tl:dr: Basic TV features OK. Built-in speakers suprisingly OK. More advanced features available but kludgy. Giant bandwidth hog - can be remedied
This set is replacing a low end 40 inch Aquos display, 40D68UT. I wanted a newer display with ARC support as my constellation of TV, disc player and media streamer is a PITA for everyone in the house but me. Also, I hadn't tried Roku before - I didn't particularly want a smart TV but the price for this set was good - a high quality display in this size is substantially above 300, at this price point I wanted a decent display and a chance to try using ARC for fairly simple mode changes between broadcast TV, Netflix, Amazon and local medai. Worst case, I figured, I'd just keep current constellation of stuff going but on a larger screen.
Initial impressions: Fit and finish of the set is poor. There's a large gap on the upper bit of TV which appears to result from sloppy assembly. That gap doesn't affect the display itself, which is fortunate.
Display quality is pretty good. It's as good as or better than the low end Aquos. (I have them side by side just now being fed the idential input.)
Display setup is awful. Each input type and each input are independent. If you don't want to use the canned presets (movie, normal, etc.) but change the values for your viewing room, your changes apply only to the instance of the preset value for the input type and input you worked on.
Example: I customized the "Movie" setting for the BR input on HDMI 1. While working on ARC, I moved the BR over to HDMI 2. Selected "movie": for BR on HDMI 2 - and my customizations weren't there. Reconnect to HDMI / BR device and they exist there.
So it'd by potentially 3 HDMI times 4 preset settings at minimum. Take careful notes if you start customizing!
Roku platform: Meh. It's like a ton of "aboveground" XBMC/Kodi addons.
However, the Netflix and Amazon interfaces are very nice, nicer than on the android TV boxes.
The Roku Media Player - the one that's supposed to let you play your local files - won't read files from the XBMC instance, which is too bad. My years-old WDTV Live Plus can do that The Roku can pull them off my NAS in some cases, though. It seems unable to work with most of the video on the NAS, although the FLAC audio works - if and only if you navigate to the filer itself, rather than to the nicely laid out indexes built in Kodi.
But, Roku is mostly intended as an internet streaming rather than a local streaming service. I have decent connectivity, about 30 mbps in. And by default, the Roku chews up 2/3 of that. No thanks, Roku! Fortunately, the Roku players can be tamed:
From the Home screen, use the following sequence to access the “Select a speed…” screen:
Home 5 times
Rewind 3 times
Fast Forward 2 times.
I set my device at 2.5 mbps. Video looks OK to me, audio is still in multichannel mode, and I'm using a max of about 6mbps for the Roku, not 20-25 mbps.
That multichannel audio via ARC - it works a fair amount of the time, but BOY am I glad I have a Logitech Harmony remote to get it working as an activity. With the Harmony, I am able to configure an activity that has the TV as the video source and the correct input chosen on the Oppo - something I can do by hand without seeing the Oppo screen, but which is not something I want to try explaining to anyone else in the house - and another activity that has the Oppo set up as the video source with my Kodi box chosen as its input.
The Roku on this Sharp is not able to tell what formats my player supports. It is only seeing that the Oppo supports stereo, when in fact the Oppo HDMI supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, AAC, up to 5.1ch/192kHz or 7.1ch/96kHz PCM.
I can manually tell the TV what audio formats are supported. So far, if I choose a DD+ format, I get no audio, and the apps sometimes lock up - Amazon Video, NBC News.
I've had the TV spontaneously reboot after a problem in Amazon and in NBC News.
For now, I'm telling the system to use dolby digital and DTS, getting multichannel some of the time and seeing infrequent lockups.
Far more often, I'm seeing the ARC signal time out if I switch between Roku modules - I'm guessing that the Roku gets too busy to reply to handshake requests at times and the sync drops. I can remedy this by hitting the "TV" activity button on the Harmony, or by reselecting the ARC/CEC input on the Oppo.
That said, if I weren't trying to output audio via ARC, I'd like the set more - the picture quality overall is decent, the Roku interface is pretty fast, although Roku itself is a bandwidth hog.
I'm not sure why I'm seeing so much enthusiasm for Roku in the trade press, though. The bit of it that I use most are Netflix and Amazon, and many, many smart TVs, disc players, game consoles and streaming boxes have both nowadays. Even the amazon Roku app has crashed several times in 24 hours. Netflix has been more stable, but the rest of the applets and stream sources are pretty underwhelming. there's apparently no guidance from Roku on what the interfaces should look like, so everyone makes up their own. So far as I can see, at this point XBMC/Kodi is a more robust platform than Roku - Roku is prettier on the surface, but in actual use, more unstable. I learned that at the correct price point, though, of free - when the set is on sale, you're not paying a premium for Roku and can in fact reset the TV and never connect it to the internet, using only the TV and HDMI inputs for viewing.
But at $300 - about half of what I paid for the old set - I have a noticably larger, reasonably good display with acceptable built-in speakers. As a completely stand-alone device with a fast internet connection or an added Kodi stick for accessing the LAN, this isn't a bad piece of gear.
I would not buy or recommend a stand-alone Roku streamer after this experience, though, and wish that non-smart TVs were still available in middling to large sizes. I also would not recommend this set to anyone wanting to use it to watch locally stored movies or listen to locally stored music unless they already have a good way of doing those things.
Fine set for watching TV and Netflix on its own, though, and would do fine with a conventional stereo setup (stereo output jacks on the system) and might do OK for an audio system with an SPDIF input. ARC is a dog's breakfast, and I knew that going in. I don't have a way to make use of the digital audio output as of now (though I'm looking into an SPDIF to HDMI converter) so it is my only route to getting the audio back to my outboard system.