According to a NuVision press release, the company’s product line “addresses the home A/V specialist and custom install markets currently ignored or treated as a sideline by other manufacturers. NuVision offers an excellent performance/ value ratio with selective distribution, which is something that the A/V specialist and CEDIA channel desperately needs.”
Giving the specialty market something it “desperately needs” is a worthy goal. The question is, has NuVision developed a product that gives you something you desperately need?
The company currently offers four HD-ready LCD flat-panel models, measuring 23, 26, 32, and 37 inches. In this review, I’m going to evaluate the 37-inch NVX37HDU, which lists for $3199.
All four of NuVision’s sets are widescreen models with 1366x768 resolution. These sets are HD-ready, which, in this case, means they contain a single NTSC analog TV tuner but no built-in digital tuner.
The NVX37HDU features a “Deep Black” LCD panel with top-notch specifications. At 8 milliseconds, the panel’s response time is fast enough to prevent streaking or light trails during fast motion.
Given its price point, the range and implementation of the NuVision’s picture adjustment functions is a bit disappointing. First, there are four aspect-ratio settings—4:3, 16:9, Panorama, and Zoom—but only the 4:3 and 16:9 modes can be selected when using the VGA or DVI inputs or when watching 720p or 1080i signals via component.
Second, there are three color-temperature settings, but these are only selectable for the VGA and DVI inputs. This turns out to be a nonissue, because of the three settings, only WARM comes close enough to the D65 standard to be of any use, and that’s the setting you get when viewing all the other video inputs.
Third, the COLOR and TINT controls are both available only for the S-video and composite-video inputs. The component inputs lose the TINT control, and the VGA and DVI inputs lack both controls, which is unfortunate given the tendency of these inputs to oversaturate certain colors.
Although well built, the NuVision’s cabinet isn’t likely to win any design awards. The remote is equally unassuming, being small, black, and unlit. On the plus side, it does have dedicated buttons that allow direct access to all the inputs and aspect ratios.
The onscreen displays and menus are straightforward and fairly easy to navigate. But I was a bit nonplussed to discover that the full menu display remains onscreen while you are adjusting a video parameter. You can work around this by moving the menu window about the screen.
I happened to install the NVX37HDU into my home theater just in time to catch the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics. The Nu- Vision’s bright, sharp, and generally artifact-free picture immediately drew me into the action.
Watching the various events on NBC-HD over the next two weeks, I was greatly impressed with the set’s ability to handle rapid motion without the slightest evidence of lag or trailing ghosts. And its light output was prodigious; if you are looking for a set that can be enjoyed in brightly lit rooms, this one should be on your list.
There were plenty of bright colors to be seen in the Olympics, which the NuVision portrayed very well. Skin tones were generally excellent, too. In fact, my only complaint about the set’s color reproduction has to do with its greens, which were overly intense. This became obvious when watching natural landscapes, where the green foliage “popped” more than it should have. But the effect was nowhere near as bad as the outrageous lime greens and yellows displayed by some early DLP and plasma sets.
Turning from the brilliantly lit Olympic venues in HD to the darker and more subdued lighting of movies on DVD revealed the NuVision’s Achilles heel: the set had washed out blacks and reproduced little in the way of shadow detail.
One of toughest tests I know of for black reproduction is the first few chapters of The Bourne Identity DVD, which take place on a boat at night. A lot of important action happens in these very dark scenes, but hardly any of it could be discerned when its black level was set correctly.
Most LCD flat panels have problems dealing with dark material, but I expected better from the NuVision given its price point and the company’s claims. There are other LCD sets out there now that can provide equivalent or better black-level performance for the same money or less.
I can definitely recommend this set to a sports fan who will be watching during the day or with some room lights on. Furthermore, the video processor is superb, so yard lines and court markings are smoothly rendered without jaggies. Sadly, I would have a hard time recommending this TV to a cinephile, as the ability to handle black can make or break a movie.
In the final analysis, the NuVision NVX37HUD offers exemplary performance in many areas, but its blacklevel performance is only average. It also lacks features found on several less-expensive competitors, such as an HDMI input and an integrated HDTV tuner with CableCARD slot. If the NuVision suits your intended application and you can get a killer deal on one, great. Otherwise, well, need I say more?