Just being a plain old TV isn't nearly enough these days. The JVC 32DE9BJ won't just show you Freeview, it'll record as well.

Freeview features

Not only that, it has a full Freeview+ specification. This means its built-in recording talents meet a series of essential criteria, including support for at least an eight-day EPG; series link support so that the TV will automatically record all episodes of your favourite programmes; the ability to update schedule changes even when in standby and the ability to spot and record an alternative showing of a broadcast if there's a time conflict.

A decent 160GB of HDD space is provided for the Freeview+ recordings, and this JVC can handle two channels at once.

Better still, we find that the 32DE9BJ records the Freeview digital bitstream, which promises recorded pictures that look identical to the original broadcasts.

The only slight disappointment is the sets inability to record any analogue sources.

Mighty spec

When it comes to connections, the 32DE9BJ is distinctly hit and miss. For while you get a healthy
three HDMIs (bearing in mind that you don't have to use any of those for a PVR), you don't get any real multimedia support – not even a dedicated PC D-Sub jack.

Its key screen specifications are also underwhelming: a 5,500:1 contrast ratio sits alongside a native resolution of just 1,366 x 768 pixels. But don't forget that this TV's focus is on Freeview, and therefore on standard definition, which normally upscales better to an HD Ready resolution than it does to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

Reinforcing the 32DE9BJ's Freeview focus, the set can't in fact play the 1080p/24fps format served up from Blu-ray players, or any 1080p format at all, come to that.

The final piece in the 32DE9BJ's feature jigsaw is its DynaPix Plus image engine, which works on improving detail, colours, and contrast, although it's not as high-powered as JVC's more advanced DynaPix HD engine.

The modifications JVC has had to make to its remote control to accommodate the 32DE9's combi functions are reasonably well introduced, and its onscreen menus are pretty tidy and uncluttered, making for fast, no-brain usage.

Sharper pictures

We absolutely love the 32DE9BJ's sharpness and detailing when showing HD images.

Every single pixel is gloriously presented with extreme clarity and that's no mean feat given the set's native resolution. This points clearly to the quality of the 32DE9BJ's DynaPix processing, which deserves congratulating for the clean way it downscales full HD pictures to suit its own pixel count.

Credit is also due for the way it upscales standard-definition pictures, leaving them looking notably sharper and cleaner, without adding significant levels of processing-related video noise. This is clearly a very good finding indeed on a television with a predominantly standard-def focus.

Also impressive on the 32DE9BJ are its colours. They're extremely vibrant and rich, but not to the extent that they don't enjoy predominantly natural tones.

There's yet more good news with the quality of the set's recordings, which look and sound to all intents and purposes identical to the original broadcasts.

Image blurring

In keeping with various other JVC LCD TVs we've seen, the 32DE9BJ has a tendency to add greyness to parts of the picture that should be dark, losing shadow details in the process, while also, occasionally, rendering some dark colours a touch unnatural.

Viewing the TV from an angle of around 40° or greater causes black levels to drop off quite severely, too.

The 32DE9BJ's motion problems are far less distracting, but there's still no doubt that some fast-moving objects suffer a little with the blurring problem that's still LCD technology's trademark flaw.

Dynamic audio

Considering the speakers on this TV look about as powerful as a Morris Minor, they actually sound pretty good.

Surprisingly high volumes can be obtained without excessive distortion or any cabinet rattles, film soundstages appear dynamic and involving, and trebles sound clear without sounding harsh. Only a slight bass shortfall prevents the JVC 32DE9BJ from earning full marks for its sonics.

Less than £600 doesn't seem very much to have to pay for a good, occasionally outstanding 32in TV that also happens to deliver exemplary Freeview recordings.