Sharp Smart Central TV Review
by Jack Burden
Sharp's Smart Central featured apps selection
Sharp's Smart Central is not the most robust of the Internet TV suites but it has most of what you need. Vudu Apps saves the day for Sharp Smart Central Suite by offering some pretty good free Apps through that service. Otherwise, it would have been a scant offering.
The small Smart Central button on the remote gets you directly to the Internet TV settings. The menu that pops up initially includes Vudu HD Movies, You Tube, Hulu Plus, Cinema now, Aquos Advantage Live (support), Vudu Apps, Netflix, and then scrolling right one time provides access to a web browser, FilmFresh, Skype, USB Media Input, and Home Network. That last one is the favorites section which will change per your choice.
Vudu Apps – Provides links to TV shows such as TrueBlood, CNBC, Nova, Discovery, flickr, CBS Nightly News, Facebook. The following Apps are provided through the Vudu Apps App:
CNBC App that's free through the Vudu Apps platform is basically clips from the TV show so a very worth App. There is a list of stocks which can be edited and selected on-screen while watching the clips. Rating 4.5 out of 5.
Discovery – Short Clips from Discovery about 30 of them in all. Rating 2 out of 5.
A pic of the Discovery App
Today – Clips of the Today that experienced an error and would not load. 0 out of 5.
Picasa – 1000 featured Photos on the big screen – unfortunately in 4:3 format so therefore not that great to make your TV a piece of wall art (the TVs aspect button will not stretch). Some of the photos are nice though. Rating 3 out of 5.
A shot from Picasa
New York Times – Selections of provided current videos and interviews but unfortunately they do not provide dates so your not sure whether the news you are watching is current. Sound volume is poor. The videos are well segmented into different categories like politics, business, world, us and so on and it does give you a chance to catch up on latest news areas – just not today's necessarily. Rating 3 out of 5.
A shot from the New York Times App
Ted Talks – The highly rated channel of speeches by thought leaders in a vast array of areas. Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
CNN Daily – Rough in quality and the latest video was from 3 months prior. Rating 0 out of 5.
Nightly News (CBS) – Brian Wiliams' nightly news program one day delayed. Rating 2 out of 5.
Sharp Smart Central Web Browser – Not really a Web Browser
A shot of the Sharp Central Web Browser which is not really a Web Browser
We include the web browser because it is normally included in the Smart TV suite. Sharp makes certain to have a large ad for the products listed there. After painfully typing in your search term through the diminutive browser keyboard, click “Done” and then the word you've labored to type in appears in the search bar top right. But your still not done, you must then scroll right to the magnifying glass and again press enter to conduct your search. Then an annoying pop up screen appears “Foresee” asking you to give customer feedback (I'm giving mine here). A few clicks get rid of it. But wait, you're still not done, now you are on a Sharp search page where that your search term has been transferred. You must again click the seach button. It took 5 clicks to get there. Disappointingly, we got 0 results for the term “lcdtvbuyingguide.” Ups. But wait, this is Sharp's proprietary search engine – let's try “Google.” 18 results came up, all PDFs related to Sharp. All with Sharp titles. I'm starting to feel deceived. The first PDF would not open as the MIME type not supported. But wait, isnt this Sharp's search engine. They cant even open their own results? You guessed it, same for the other 17 results. OK, you've guessed it by now – the built in web browser is utterly useless and worthless.
Disappointing results from the Web Browser
Here's what gets me though, when going to the Smart Central options and accessing the web browser there is a screen that pops up that states, “Enjoy the freedom to access the whole Internet on your TV with the embedded web browser. Visit your favorite web sites while watching TV. No need to use a PC with a small monitor.” That's the exact quote! What a joke. How disingenuous. What a sham. It's similar to Sony's proprietary “search”. It gives us joy to have something so obviously flawed to pick on.
Sharp Central Overall Rating: 6.5/10