With LCD TV prices taking a nose dive, it's still satisfying to see big name brands dipping their toes around the £1,000 mark, as this 32-inch offering from JVC testifies.
We've still a right to be suspicious though: you can't help but wonder what's been lopped off in terms of features, performance and overall picture quality to make such a wallet-enticing price. In this case it looks like precious little, provided you lower your expectations a little.
The JVC LT-32DS75 looks neat enough and would sit nicely in any contemporary living space. While it won't win any style awards (the facia has a bit of a plastic feel), the angles and curves work well with the stylish black inner frame.
Connections are adequate: one HDMI and two Scarts (both RGB-capable) here. One HDMI isn't unusual at this price point, but we've seen LCDs from lesser-known companies provide two HDMIs (or at least an addition DVI socket) on sets that cost less. Other things worth mentioning include dedicated component video jacks, the set's PC compatibility and the CAM slot, which flag the presence of a digital tuner (which has the standard seven-day electronic programme guide).
The presence of JVC's proprietary DynaPix HD picture processing is a welcome sight. This system delivers a cornucopia of picture enhancement trickery, including MPEG noise reduction and detail boosting scaling using Digital Image Scaling Technology (DIST). Super Digipure is on board too, for boosting contrast levels. Considering these processing systems are normally only found on more expensive TVs, this JVC is setting its stall out nicely.
No grain, no texture
The set's colours are pleasantly vibrant, with high brightness levels and natural skin tones (once you've sorted out the factory presets) on display.
Pictures from the 2001 test DVD are free from grain and dot crawl, and the black levels are deep enough to render the Discovery spaceship convincingly adrift in a black void, albeit with a slight blue tone.
Whites, like seen in the interior space station shots, are crisp and bright and edges look crisp.
Unfortunately, there's a lack of sharpness: this is even the case with our high-definition viewing of Planet Earth, lacking the texture that is experienced on the best LCD TVs out there. There's also some low-level motion smearing on the loose, but its not distracting to the point of being unwatchable.
Sonically the LT-32DS75 puts in a pretty good performance. Loud volumes can be delivered without distortion, the soundstage is reasonably wide and dialogue is clear enough. Ligeti's eerie music that accompanies the encounter with the monolith on the moon's surface is well rendered by the LT-32DS75.
Whenever there's real density in a sound mix, things can get a little muddy and harsh, which serves as a reminder of the price of the set.
Overall, there are no real accolades laid at the LT-32S75s door, except one: its price is superb for a 32-inch LCD TV from a major brand (and the set can be found even cheaper online). Overall performance is somewhere in the above-average to good realm and is sorely tempting for a flatscreen hunter on a tight budget, although there are better sets out there.