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JVC LT-47P789 LCD HDTV Print E-mail
Monday, 01 December 2008
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The Downside
The LT-47P789 exhibits some common LCD issues. This TV does not use 120Hz to reduce motion blur and render smoother movement with film sources. With test patterns from my FPD Benchmark Software Blu-ray disc, the LT-47P789 showed obvious blur in most of the moving patterns, and I noticed some green trails behind characters in darker patterns. I’ve seen other LCDs that exhibit more blur; still, if you’re sensitive to blur, you will likely see it in faster-moving sports and action programs on this TV. As with many LCDs, the JVC’s viewing angle is average; the picture is watchable at wider angles, but it loses a lot of depth and saturation when you move just 45 degrees off axis.

The LT-47P789’s black level isn’t as deep as you’ll see in the better high-end LCD panels, so the picture lacks that extra depth and richness that accompany a truly deep black. Especially with DVD and Blu-ray content, blacks are gray, and darker scenes can look slightly washed out. Plus, the screen-uniformity issue I noticed with test patterns, in which the outer edges of the screen are brighter than the middle, was evident with darker DVD demo scenes from Ladder 49 and Lost: The Complete Second Season (both Buena Vista Home Entertainment). More problematic than the overall black level are the TV’s floating blacks. When dealing with scenes that are mostly dark, like the smoke-filled rescue in Ladder 49 (chapter 10) and the opening of The Bourne Supremacy (Universal Home Video), the LT-47P789’s ability to show fine black detail is average; however, when both bright and dark images are on screen at the same time, black detail is consistently crushed. For instance, in a scene from Heroes on NBC HD, one character’s face was slightly in shadow, with a bright light behind it. All of the fine details in the face (which were evident on my reference display) were crushed. This issue isn’t as pronounced with brighter HDTV shows that use basic lighting, but it takes on greater significance when we’re talking about DVD and Blu-ray movies with lots of rich, complex shading. These black-level, uniformity, and shading issues make it difficult for the JVC to compete with higher-end panels as a true theater display.

More so, I sometimes noticed a ghosting effect, in which traces of images would remain on the screen. After I ejected one of my Silicon Optix test discs, I could still see a trace of the SI logo on the screen. In the final scene of a C.S.I. episode, ghosts of the scene remained as the show faded to commercial break. This isn’t a plasma TV, so it’s not a phosphor issue that can lead to burn-in. It looks more like the TV’s processor is holding the image, so the traces do go away when something new is put up on the screen. Still, it’s an odd issue that I’ve seldom seen to this extent with an LCD.

The LT-47P789’s HDMI inputs do not accept 1080p/24 signals. This used to be a common trait, but I rarely encounter a new TV that does not accept 1080p/24. Since the JVC can’t do different frame rates, like 120Hz, the ability to accept 1080p/24 isn’t as important. It does mean that, when shopping for a Blu-ray player, you need to make sure you get one that has good internal processing to output a 1080p/60 signal.

Finally, the TV doesn’t remember to stay in the full native aspect ratio with 1080i and 1080p content; for instance, if you turn off the TV or if you switch to a 480i or 720p channel and then go back to a 1080i channel, the TV defaults back to the full aspect-ratio mode. You have to constantly remember to switch back to full native, which is frustrating.

The idea of integrating an iPod dock into a TV makes perfect sense. However, in this case, neither the TV’s performance nor the TeleDock implementation is as good as it could be. Both are solid offerings, but both have some definite flaws. The TeleDock can provide a better-looking image than an external iPod dock with S-video or composite video output only, it has a convenient integrated form factor, and it allows for basic control of your iPod with the TV remote; however, the onscreen navigation system lacks the flexibility and intuitiveness you’ll get from an external device like the Apple TV or DLO’s HomeDock products. As for picture quality, the LT-47P789 requires careful setup but can render an attractive image, with natural color, excellent detail, and good overall contrast. It’s not an ideal theater display, but the LT-47P789 is a solid choice for use as an everyday or second-room TV, especially for someone who watches a lot of HDTV. If we go strictly by the $2,199.99 MSRP, the LT-47P789 must compete against higher-end 120Hz models that offer better all-around performance; however, the real-world price is closer to $1,500, which is more realistic for this TV’s performance and features.

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