JVC LT-32DS6BJ £2000

30th Sep 2005 | 23:00

HD-ready and super-stylish - is this another JVC winner?

TechRadar rating:

5 stars

A top performance from a stylish and future-proof set

JVC's latest range of LCDs has produced some of its best sets yet - the brand's 26in model, for example, received a rave review from us a few issues ago. So we were understandably excited when this living room-friendly set, the 32in LT-32DS6BJ, landed on our test bench, especially as its stylish design - black screen surround, glowing blue LED and discrete below-screen speakers - suggests it means business.

This impression continues with the JVC's features. The highlight is the HDMI input and native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which ensures the set is fully ready for Sky HD, while there's also a digital tuner - a handy extra that any modern set worth its salt should offer. There's a good selection of other hookups - including component an a PC input - and JVC's DynaPix processing, to purportedly ensure images are amazingly detailed and coloured, with great contrast.

Easy does it

Happily, the LT-32DS6BJ is easy to use. An automatic channel scan on the digital tuner takes just a couple of minutes to find and arrange all the channels, while on-screen menus are thoughtfully designed. Picture tweaks include two for brightness, and you can also switch most of the set's fancy processing (from that DynaPix suite) off.

Flicking through the Freeview channels, we were immediately impressed. Digital tuner footage often causes big problems for LCD technology, but on the JVC any programmes shot on a reasonable budget were crisp and rich in colour. There was little sign of image noise either - particularly surprising with such a low-bitrate source.

Fighting fit

Things got even better when we gave our Gladiator DVD a spin via the component video inputs. Bright outdoor scenes, like those set in the colosseum, boasted vibrant and accurate colours, and the myriad of hues seen in the crowd, the fighting gladiators, the sandy arena and the blue sky all looked incredibly natural and real.

Complex scenes like this also revealed LT-32DS6BJ's great fine detail response, with every person in the crowd well defined and every beat of sweat on the gladiators' glistening skin clearly visible in close-ups.

We do have one small criticism, and it's something that trips up LCD technology time and again - black level response. The JVC's ability to produce blacks is certainly better than that of the majority of LCDs, and dark scenes from our DVD - like those in the tents near the movie's start - were still very watchable, but deepest blacks aren't quite solid enough, and subtle shade variations can sometimes become indistinguishable.

High-def footage from our D-VHS machine showed all the JVC's strengths already mentioned, only more so. With stunning detail levels, it simply looked more 'real'.

Audio is better than from many screens of this size. Gladiator boasts a demanding soundtrack for any speakers, but the JVC provided plenty of oomph and detail.

With a great all-round performance and HD compatibility, the only reason you could possibly have for not buying the LT-32DS6BJ is its price. There are cheaper 32in LCDs out there - but whether you'll like them as much as this one is doubtful.

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