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JVC HD-61Z575 HD-ILA HDTV Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2005
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Testing DVDs
Using my reference Adcom DVD player on the 480p component output into the TV, I spun up the superbit version of “Spider-Man 2” (Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment). All the days of torment of trying to figure out how to improve the standard definition picture from my satellite were soon forgotten. When you play a disc with an excellent transfer through a high-quality transport, the JVC model really shines (remember my statement that this TV is highly source-dependent). The black levels still are a little underwhelming at times, but in scenes like the runaway subway train sequence. where Spider-Man fights Doc Ock as a commuter train is barreling towards the end of a dead-end track, the ability for this TV to make you feel like you are back at the movie theater is spectacular. I noticed no motion artifacts in this fast-paced scene and small details, like Spider-Man’s webs attaching to buildings along the sides of train tracks as he attempts to stop the runaway train, are spectacular.

  In “Star Wars: Episode Two – Attack of the Clones” (20th Century Fox), when Yoda finally shows off his light saber prowess, I was fearful that the black levels in the dark cave scene would not live up to my expectations. After Count Dooku handles Obi Wan and Anakin, Yoda enters the scene and his bright green lightsaber absolutely lights up the room. As he begins flipping around the room at warp speed, this TV/DVD player combo was so accurately able to reproduce the movement that I again felt transported back to Mann’s Chinese Theater, where originally saw this film. The only hints of video processing problems appeared when the cave starts crumbling and a very dark pattern between the cracks showed a touch of video noise on the edges of the cracks and the aforementioned gradient issue was slightly apparent.

I did not have an HDMI output DVD player at the time of this review. However, the concept of having a direct digital connection available straight from the DVD player to the TV is an exciting one. I learned during the calibration that the fine details are significantly cleaner on the HDMI input of the TV, with all of the test patterns being rock solid except for the very finest at the top of the frequency list. Unfortunately, the TV only has one HDMI input on the back, so some kind of switching system, whether through a receiver, AV preamp or dedicated outboard box, will be required for me to run both my satellite receiver and DVD player when I add this to the system.

Testing HDTV
When I want to wow friends with my TV, I cue up some scenes from the 2003 horseracing epic “Seabiscuit” (Universal). Red is an important color in this film. From the bright red hair of Toby Maguire’s character Red Pollard to the red racing silks of Charles Howard’s stable to the dark red of Seabiscuit's coat, the quality and richness of the colors are where this three-chip technology really stands out. As Red Pollard rides Seabiscuit across an old bridge and around the property of horse owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), the green grass, autumn leaves and blue sky make for a sensory overload that I have never seen on a DLP or anything less than the best plasmas.

On ESPN’s HD broadcast of the show “Tilt,” an original series about three young hotshot poker players vying to take down a Vegas card shark known as the Matador, the resolution of the TV is so good that you can see clearly see the makeup and any imperfections on the actors’ faces. Makeup artists are going to have to step up their game as TVs and HDTV feeds get better and better.

“Tilt” is very dialogue-driven and much of the action takes place in dark hotel and card rooms. The SD version exhibits some awful black level problems. However, this is markedly improved on the HD broadcast. Having caught a glimpse of “Tilt” on a next-generation JVC standalone projector costing $13,000, where the black levels and internal video processing are even further improved, it made me wish just a little that I had waited for this technology to trickle down into the next round of rear-projection TVs. However, other than a few times where an actor in a dark suit blends a little too much with the background, the HD61Z575 is able to make watching a show like “Tilt” a truly engaging experience.

Sports on the HD61Z575 are outstanding. I have had a chance to watch some football games on the competing Samsung next-generation DLPs and I always got the sense that the screen was flickering slightly. It’s a subtle phenomenon that some people are not bothered by, but the picture on the three-chip HD-ILA is much more stable to my eye, especially during fast-moving sports like football and hockey. It is rumored that video guru Joe Kane’s tweaking will make it into the next generation of Samsung DLP rear-projection sets, but it is hard to even guess when they will be in stores. The JVC is ready for delivery today from local dealers and authorized Internet retailers like

I was pulling hard for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX and, despite being highly disappointed by their devastating three-point loss, I was able to blow my guests’ minds with Fox’s HD broadcast of the big game that was beamed into my system via an attic-mounted antenna. I watch all of my HD in the fully digital mode through the HDMI input and the only signs of video noise that I ever notice during a good-quality football broadcast from Fox or CBS is an occasional flicker on the white yardage lines when the camera takes the sideline view. Slow-motion replays and the other camera angles that typically zoom in closer show astounding detail and clarity. You could see bits and pieces of grass fly up and running backs make cut moves on the field. During instant replays with my Dish Network PVR, I have a much better chance than the referees of making the right call, rewinding and slowing down the plays on the screen of the JCV HD61Z575.

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