|JVC HD-61FN97 HD-ILA HDTV|
|Home Theater Rear-Projection HDTVs HD-ILA Rear-Projection HDTVs|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Saturday, 01 September 2007|
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In a world of rapidly growing HDMI-equipped sources, having only two HDMI inputs is too few. Satellite receivers, DVRs, Blu-ray players, HD DVD players, DVD players, and the upcoming XBox Elite are all potential HDMI sources. Due to the lack of HDMI inputs on my set, I installed a PureLink HS-42A, a killer device that has alleviated the problem. However, ultimately, I would have preferred to be able to plug all of my HDMI sources directly into my TV and do all of my video switching there.
The fact that the set lacks HDMI 1.3 inputs is a bit of a bummer, too, but it’s hard to pick fault with this, because very few, if any, TVs have this feature yet. HDMI 1.3 is touted as having the huge advantage of being able to carry the bandwidth necessary for a new technology called Deep Color. In layman’s terms, this increases the amount of colors available on a TV from millions up to billions. The increase in available colors decreases the annoying visual anomaly called contouring. Contouring occurs on video when a color moves from dark to light, such as the glow around the afterburners of an airplane that is facing the camera. The transition from dark to light may involve billions of different shades of a color and, if the TV can’t fully resolve these transitions, then the result will be ringed “steps” as the color goes from dark to light or vice versa. Very few TVs have this feature, so it’s hard to knock it for not having this, but the fact that my Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player does have the ability of playback in Deep Color mode makes me long for a monitor that has this ability.
The slightly inaccurate green sounded like a big problem when my calibrator told me about it, but the set gives enough color controls for a skilled calibrator to compensate for it. I think that is what might have given the set its over-vibrant picture, but by toning the overall color saturation down, the end result is a picture that makes me quite pleased. To some purists, this may be too big of an issue: inaccurate green is being compensated for by the other color settings.
My last gripe with the set is the fact that, although it has a tremendous amount of inputs, and there are four totally programmable video modes (Cinema, Game, Custom and Standard), each of the video inputs shares the same picture settings. If you used three or four different inputs on your TV and needed to tweak the picture a little for each of the inputs, you could simply assign one of the four programmable video modes to each of the inputs, but then it becomes a terribly confusing mix and match game. The previous model JVC I owned had its own set of four video modes for every individual input and would remember what mode I left it on last. Fortunately for me, all of my sources, from my HD Dish Network DVR to my Sony PS3 and Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD player, are all high quality and my calibrator found the happy medium with a setting on the standard mode that really doesn’t need tweaking. The way I configured my system was to have the standard setting for daytime viewing with lots of ambient light and the “dynamic” setting for when the room is darkened.
With the way that technology moves so quickly, any set you buy is going to be practically out of date the day you get it. Once the 30-day price match time period for any HDTV set you buy is over, I suggest you don’t look at prices of TVs for a while or you are going to drive yourself insane. With its recent price drops, the JVC HD-61FN97 1080p native set is one of the best "bang for your buck" big screen TVs out there right now. A new generation is coming along, but there aren’t enough radical leaps in technology with the upcoming JVC sets to give me buyer’s remorse.
Despite the slight inaccuracies of the color green in the set, a good calibrator can dial the set in so that only the most educated of eyes would notice any issues. The improved black levels in this generation of JVC sets is where the TV really shines compared to its predecessors. I think the picture and contrast of this TV set it apart from the similarly-priced DLP TVs I have seen and rivals the most expensive Mitsubishi and Samsung DLPs. What really sold me on it was a side-by side display with a Sony KDS-A2000, both playing a Blu-ray disc of Ice Age. I simply liked the sharpness and contrast of the JVC HD-ILA technology better.