With the credit crunch still biting hard it seems a bit crazy for JVC to be launching a 42in LCD TV costing £2,000. But the company is confident that its LT-42WX70 has got enough going for it to justify such a lavish price tag, and we're inclined to agree.
The most immediately obvious feature is its slender design. Its leathery covered frame is just a few centimetres wide, and the whole set doesn't protrude much at the rear.
Intriguingly, though, the optional desktop stand holds the TV quite a long way forward from a rear pole mount, seemingly running counter to the slender chassis concept.
The reason for this becomes clear when you realise that the set doesn't carry a tuner inside. Instead, JVC is making optional, ultra-slim external tuner/media boxes to accompany the screen, and these are designed to slot neatly between the screen and the recessed mount and stand.
The firm's grand plan is to offer a series of different media box options with various feature combinations. So the first box available, the TU-CX100, offers HD digital and analogue terrestrial tuners, but in future there should be options offering a hard disk recording/digital tuner combination and a DVD/digital tuner combo.
This sort of 'bespoke' feature flexibility largely explains the TV's high price, and makes it a genuinely premium model likely to find favour with the custom installation distribution channels.
The 42WX70's extreme flexibility further supports this. Among the countless picture adjustment options is a huge list of colour adjustments, a gamma adjustment, two noise reduction routines, plus white balance adjustment. What's more, each TV is individually calibrated to the video-friendly 2.2 gamma setting at the factory.
Yet another unusual feature of the 42WX70 is its colour range, which supports the entire RGB/HDTV colour spaces, and 96 per cent of the Adobe RGB colour gamut. This latter accomplishment makes the TV uniquely qualified for viewing digital SLR photographs.
With such strong picture processing as JVC's redoubtable DynaPix HD, plus 100Hz rounding off the 42WX70's pretty extreme feature list, the only slight let-down is that we were unable to secure a CX100 tuner box for our review, so we'll have to rely on our Blu-ray/Sky boxes, connected via the three HDMIs carried on the screen.
Ease of use
Considering how many features and tweaks the 42WX70 carries, its operating system is actually quite slick. But if you want to get the best from it, you will need to spend a little time getting to grips with the somewhat forbidding picture adjustment menus.
REMOTE: JVC's remote isn't quite as fancy as the bespoke tuners, but it does the job
Since the vast majority of what we've got to say here is good, let's get the bad news out of the way first. The 42WX70's pictures are susceptible to LCD's motion blur issue. The problem is seldom bad enough to be really distracting, though, leaving you generally free to soak up all the pictures' numerous good points.
As hoped, the 42WX70 does pack a punch with its colours. They're extremely dynamic, eye-grabbingly vibrant, natural in tone, and subtle too when it comes to small shifts in tone and blend.
The 1,920 x 1,080-pixel pictures are also superbly sharp and detailed with HD footage, revealing with scary accuracy every last pixel of information from favourite Blu-rays.
In some ways, even more striking, though, is how sharp standard-definition material looks, thanks to the DynaPix HD engine's impressive talent for upscaling without introducing any significant processing noise or softness.
The 42WX70 excels, too, with its black levels; the screen portrays dark scenes with a naturalism and sense of depth that's matched by only a small handful of other standard LCD screens (leaving aside the LED-backlit ones that further plumb the depth of blacks).
The 42WX70's pictures also look bright, devoid of video noise and processing side effects, and are simply JVC's best flat TV pictures to date. In fact they are some of the finest we've seen from anyone.
The 42WX70's audio comes from a speaker 'bar' that can be attached to the screen's underside. While this bar doesn't deliver the sort of power or clarity you'd hear from a decent third-party speaker bar, it does at least outgun the majority of speakers built into ultra-slim TVs, particularly when it comes to bass.
Couple the 42WX70's performance standards with its exquisite design and extreme feature count and flexibility, and it really does look worth its £2k asking price. Especially given its target custom installation market.
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