|JVC HD-61Z575 HD-ILA HDTV|
|Home Theater Rear-Projection HDTVs HD-ILA Rear-Projection HDTVs|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 01 March 2005|
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I have almost no regrets about owning this TV. However, I can see after living with it for almost half a year that there are some pretty major improvements that can be made. Having only a single HDMI input on the TV required me to order a $250 HDMI switcher box, which will allow me to run a DVD player with an HDMI out, as well as my HD satellite receiver. I could get around this problem by running either the DVD player or the satellite receiver component into the TV, but after seeing the quality difference between the pictures when using HDMI vs. component, I don’t want to live with this option once I get my HDMI output DVD player. They both look great, but as the video calibration test patterns proved, the picture was markedly improved on the HDMI input of the TV. HDMI switching in receivers is slowly becoming a more viable option, but I like the idea of switching the video directly on the TV to avoid having to degrade the signal by looping it through a receiver or AV preamp. There are times I just want to watch TV and not have to turn other stuff on, so two direct HDMI inputs would be a huge improvement.
The lack of ultra-high-end video processing that manifests itself if some black level issues and the dark to light gradient issue are small sources of contention that I have about this set, but the solid picture, great color balance and lack of rainbow effect compared to DLP sets still leaves me satisfied with the overall performance of the TV in HD mode. I will flat-out say that the standard definition satellite signal on this TV is still a little disappointing. The TV is taking a 480p signal and is scaling it up to fill the screen. The larger a TV is, the more source-dependent it is. When the incoming signal is native 720p or a higher resolution like 1080i that is scaled back down to 720p for the TV, the picture can be absolutely stunning. As you move down the line to the smaller TVs, including the 52-inch model, you’ll find that that standard definition signal improves. This is purely due to the fact that the image is not being stretched as far. Also, if you are going to put a 61-inch TV in your living room, you are going to need to be able to sit at least 11 to 13 feet away from the screen, if not farther. You might find a TV this large to be too big for your room, so think about the size in advance. I am sure Faroudja reps will be making a call to JVC in Japan after reading this review to pitch their excellent internal video processor technologies. If my set had Faroudja’s video processing, I am certain it would be much better on SD sources.
Since this is essentially a projector in a fancy box with a screen attached, turning the set on and off isn’t like turning on a tube set. It takes almost a minute to power up and, when turning off or unplugging the TV after it has been used, it must activate the cooling fan and properly cool off first. This may not sound like a big deal, but remember that you’ll want to get some kind of battery backup system to protect the bulb from getting too hot should the power go off and the cooling fan becomes inactive. I can easily live with these little quirks, but I have found that some people are a little put off by having to wait so long for a TV to turn on. APS has some cost-effective solutions. However, the best solution I’ve found is to run a $2,000 Audiophile APS Pure Power AC regeneration device with full battery backup. Either solution allows the set to survive a power outage without fear of damage to the expensive bulb. In my case, I borrowed a Richard Gray’s RGPC 400s from Audio Video Revolution publisher Jerry Del Colliano and used that with pretty nice results. The easiest way to see the differences was to power the set down and watch without the RGPC. You could see discernable differences in the black levels. Nevertheless, I need some level of battery backup beyond the RGPC, which I will add soon.
Video calibrator David Abrams made an interesting point about shopping for TVs that really makes a lot of sense. When modern displays are properly set up and calibrated, they all look pretty damn amazing. In the end, there are subtle differences and all of them do certain things better than others, but the real deciding factor is if you like the aesthetics, the number and type of inputs and the physical size. If black levels are more important than rich accurate colors, you might consider a DLP. If size is an issue and you need a TV flush-mounted on the wall, plasma and the larger LCDs are what you should think about. We are still far from the day when the ultimate display is in the budget of the average consumer. At just a shade over $3,000, you don’t get a perfect set with the JVC HD61Z575, but in the right conditions, your friends will think you have the best-looking TV they have ever laid eyes on for the price. And they would be right.