While it's no secret that prices keep dropping on flat-panel TVs, the good value and excellent picture quality offered by microdisplay rear projectors continue to drive innovation in that category. Case in point: the new JVC HD-58S998 58-inch HD-ILA 1080p HDTV, one of a new generation of "slim" rear projectors. The front-to-back depth of this LCoS-based HDTV measures an astounding 10.8 inches, and although it's not the first trimmed-down RPTV to hit stores, JVC's design is unique.
Typical rear projectors bounce the image off a pair of flat mirrors - the first one small, the second much larger - to project it from the DLP, LCoS, or LCD display chips in the TV's base up to the screen. This usually results in a deep, slanted back whose size and angle correspond to that of the second mirror. But JVC's clever use of a concave mirror in the base allows a reduction in the size and angle of the second mirror. The result: a super-thin RPTV with a flat back that can even be hung on a wall with an optional mount (TS-CP01WG, $400) or placed flush to the wall on its pillar-style stand (RK-CSLM8, $500).
Cosmetically, the effect is something special, especially combined with the super-thin black bezel around the screen that gives the TV a floating effect. Then there's the high-tech blue power indicator with its rippled rectangular lens and light-up JVC logo (fortunately, you can reduce the brightness or turn it off in the TV's menu).
The primary jack pack is placed on the right side-panel of the TV's shallow, rec-tangular cabinet - again, to facilitate wall mounting - and hidden by a lid that preserves the seamless look. Here you'll find two 1080p/60-capable HDMI connectors and two ganged component-/composite-video inputs, plus an RF input for the built-in tuners. The front convenience input, meanwhile, features a VGA computer connector, for once placed up front where it rightly belongs.
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