JVC LT-32DE9BJ £600
17th Nov 2008 | 10:12
JVC sacriﬁced Full HD for a Freeview+ PVR in its LT-32DE9BJ
The JVC LT-32DE9BJ has a couple of distinct advantages over its fellow contenders.
One is price – it's the most affordable among many of its rivals thanks to some aggressive retail discounting – and the other is an integrated 160GB hard drive with full Freeview+ PVR functionality.
If it all seems too good to be true, you won't be surprised that there are some compromises too.
The design is functional, so there's no illuminated branding going on here, and it's an HD Ready rather than Full HD panel with a resolution of 768 horizontal lines. It is still compatible with 1080i signals though, and has three HDMI inputs, one located at the side.
There's no USB interface, or a VGA socket for your computer. You might be able to connect a computer via HDMI, but you'd have to choose a compatible display mode.
It comes supplied with a table stand as standard, but it can also be wall-mounted with a bracket. The onscreen GUI is far less sophisticated than that of, say, the Sony, and it looks clunky with its low-resolution icons, but it's easy enough to negotiate.
Dual channel recording
The JVC's PVR, made by Humax, has twin tuners, which means you can record two channels at the same time.
If you try and schedule a third that clashes, the set automatically seeks an alternative screening of that programme, if it can't find one it will then ask which one you want to scrap. There's a handy 8-day EPG for lining up your recordings and enough room on the 160GB HDD to store a few days worth of programming.
The Freeview+ specification, meanwhile, means all manner of useful options are available, like Series Link and Split Programme recording. The Freeview broadcasts look a little soft, but the recordings are faithful.
Impressive HD performance
The JVC's image is at its best with DVD and Blu-ray.
A 720p video signal from my PS3 playing Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End platter shows the JVC at its best. It can't quite match its 1080p rivals for detail and doesn't make any big claims about its modest contrast ratio, but it still presents an impressive HD video signal.
It's a shame that standard-definition fare and even JVC's own menu graphics look so unfocused in comparison.
Audio comes second
Sonically the JVC LT-32DE9BJ is limited by its miniscule speakers. They are enough to fill a modest room, but don't expect musicality – the mid-band is way too muddled for that. It's worth trying out some of the audio processing though. Turning on the Hyper Sound processing will give the treble and bass a useful boost.
The JVC LT-32DE9BJ isn't the best set in terms of picture or sound quality - the 768-pixel resolution screen puts an upper limit on the amount of HD detail and the onscreen graphics look distractingly low-res - but add in a very slick PVR and it becomes a much more tempting proposition, especially at this price.
I suspect that families in particular will love using this set.