Now in third generation form, JVC’s TeleDock TVs are just the ticket for iPod or iPhone owners who want to watch videos, listen to audio tracks or look at photos on the big screen.
Consider this HDTV if: you’re an iPod or iPhone owner and want to watch videos, listen to tunes or look at photos on the TV without the hassle and expense of an external dock.
Look elsewhere if: you’re interested in internet/LAN connectivity and streaming video as the current range of JVC TeleDock TVs don’t yet offer this functionality.
Overall picture quality (SD): 7
Overall picture quality (HD): 8
User interface: 7
Obviously, the JVC’s built-in dock that’s compatible with most iPod types as well as the iPhone is the key differentiator here. The dock is hidden behind a flip-down front panel at the bottom center of the set, and the owner’s manual shows compatibility with a wide range of iPod models, including Nano, Classic and Mini types, in addition to the iPhone.
The dock can be used when the set is on or off. Plugging in an iPod or iPhone when the TV is off automatically activates the TV’s internal power supply, in order to provide the necessary DC charging voltage to the device. Operation couldn’t be more straightforward—just plug your iPod or iPhone into the dock, and hit the iPod button on the TV’s remote control.
In addition to the 46” set tested here, JVC offers 32” and 42” TeleDock models. All three are equipped with 120 Hz refresh, which JVC brands as Clear Motion Drive, and there’s a split screen demo mode that lets you evaluate the smear reducing effect (it’s most noticeable on scrolling text, such as a movie’s end credits).
There are three HDMI inputs, as well as a component video input, an S-video input and two composite video inputs and a PC input. From that complement of inputs, one might infer that the set can handle up to eight sources, but that’s not the case, as the analog video sources are either/or choices, limiting connection of legacy video components to just two. A USB port on the side panel allows photo viewing and MP3 music playback.
The JVC is equipped with a crisp OSD, short on graphics, but with highly legible text. The various picture adjustments feature a wide adjustment range (up to 100 steps), and as each adjustment or picture option is called up, there’s a reasonably cogent explanation of what that adjustment or function is for. They also stay on screen longer than usual, which is helpful when making picture adjustments and assessing the visual changes.
Where the set needs improvement is in the time it takes to switch between sources. Going from one HDMI input to another is downright leisurely at best, and the switching time is much slower than with models from some of JVC’s competitors.
Dressed in plain Jane cosmetics, the remote control won’t win any awards for industrial design, but with white text on black plastic, the labeling is quite legible. There are direct input buttons for the five (three HDMI and two analog) sources, with a dedicated iPod button as well as the main power button at the top of the remote.
In addition to two dedicated status buttons (one for video and one for sound), there’s an aspect ratio button to expand or shrink the picture when necessary, which comes in handy when watching videos from an iPod or iPhone, as the set provides Mini 4:3 and Mini 16:9 modes. Those modes shrink the image size down from full screen to about half size, which helps sharpen up highly compressed videos that would look too fuzzy in full screen mode.
Even with the preferred THEATER picture mode, the set’s overall brightness is way over the top. Turning the backlighting down to one fifth of the maximum helps tame things, and ensures blacker blacks (with the default STANDARD mode, the excessive brightness causes deep blacks to be rendered with an obnoxious bluish tinge). The color saturation is also somewhat excessive with the factory setting, and is also easily fixed by turning it down.
Picture Mode: Theater
Color Temp: Warm
Motion Adaptive Dynamic Gamma: Off
HD size (1:1 pixel-to-pixel): Full Native
Smart Picture: Off
Color Management: Off
Digital VNR: Low
MPEG NR: Off
Natural Cinema (3:2 pulldown): On