQ17. The SQ15 is available in either a 60-inch model or a 70-inch model, while the more feature-packed UQ17 is available in three screen sizes including a 60-inch model, a 70-inch model, and an 80-inch model that features an imposing design, fit for even the most capacious spaces. The science behind Sharp’s Q+ technology is the company’s enhanced Full HD LCD panel, which provides ten million more pixels than most other Full HD television models available today. The Q+ enhanced resolution panel is created by splitting each of the display’s millions of sub pixels into two. The result is a Full HD LED-Edge Lit LCD TV panel with sixteen million total sub pixels. This is a major breakthrough in LCD television panel technology because the more sub pixels your display panel has, the more detail you’ll enjoy when watching your favorite movies, shows, sports, and Internet videos. Your home videos and photos will noticeably benefit from this improved sub pixel technology as well—even if they were captured using a regular HD camera or camcorder.

Sharp’s AQUOS Q+ television screens also feature independent sub pixel areas that support separate color values for each area. These independent sub pixel zones allow the AQUOS Q+ television models to scale intelligently whatever media content you are watching to take effective advantage of the Q+ panel’s additional resolution. The end result is astonishing. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and the AQUOS Q+ panels appear to have a higher resolution than many of the other comparable Full HD TV models. Sharp’s AQUOS Q+ televisions have such an improved perceived resolution that you can even play back Ultra HD 4K content in near-4K quality. Both Full HD television models are able to support playback of content with an effective 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution through a 1920 x 1080 resolution panel. 

These new Q+ models are also equipped with Sharp’s impressive Revelation upscaler, which optimizes and upscales all your regular high-definition content for the Q+ TV’s higher effective resolution panel. This means that all your regular HD content will appear sharper and more vivid than it might on many Full HD TVs. Plus, since Q+ televisions still incorporate the AQUOS Quattron four-color technology, you’ll be able enjoy all your movies, sports, and TV shows with a billion more shades of color. Many Full HD televisions only use red, green, and blue sub pixels, but AQUOS Quattron televisions feature red, green, blue, and yellow colored sub pixels.

Both the SQ15 and UQ17 Q+ TV models are equipped with four (4K Ready) HDMI ports, dual USB ports that support music, video, photos, and software updates, and TV/Web split-screen viewing. Split-screen viewing lets you dedicate half of the television screen to surfing the Internet, while the other half of the screen continues to play your regular television programming. This is a feature I personally cannot live without anymore. Another necessity of a modern television is Bluetooth audio streaming capability, which both of these Q+ TV models support. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to wirelessly stream all your stored digital music from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet, MP3 player or laptop through your AQUOS Q+ television’s speaker system. Both models have built-in Wi-Fi as well, which allows you to access the Internet for surfing the Web using an integrated Web browser, and taking advantage of several online multimedia content providers. Integrated Wi-Fi also supports Sharp’s innovative SmartCentral 3.0 technology.

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SmartCentral 3.0 is a Smart TV platform and mobile app that’s built into all 2014 AQUOS Q+ TV models. The technology is highlighted by a smart guide that incorporates all your sources, including cable, satellite, and streaming television channels. This means you won’t have to switch TV inputs to reach your favorite content. SmartCentral 3.0 supports multiple apps as well, so you won’t have to switch from app to app when you want to view media from a different source. Some of the supported apps include NetFlix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Rhapsody, Faceboook, and multiple gaming applications. Plus, the SmartCentral 3.0 mobile app is available for Android and Apple mobile devices. This new app lets you search for content from your smartphone or tablet, which means you’ll never have to stop what you're watching to search for or discover new shows, movies, or music. You can also use this mobile app to change the TV channel, adjust the volume, switch the TV input, and alter the panel’s picture settings—all from your app-equipped compatible mobile device. The SmartCentral mobile app provides an easy way for you to share personal content as well, including photos, music, and video content stored on your smartphone or tablet.

SmartCentral 3.0 is easy to use. It provides an intuitive home screen that features access to all your content from a single location. You don’t have to scroll through multiple pages to navigate your various media sources. A built-in interactive guide helps you search through the hundreds of live TV viewing options, VOD (video-on-demand) options, myriad integrated media apps, and all your connected personal multimedia content. Plus, the home screen’s filter windows display your available content, pre-organized by genre and time. Like other high-end televisions, the AQUOS Q+ models support smart recommendation, which uses your previous selections to find new media content based on your own viewing and listening tastes.

Another highlight of these Q+ television models is integrated Miracast. This popular screen-mirroring technology allows you to wirelessly mirror—in 1920 x 1080p Full HD resolution—the video content on your Miracast-enabled smartphone, tablet, or laptop screen directly on your AQUOS Q+ television screen. Besides allowing you to view content wirelessly from your compatible mobile device in Full HD, Miracast also supports up to 5.1-channel wireless audio streaming as well. If you don’t have a Miracast-enabled mobile device, you can take advantage of MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) connectivity instead. Both Q+ models have an MHL-enabled HDMI port, which allows you to connect your smartphone or tablet via HDMI to the TV, so you can view up to 4K Ultra HD video and enjoy up to 7.1-channel audio on the big screen.

All of the innovative 2014 AQUOS Q+ television models also support Sharp’s clever Wallpaper mode, which lets you turn your enhanced Full HD LCD TV panel into a digital picture frame for displaying personal photos or the artwork of your choosing. Instead of looking at a blank, dark, and dull 60- to 80-inch television screen when you’re not using it, you can use Sharp’s Wallpaper mode setting to display a digital photo from your personal digital photo library. You can also program the AQUOS Q+ TV panel to display virtually any of your favorite paintings, professional photographs, or other artwork. Plus, when your AQUOS Q+ LED-Edge Lit display is set to Wallpaper mode, the screen’s brightness level is reduced. The Wallpaper mode’s dimmed display setting was specifically designed to match typical museum lighting as well. This ensures that your displayed photos or images of artwork look like they’re hanging in a museum. The Wallpaper mode also supports lower energy consumption, thanks to the limited power required to illuminate the dimmed screen.

Both the SQ15 and UQ17 AQUOS Q+ televisions support 240Hz native refresh rates and immersive Active 3D viewing. The SQ15 is Active 3D Ready, while the higher-end UQ17 model supports Active 3D out-of-the-box, thanks to two pairs of included Active 3D glasses that communicate with your television using wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Although the SQ15 model lacks a handful of the higher-end features built into the UQ17, it still features the same responsive 240Hz native refresh rate. It’s equipped with a 20-watt stereo speaker system, as well.

I spent some time viewing a variety of content on the SQ15’s 240Hz panel and, even while I was watching a fast-paced motorcycle race and a high-energy action movie sequence, I never noticed any major issues with clarity or responsiveness. The 240Hz AQUOS Q+ panel on both models was more than fast enough. The SQ15 is also beautifully framed by a thin, dark-silver hairline-bezel design that gives the television’s frame an understated, yet modern aesthetic.

Some of the UQ17’s additional standout features include Sharp’s Super Bright and AquoMotion 960 technologies. Super Bright technology combines the AQUOS Q+ high-brightness LED-Edge Lit LCD panel with an intelligent contrast engine that constantly analyzes the panel’s input signal. This allows the UQ17 to enhance bright patches and bright objects on its screen, while also maintaining accurate and deep black levels on the dark areas of the screen. To further enhance the UQ17’s viewing experience, AquoMotion 960 technology boosts the panel’s already impressive 240Hz native refresh rate by equipping it with Sharp’s innovative backlight scanning technology. This technology basically multiplies the panel’s perceived refresh rate, thus creating a higher effective refresh rate so that your UQ17 AQUOS Q+ television will have the added processing power to display even the fastest moving sports scenes and action movie sequences smoothly.

The UQ17 is also outfitted with a hard-to-earn THX certification and a powerful 2.1-channel, 35-watt speaker system that includes a 15-watt subwoofer and 20-watt stereo speakers. This model has a solid aluminum bezel with a dark silver-brushed finish. The thin, diamond-cut bezel is both elegant and rather neutral, which makes it suitable for a variety of home decors. The UQ17’s modern design is striking enough to be the centerpiece in a modern apartment living room or a spacious suburban basement family room, while its neutrality allows it to blend seamlessly into even a highly stylized home or estate. Plus, the 20-watt down-firing speakers and 15-watt subwoofer provide enough low-end power and high-end output to fill a large room with lifelike, full-range sound. The UQ17’s rigorous THX certification process includes 30 unique testing categories that result in 200 bench tests as well as the analyzing of over 400 data points—all conducted by THX-qualified video engineers. The point of the THX certification is to weed out the mediocre TVs, while simultaneously casting a favorable light on the few television models that possess the technological capabilities to ensure that any movies you watch on your THX-certified TV will accurately recreate the filmmaker’s intended vision.

My overall experience viewing content on the UQ17’s enhanced Super Bright LCD panel with AquoMotion 960 technology and THX certification was thoroughly positive. Although I was impressed by the speed, response, and enhanced Q+ resolution of the SQ15, the UQ17’s brilliant and bright colors, rich picture contrast, powerful refresh performance, Active 3D technology, enhanced Q+ resolution, THX-quality components, and improved full-range sound system combined to create a true feast for both the eyes and ears. For additional information on Sharp’s AQUOS Q+ television technology, or for more information on the SQ15 and UQ17 AQUOS Q+ TV models, feel free to visit the B&H website or stop by the B&H SuperStore in Manhattan. You can also get your questions answered by contacting a B&H sales professional by phone at 1-800-606-6969 or via Live Chat.

  Sharp AQUOS Q+ SQ15 Full HD LED 3D TV Sharp AQUOS Q+ UQ17 Full HD LED 3D TV
Available Screen Sizes (Diagonal) 60", 70" 60", 70", 80"
Panel Type LED LCD LED LCD
LED Backlighting Technology Edge-Lit LED Backlight Technology Edge-Lit LED Backlight Technology
Aspect Ratio  16:9  16:9
Native Resolution Full HD 1920 x 1080p Full HD 1920 x 1080p
Effective Resolution Up to 3840 x 2160 (4K) Up to 3840 x 2160 (4K)
Dynamic Contrast Ratio  8,000,000:1  12,000,000:1
3D Bluetooth Active 3D (glasses not included) Bluetooth Active 3D (Two Pairs of Bluetooth Active 3D Glasses are Included)
Refresh Rate 240Hz 240Hz
Refresh Scanning Rate N/A AquoMotion 960
Sub Pixels 16,000,000 16,000,000
Viewing Angle (Horizontal) Not Specified by Manufacturer Not Specified by Manufacturer
Super Bright Technology N/A Yes
Video Specs
Supported Analog Broadcast Systems NTSC NTSC
Supported Digital Broadcast Systems ATSC / QAM ATSC / QAM
Optical Picture Control (OPC) Yes Yes
Enhanced Noise Reduction Yes Yes
Q+ Technology Yes Yes
Quattron Technology Yes Yes
Revelation Upscaler Yes Yes
Audio Specs
Audio Channels 2 2.1
Speaker Type Bottom, Down-Firing Stereo Speakers Bottom, Down-Firing Stereo Speakers
Speaker Size Not Specified by Manufacturer Not Specified by Manufacturer
Speaker Output 10W x 2 10W x 2
Subwoofer Type N/A Bottom, Down-Firing Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer
Subwoofer Size N/A Not Specified by Manufacturer
Subwoofer Output N/A 15W
Total Audio Power Output 20W 35W
Clear Voice Yes Yes
Headphone Jack N/A N/A
Auto Volume Control Yes Yes
Wall Mount Setting Yes Yes
Simulated Surround Sound Technology Yes Yes
Connectivity Specs
Inputs/Outputs HDMI x 4 (HDMI Inputs Support ARC [Audio Return Channel}, HDCP 2.2, MHL, 4K at 30 fps
RCA Component Video Input x 1
RCA Composite Video Input x 2
VGA PC Video x 1 (Rear)
Audio Inputs x 4
Analog Audio Output x 1
Digital Optical Audio Output x 1
 USB Ports x 2 (USB Ports Support Photo, Music, Video, Software Updates)
PC (15-Pin D-Sub) Input x 1
RS-232C Control x 1
RF Antenna / Cable Input x 1
HDMI x 4 (HDMI Inputs Support ARC [Audio Return Channel}, HDCP 2.2, MHL, 4K at 30 fps
RCA Component Video Input x 1
RCA Composite Video Input x 2
VGA PC Video x 1 (Rear)
Audio Inputs x 4
Analog Audio Output x 1
Digital Optical Audio Output x 1
 USB Ports x 2 (USB Ports Support Photo, Music, Video, Software Updates)
PC (15-Pin D-Sub) Input x 1
RS-232C Control x 1
RF Antenna / Cable Input x 1
Wired Network Connectivity Yes (Ethernet Jack) Yes (Ethernet Jack)
Built-In Wireless Network Connectivity Yes (Wi-Fi 801.11 a/b/g/n) Yes (Wi-Fi 801.11 a/b/g/n)
IP Control Yes Yes
Bluetooth Connectivity Yes (for Optional Wireless Keyboard + Mouse) Yes (for Optional Wireless Keyboard + Mouse)
Bluetooth Audio Streaming Yes Yes
MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) Compatible Yes Yes
Miracast Wireless Mobile Device Mirroring Yes Yes
Additional Smart TV Specs
Smart Apps Yes Yes
Dual-Core Processor Yes Yes
Remote Control Apps Yes Yes
Integrated Web Browser Yes Yes
Web+TV Split-Screen Viewing Yes Yes
DLNA Certified Yes Yes
General Specs
Wallpaper Mode Yes Yes
THX Certified N/A Yes
Gaming Mode Yes Yes
Vintage Movie Mode Yes Yes
AQUOS Advantage Live Yes Yes
Bezel Narrow, Plastic with Silver Hairline Finish Narrow, Diamond Cut Aluminum with Dark Silver Brushed Finish
Stand Matte Black Wing-Type Stand (Fixed) Matte Dark Silver Branch-Type Stand (Fixed)
Remote Type Universal Universal
Child Lock Yes Yes
Sleep Timer Yes Yes
Closed Caption Yes Yes
V-Chip Yes Yes
Supported Menu Languages English, Spanish, French English, Spanish, French
Vesa Wall Mount Compliant Yes (400 x 400mm) Yes (400 x 400 mm) (80" model requires 600 x 400mm)
Energy Star Qualified Yes Yes
Power Requirements AC 110 - 240 V (60 Hz) AC 110 - 240 V (60 Hz)
Power Consumption Not Specified by Manufacturer Not Specified by Manufacturer
Dimensions without Stand (60" Model) 54.3 x 32.5 x 3.1" / 137.9 x 82.6 x 7.9 cm 54.3 x 32.0 x 2.3" / 137.9 x 81.3 x 5.8 cm
Dimensions with Stand (60" Model) 54.3 x 33.9 x 14.7" / 137.9 x 86.1 x 37.3 cm 54.3 x 33.8 x 11.2" / 137.9 x 85.9 x 28.5 cm
Dimensions without Stand (70" Model) 62.6 x 37.3 x 3.3" / 159.0 x 94.7 x 8.4 cm 62.1 x 36.8 x 2.3" / 157.7 x 93.5 x 5.8 cm
Dimensions with Stand (70" Model) 62.6 x 38.7 x 14.7" / 159.0 x  98.3 x 37.3 cm 62.1 x 38.6 x 11.2" / 157.7 x 97.8 x 38.6 cm
Dimensions without Stand (80" Model) N/A 71.9 x 42.1 x 2.4" / 182.6 x 106.9 x 6.1 cm
Dimensions with Stand (80" Model) N/A 71.9 x 44.1 x 18.1" / 182.6 x 112.0 x 46.0 cm
Weight without Stand (60" Model) 55.1 lb / 25.0 kg 71.7 lb / 32.5  kg
Weight with Stand (60" Model) 61.7 lb / 28.0 kg 84.9 lb / 38.5 kg
Weight without Stand (70" Model) 77.2 lb / 35.0 kg 93.7 lb / 42.5 kg
Weight with Stand (70" Model) 83.8 lb / 38.0 kg 106.9 lb / 48.5  kg
Weight without Stand (80" Model) N/A 135.6 lb / 61.5 kg
Weight with Stand (80" Model) N/A 156.5 lb / 71.0 kg

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Great value