You used to need to turn to projection technology if you wanted a really huge screen for movies, sporting events and more. Now, LED sets with stunning screen sizes -- and sometimes stunning prices -- are beginning to appear. One hard-to-miss example is the 90-inch Sharp LC-90LE745U (*Est. $10,000). Home Theater Magazine was the first to review the set and saw a TV with decent picture quality but serious shortcomings when it came to 3D performance.
If the $10,000 street price is a bit steep for you, the 80-inch Sharp LC-80LE632U ($4,500) is another consideration. It's not exactly inexpensive in its own right, but delivering a screen size this big in an LED TV for less than $5,000 is considered to be quite the achievement, some experts say. Picture quality is good, but not great. One issue with this set (and the LC-90LE745U) is that off-axis viewing is fairly poor. With a screen size this big, it's tough to find a seating position where at least some portion of the screen will not look a little washed out, unless you are sitting a good distance away. Internet streaming is on board, and features include Aquos Live Help, which lets Sharp's customer support reps help you get your set looking its very best -- even giving them the ability to remotely access set controls and configure accessories attached, via HDMI. There's no 3D, but given the performance of that feature on the bigger LC-90LE745U that's probably no great loss.
If the sets above are out of range of your wallet and your available wall space, Sharp also offers the LE640U series. While the smallest size in the series -- the 52-inch LC-52LE640U (*Est. $1,200) -- faces some stiff competition in terms of value and performance, the 60-inch LC-60LE640U (*Est. $1,500) and 70-inch LC-70LE640U (*Est. $2,500) are among the least expensive sets you can find in their respective (and still pretty big) screen sizes. These TVs are geared more for family or Super Bowl party viewing than for the eagle-eyed gaze of demanding videophiles, but picture quality is still fairly good. These TVs are also better than average performers in well-lit rooms, such as family or living rooms. Again, there's no 3D, and Internet streaming is missing some important partners, such as Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant, though most content types are well covered. Aquos Live Help can be a life, or at least sanity, saver if you run into challenges setting up your TV to look its best or getting it to play well with the rest of your home theater.