PICTURE QUALITY After a thorough calibration for DVD sources (see "in the lab"), I slipped the Starsky & Hutch disc into my DVD player to see how the JVC performs in the real world . . . of 1970s buddy-cop TV-comedy remakes. One of the set's strengths revealed itself quickly in the rich colors of the cheerleaders' practice scene. As the two "stud" cops watched (or drooled) from the sidelines, the sunlit blue, yellow, and orange pastels of the cheerleaders' skimpy outfits were vibrant, and the girls' faces (from pinkish pale to deeply tanned) looked natural.
After I adjusted the brightness control, the deepest blacks - like the corners inside Huggy Bear's club - didn't look as dark as they would in real life. Still, dimly lit scenes looked clean, with no obvious gradations.
Next up was HDTV. Using an over-the-air tuner, I watched the New York Giants vs. the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The colors really popped, and the synthetic FieldTurf looked amazingly grasslike - its claim to fame.
Watching a nature show on cable's Discovery HD Theater, I could make out individual whiskers on the black African leopards, and blades of grass in the field where they roamed looked so real that I wanted to reach out and pluck them.
BOTTOM LINE The biggest weakness of the JVC is that, like its DLP-based cousins, it can't produce absolute deep blacks. On the other hand, you can make the set bright enough to watch in a fully sunlit room. Its three-chip design means you never have to worry about the "rainbow effect" sometimes seen in single-chip displays using color wheels. The design must also contribute to more accurate color - the set performed superbly in that respect. While some other manufacturers have been unable to make the new LCoS technology work, JVC seems to have gotten it right.
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