Sharp Aquos Quattron Plus HDTVs – An Inside Look
Earlier this year at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Sharp Electronics introduced its new Aquos HDTV’s with Quattron Plus Technology. Sharp offers this new technology as a less-expensive alternative between standard 1080p and 4K Ultra HD TVs, and is available as the Aquos Q+ 15U and 17U series. The 17U adds a few more features.
Let’s make one thing clear… these TVs are 1080p and not 4K models even though they can accept a 4K signal. The 4K images on these displays are produced using two different techniques: (1) by actually up-scaling a 1080p signal to 4K which doesn’t create more picture resolution, only more detail. (2) And by Sharps special video processing and picture pixel splitting which allows these sets to except 4K signals, however it will not be a native 4K image.
Sharp claims their Q+ technology increases picture detail by adding subpixels. Let me explain more: On all TVs, the image is made up of tiny dots called pixels. Each of these pixels is made up of three subpixels: one red, one green and one blue, which in turn produce a TV’s picture image. So for a standard 1080p display this means 6 million subpixels. Sharps regular Quattron TVs added a fourth yellow subpixel, for a total of 8 million subpixels. Now, Sharps new Quattron Plus Technology takes those 8 million pixels and divides them in half for a total of 16 million subpixels. This technically allows the Q+ TVs to produce more picture detail.
Does adding more subpixels actually increase picture quality? The short answer is yes. I recently had the opportunity to view (side-by-side) a Sharp Aquos Q+ LC-70UQ17U and a Sharp Aquos Q LC-70EQ10U. In my experience, I could see a small but noticeable increase in picture detail on the Aquos Q+ 17U set in comparison to the Aquos Q 10U set. This detail increase was more apparent on animated content than with live action content.
So does this increase in detail make these TVs a better option over a true 4K Ultra HDTV? In my opinion no. 4K TVs still deliver a better image than Sharp’s Q+ TVs. However, they can and do provide more picture detail than some lower to mid cost standard 1080p TVs, but this also comes with a higher price tag over their cheaper 1080p counterparts. My personal preference would be to go with a less-expensive top-performing 1080p model if I wasn’t ready to make the jump to a 4K TV.
The increase in detail of Sharps Q+ series does come with some picture drawbacks such as some loss in vertical resolution according to some industry experts.
In conclusion, Sharp’s Q+ technology does increase picture detail but not substantially over some standard 1080p displays, but cannot match the performance of true 4K displays. If you are considering purchasing an Aquos Q+ TV, I suggest you have a look at one at your local electronics store for a demonstration and evaluation before making your purchase.
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