JVC has not just provided separate memories for each input (video settings) but also separate memories for each scan rate. If you change the output of your set-top box from 1080i to 720p, a completely new set of video settings will be called up, so go back and recheck all of your preferred menu settings and adjustments.
HD viewing in DYNAMIC MODE could make your jaw drop, so powerful was the impact, but it didn't take too much of that mode for me to tire of its excesses and inaccuracies. STANDARD MODE was somewhat less intense, though still plagued with noise and artifacts, but I always liked pressing the THEATERPRO button on the remote, which made this set look much more like the best displays I've seen. If it's not bright enough for you, just raise CONTRAST. My main quibble about this set's HD was a subtle lack of resolution that kept reminding me that I was watching TV instead of the real thing. DVD viewing was a mixed bag.
While I was able to get a good overall picture, I couldn't help noticing some problems, especially if I watched upclose. DYNAMIC and STANDARD MODES were absolutely unacceptable. Both showed severe video noise, artifacts, and edge enhancement with DVDs. THEATER MODE (using the THEATER PRO button) was far freer from noise; still, getting a reasonably smooth, clean picture required dropping DETAIL to minimum. Even set this way (and with either a 480i or 480p source), there was subtle intermittent video noise as objects started or stopped moving. From typical viewing distances, this was fairly difficult to see. Even though 3-2 pulldown (turned on via the NATURAL CINEMA button) worked effectively and the built-in scaler/deinterlacer tested O.K., I still preferred watching DVDs with a good progressive scan player, but avoided 480p when using the HDMI input due to restricted video bandwidth and resolution.
On the plus side, the set's relatively accurate grayscale calibration yielded dark scenes with very little unwanted color tint. On the minus side, however, the set's high black level significantly hurt detail in all dark scenes. Overall, while there are better sets for dedicated-dark-room home-theater applications, the JVC still had appealing smoothness, impressive brightness, and good color rendition. Digital (ATSC) tuner reception capability was just slightly below average for recent sets I've tested. Standard-definition picture quality was good, if just a bit on the soft side. Tuning was slow. Color rendition was quite good.
Maximum undistorted light output on the HD-52G786 was 300fL on a 100 IRE window and 285fL on a full white screen. Black level was 0.18fL—one of the highest I've measured but subjectively about like the current Sony Grand Wega sets. Maximum full-on full-off contrast ratio was a fairly high 1666:1, but that counts only if you run the set as bright as it will go, which is too bright for most conditions. ANSI contrast was 140—low but not as bad as some other LCoS products I've tested, whose blacks suffered terribly when any bright object appeared on the screen. Contrast ratio in THEATER MODE with default settings (100fL) was 555:1.
Color temperature in THEATER MODE measured 6800K on bright patterns going slightly bluish (8000K) as dark gray was approached. Since blue will gradually weaken as the bulb breaks in, this set's grayscale calibration could come close to the 6500K ideal with a few hundred hours of use. This measured color temperature remained consistent with all inputs and scan rates—commendable. Directly compared to a fully ISF-calibrated display, the differences due to grayscale calibration errors were small. Other modes (DYNAMIC, STANDARD, GAME) measured much cooler (over 10,000K) even if LOW color temperature was selected—yet another reason to avoid these.
The focus test pattern from the Sencore generator didn't fare too well. Part of this was due to a slight misconvergence of red, green, and blue which showed up as color fringing across most of the screen and part to lack of resolution. Multiburst patterns demonstrated this showing high frequency rolloff in video bandwidth— worse with HDMI than component. Darker test patterns showed a significant amount of video noise. If your settop box allows it, set its output to 720p instead of 1080i.
Primary colors red and blue were reasonably close to HDTV standards but green, as with most microdisplays, was oversaturated and slightly yellowish (.287/.683). The color decoder was fairly accurate with only 10-15% red push.
With so many various technologies available for big screen TV these days, the buyer needs to know the strengths and weaknesses of the ones he's considering. With the JVC HD-52G786, the obvious strength is light output. For viewing in a brightly lit room, this set has no equal. Monday Night Football in HD could knock your socks off. For watching movies in a dark room, there are better choices; the set's high black levels are painfully obvious with many movies in a dark theater environment. Other aspects of the JVC's performance were good (though not outstanding) and fairly competitive with DLP and LCD rear-projection models, though my review sample, which suffered from a bit of color fringing across the screen, was just a tad down on HD resolution compared to other sets. Nonetheless, if you want a really bright picture with good color, computer capability, and a full lineup of features— look no further.