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Sanyo DP65E34 LED TV Review

Deal of the century if you can abide a few flaws

$998.00 MSRP 65 in.
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The Sanyo DP65E34 (MSRP $998) is a super big, super cheap LED TV that's exclusive to Wal-Mart stores. There are no tricks and no fancy features; this is just the cheapest 65-inch TV of 2014 and nothing more.

The craftsmanship is low-quality, the software design feels sloppy, and the picture quality is rather poor, but for such a low price it's all pretty forgivable.

If you're willing to spend more, you can find TVs that outperform this Sanyo by miles, such as the 65-inch Samsung H6350, which is about $1,500 online. It's unlikely you'll find anything else below $1,000, however, so if big savings are your bread and butter, this Sanyo is worth checking out.

The Looks & Experience

Dim the lights.

The DP65E34 isn't a TV you want to feature as the centerpiece of a room. Black bezels and a simple stand put all the emphasis on the gargantuan panel, making this the kind of TV you'll probably forget about until you're watching it. The panel is slim enough that wall-mounting is likely the best option both functionally and aesthetically.

Sanyo-DP65E34-Front.jpg
A black bezels and stand design scheme puts all emphasis on the huge 65-inch screen.

Utility elements like on-set controls and video connections are tucked away on the TV's rear casing. There's a decent selection here: three HDMI inputs, a component/composite combo, analog and digital audio out, VGA (PC) in, and a coaxial jack for cable or antenna connection. Accessories include only a very basic infrared remote control, but that's all most buyers will need.

The panel is slim enough that wall-mounting is likely the best option both functionally and aesthetically.

As for extra features and software content, there's not much. While many TVs connect to the internet or have built-in apps, this Sanyo skirts those frills to save you money. The software includes basic adjustments for video and audio, and after initial setup you probably won't spend much time fiddling with settings. At-home calibrators will find a glaring lack of white balance or color tuner controls, unfortunately.

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The Picture

Great contrast is this TV's only redeeming quality.

For the price, no one expects this huge Sanyo to outperform the top-tier TVs on the market—and it doesn't. I measured satisfying black levels and very bright highlights, but they lose a bit of their appeal because the TV tends to gloss over valuable shadow detail. The DP65E34 is best featured in a room with at least some ambient lighting, as it produces overly bright shadow tones and puts too much emphasis on brighter picture elements.

I measured satisfying black levels and very bright highlights, but the TV tends to gloss over valuable shadow detail.

One of the biggest drawbacks I found was a narrow viewing angle. Consumers simply won't be able to watch from a wide array of positions, as the picture degrades quickly when you aren't front-and-center. This is something that interested shoppers should consider if they're buying for family movie night or plan to wall-mount the TV in a wide room.

In terms of color production, this Sanyo flies by the seat of its pants. Neutral shades like gray and white are tinted with a bit of blue, while colors like red and green are excessively luminous even in the Mild picture mode. The result is a color palette that's fine for cartoons or news broadcasts, but obscures much of the detail that make movies so enjoyable, especially in a dimmer environment.

Colors like red and green are excessively luminous even in the Mild picture mode.

Overall, don't expect a mind-blowing picture. You can probably enjoy most casual forms of viewing, but big cinematic titles or sweeping, narrative-driven video games will lose a lot of their valuable immersive qualities.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Sanyo DP65E34, take a look at these other televisions.

The Verdict

Less money, mo' problems

This Sanyo's pricing scheme would be unheard of one or two years ago. Securing a 65-inch, edge-lit LED TV for under $1,000 is a serious steal, but there are intense picture quality tradeoffs to be considered.

Any content that relies on a subtle presentation looks far from acceptable.

Stingy viewing angles, excessive luminance, and skewed colors mean any content that relies on a subtle presentation looks far from acceptable. On the other hand, Monday night football and Saturday morning cartoons are palatable, and you may forget about the missing details when you're basking in the glow of the massive screen.

If you want something better, pony up another $500 and check out either Samsung's 65-inch H6350 or Vizio's 65-inch M Series.

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