I’m a bit late to the 4K scene, as the price point was a bit intimidating for someone who writes about video games for a living. However, it’s an inevitable step one has to make in this day and age, and there are some great options for mid-range and budget 4K screens out there. The Sharp LC55LBU591C is the latest offering in the company’s line of moderately priced Roku televisions. Retailing for $999.99 CAD and only available from Best Buy, the model is a solid bang for your buck screen that won’t destroy your bank account.
Jumping right into the important details, the following are the specs as listed on the Best Buy website.
- 55″ LCD LED screen with 4K Ultra HD resolution delivers exceptional picture quality
- HDR (high dynamic range) brings out unparalleled detail in every frame
- 60Hz refresh rate, 5000:1 contrast ratio, and a 6.5ms response time
- Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB, coaxial, composite, component, and HDMI connectivity
- Pre-loaded with Netflix and YouTube apps
- DTS studio sound
The TV is incredibly easy to set-up and even my mother had no trouble navigating the screen once it was turned on. A simple and easy to use to remote is included with the TV, but the Roku remote app for your phone works just as well. You can choose your various inputs and lock them to whichever device you like, and switching from one to the other is as simple as hitting the home button and clicking on the relevant menu item. Various audio and visual settings can be tinkered with from there, for those of you who want to ensure the best picture quality in any medium, and those settings remain for each individual input.
Want that HDR and low-input lag for your PlayStation but a better, if slower, setting for Netflix? Easy peasy. All the options are there, from brightness and contrast ratios to colour range and motion-smoothing, so the finicky AV nerd in your house will be pleased with the best picture quality for any medium. Watching Planet Earth 2 in 4K made me feel like one of the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark—my face nearly melted. The HDR colours pop and the LED backlight allows for deep dark blacks and I didn’t notice any significant glare, but watching it in a dark room was definitely the better option. There also weren’t any discernible issues in regards to viewing angles, although in all fairness my living room is pretty small and the couch and chairs face the screen on a pretty straight angle.
The big selling point for this particular model is the built-in Roku feature that allows for 2500+ streaming channels. We mostly used Netflix and Shudder, but come this winter the NHLTV app will also be getting a lot of use. For those of you with little ones, there are a ton of different options available for children’s shows so you can grab those 15 minutes of rest while Paw Patrol plays in the background for the 564th time. Switching between the apps is smooth and seamless, and the wireless capability never lagged, even when streaming 4K content. Gone are the days of running Netflix through my Chromecast or my laptop. I might be a bit late to the game here as this is a feature of most Smart TVs from the last few years, but I can’t imagine going back to anything else after this.
Of course, for our readers, the question of “how does it fare with gaming” is the most relevant issue. For home console use, the response time and resolution are fabulous, and while there are definitely better TVs out there, they will be 3–4 times the price. Playing Destiny 2 was my basic benchmark and holy moly, was I ever missing out playing on a smaller, 1080p screen. There is an option to increase picture quality at the cost of increasing input lag, but to be quite honest I didn’t notice a huge improvement in the visual department and for twitch-shooters or fast-paced games like Diablo 3, keeping that input lag as low as possible made a bigger difference for me.
The Sharp LC55LBU591C is a solid purchase for the price point. Getting a 55” 4K HDR screen for $999.99 is a pretty good deal, and while there are better offerings out there, expect to pay at least twice the price. The built-in Roku app works flawlessly, and the range of available channels and options is huge. The picture quality is great, response time is excellent, and the blacks look fantastic for an LED/LCD. If you’re looking for a mid-range decently priced 4K TV for streaming and games, you can’t really go wrong with this model.
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Brendan Quinn’s work such as his look at the relationship between comics and Hip-Hop, why the Witcher 3 was not as great as everyone thinks, and or which historical stories he thinks should be made into videogames!
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