Sharp is a big name in TV. It always has been.
Sharp was the first to manufacture and sell Japan-made TV sets back in the 1950s. Sharp has broken the record for the largest ever LCD TV time and time again and Sharp was the first ever company to create a commercially available 8K TV.
Its sets may not be the go-to TVs that they once were back in the day, but they're out there and available for sale in both the UK (Currys) and US (Best Buy) and at prices tempting enough to turn your eyes from big (and pricier) TV brands like Samsung, LG and Sony. If it’s panel inches per pound/dollar that you’re after, then look no further.
Sharp TVs are 4K, HDR-supporting and fitted with the very popular Roku TV platform in the US. But of course, buying a TV is about much more than just specs. So, should you buy a Sharp TV or shouldn’t you?
It's worth noting that if you're buying a Sharp TV in the US right now... you might not actually be buying a Sharp TV at all. The Sharp Corporation of Japan sold its rights to make and sell TVs under its name in the Americas (apart from Brazil) to Chinese TV company Hisense back in 2015 when Sharp was in considerable financial difficulty. So, for now and for the last few years, if you’ve bought a Sharp TV in the US, you’ve really bought a rebadged Hisense.
In May 2019, though, under new Taiwanese parent company Foxconn, Sharp had financially turned itself around enough to buy back those rights from Hisense and Sharp-made Sharp TVs are expected to be back on sale in the US since the end of 2019.
Whether Hisense-made or Sharp-made, here are the Sharp TVs currently on the shelves...
Best Sharp TV deals US
Sharp LC-50LBU711U 50in 4K TV
$330 $300 at Best Buy
A 50in 4K HDR TV with built-in Roku giving owners built-in access to the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Prime Video. A scorching deal – perhaps Best Buy's best!
Sharp LC-55LBU591U 55in 4K Roku TV
$340 $380 at Best Buy
A 55in 4K HDR TV with built-in Roku giving owners built-in access to the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Prime Video.
Best Sharp TV deals UK
Sharp 4T-C50BJ4KF2FB 50in 4K HDR TV
Freeview Play, 3 x HDMIs, HDR support and, most importantly, 50 inches of screen real estate for just £269 - this Sharp TV is hard to ignore. It's not one we've tested but worth a look on price alone.
Sharp 4T-C55BJ4KF2FB 55in 4K HDR TV
The same TV as above but in the 55in size. You'll be hard pushed to find a 55in TV as cheap elsewhere.
Are Sharp TVs any good?
It’s important to preface this by saying that we’ve not reviewed many Sharp TVs at What Hi-Fi? over recent years and all the advice we have to offer is based purely on specs, design, on-paper features and our vast experience in the TV sector.
Looking at the Sharp TV website, there are certainly some very interesting Sharp Q-series sets out there. The Q8000U, Q7500U, Q7000U and Q600U TVs are 4K sets, with HDR10 and (depending on the range) Dolby Vision support, all with smart TV platforms of one type or another and built-in Google Assistant voice control. Note that these are still 2018 models and are only sparingly available in the shops.
Instead, the main focus for the US market are the more mid-range Sharp Roku TVs which come in sizes between 24in and 58in, priced between $99 and $550 and stocked mostly by Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon.
For the UK, the Currys selection is, again, focused on the budget end of things with the BJ3, BJ4 and BJ5 4K TVs but, at the time of writing, it's only the BJ4s which are in stock. There are also BC5, BC2 and BE0 HD Ready sets as well as the Full HD BG2.
The final Sharp TV alternatives are available for UK Costco members who can pick up one of two Sharp TV models.
Should you buy a Sharp Roku TV?
The plug-in Roku streaming devices became so popular in the US that some TV manufacturers started hard-baking the smart TV platform directly into their sets, negating the need for owners to buy a separate streamer. Integrated Roku TV means direct access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes on popular US services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, CBS and Sling TV.
You’ll still need to subscribe to each of these services separately, but there are also apps on the platform with free content like YouTube and Crackle as well as pay-per-view media too. With a clean, simple interface and such a complete platform for content, it’s an understandably appealing offer.
TCL, Hisense and Sharp are the major brands selling Roku TVs and, of course, for the time being, Sharp’s Roku TVs are made by Hisense anyway. For more information on Roku TV, head to our dedicated deals page.
Sharp LBU591U 4K Roku TV (US)
The Sharp LBU591U Roku TVs are exclusive to Best Buy in the States. Available now for $340 (55in), it offers many more screen inches when compared pound for pound with the more recognised brands like Samsung and Sony. It has wi-fi, three HDMI sockets, a USB input and support HDR too. You can cast your mobile screen onto their displays, and while they’re not voice activated themselves, you can send them commands via an external Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device.
If you’re in the market for a 55in Roku TV, you may come across the Sharp LC-55LBU711U at Best Buy as well. It’s currently priced at $350, a touch more expensive than the 55in Sharp LBU591U above, but offers no competitive advantage on paper.
Sharp LB601U HD Roku TV (US)
The Sharp LB601U Roku TV, again, mainly available at Best Buy, is a step down in resolution to a Full HD 1080p display. The specs are otherwise similar to the 4K models above. They still have wi-fi built in, they work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and feature three HDMI sockets and a USB input.
They're currently only available as open-box models but that brings some possibilities of real bargains. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind that to upgrade to the 4K models is only a matter of a few dollars at the 50in size and - a relatively small price to pay for four times the pixels and HDR support.
These Full HD TV aren't such a terrible deal at this price, though, but watch out, though, because even though the 24in and 32in Sharp LB601U TVs seem like a steal at $100 and $120 these two smaller sets only have HD Ready 720p resolution.
Sharp Q7300U series 4K Roku TV (US)
The Sharp Q7300U series of 4K TVs is the one member of the company's Q-series that does come with the Roku TV platform built-in (the Sharp Q7000U and Q7500 series do not). The bonus here is that they’re HDR-compatible and come with a beefier twin 10W speaker set-up.
They come in the form of the 58in Sharp LC-58Q7330U, as stocked by Walmart. It features Sharp’s Motion Rate 120 motion-processing technology, claims a superior processor for better HD upscaling and a noise reduction filter to help with that upscaled content.
At $224, the Walmart LC-58Q7370U is an excellent deal but is currently out of stock.
Sharp BJ4 Series 4K HDR TVs (UK)
The easiest to find and pretty much the best of them in terms of Sharp TVs in the UK right now, the Sharp BJ4 Series are 4K sets which come in a choice of 50in (£269) and 55in (£319) sizes, offering plenty of value on paper. They support HDR10, come fitted with plenty of ports, Miracast for screen mirroring and the Freeview Play tuner and catch-up services combo. Plus there are apps from the usuals like Netflix, YouTube, Deezer and Amazon Prime Video.
They're direct-lit LED models, which may provide a decent level of consistency across the panel, and Harman Kardon has been called in to tune the TVs' 2 x 10W speaker system. There are certainly no glaring omissions on the feature and specs lists and these seem like reasonable bets although you might wish to take a look at our best TVs under £1000 selection for something tried and tested.
Sharp BC2 & BC0 HD Ready TVs (UK)
It's not easy to find a small TV these days but these two HD Ready Sharp TVs certainly provide an option. The £199 Sharp 1T-C24BE0KR1FB is a 720p set that comes with the bonus of a built-in DVD player and that turns it into something very competitively priced. It also still comes with Freeview Play and both catch-up and streaming services.
Sharp 1T-C24BE0KR1FB 24in HD Ready LED TV/DVD Player £199
Small and seriously compact, this TV/DVD player combo still has all the mod-cons of more mid-range sets with streaming apps, wi-fi and screen-sharing options.
SHARP 1T-C32BC2KE1FB 32in Smart HD Ready LED TV £250
Not one we've tested but it's a reasonable price for a reasonably sized TV. Obviously, there's no disc player included this time but there are still all the smart features to enjoy.
The other small size option at Currys is the 32in Sharp 1T-C32BC2KE1FB. It's another 720p set but with no DVD player built-in this time. It does get the Harman Kardon-tuned 20W speaker system and there's still all the apps and services included. There aren't too many options at this size. All the same, it feels like there's better value to be had elsewhere.
In fact, you could spend just £50 more and get the Sharp 2T-C40BG2KE1FB - a 40in 1080p TV - instead.
Sharp TVs at Costco (UK)
There are two TVs available at Costco and the big draw on paper is most definitely the 70in Sharp LC-70UI9362K. However, as appealing as all that screen seems for that price, this is one of the few Sharp TVs we've had in for review in recent times and we weren't particularly impressed. Try something like the Samsung UE75RU7020, currently on sale at Richer Sounds, instead.
Sharp LC-24DHG6131 24in HD Ready LED TV/DVD player £150
Only available to Costco UK members, it's as cheap as you'll find for an LED TV with a DVD built-in. It's decked out with Freeview Play and a healthy sounding smart platform with enough space for a couple of HDMI ports.
Costco UK's other Sharp TV looks a little more promising. At the other end of the size scale, the Sharp LC-24DHG6131 TV/DVD player combo appears a good match for the set above at Currys but at a more favourable price.
Without testing many of Sharp's older or newer models, it's tricky to categorically recommend a Sharp TV. At the time of writing there has been no refresh of the brand’s TV range.
But with technology, it’s all too easy to focus on the latest and greatest. When looking at a budget TV, it’s important to bear in mind what you do get rather than what you don’t. By and large, the current crop of Sharp TVs appear decent value if you pick the right one. The Roku TV access is a welcome feature and you get a lot of screen estate for your money. There are caveats, however.
We'd check the TV's price tag against the price of a similar sized Samsung or LG. If it’s close, you might want to consider one of these latter two brands because of their recent pedigree. It doesn’t take much research to see that Hisense’s customer support is wanting and that its sets don’t match for operational consistency with the big Korean manufacturers.
Also, while the Roku TVs are good, if you're not fussed about this feature, you might want to entertain a Sharp TV that doesn't have it. There are some decent value options in the UK with the TV/DVD player combos and at the 50/55in sizes. All the same, if you can buy from a store which offers a comprehensive returns policy, then so much the better.