The dock on JVC's LT-P300 series of LCD TVs provides a well-designed and easy way to enjoy iPod and iPhone content in the living room.
JVC LT-P300 series overview
The Apple iPod phenomenon has invaded not only your ears, but also your car, your home audio system, and now your television. JVC's LT-P300 series is one of the only TVs on the market designed specifically to work with iPods and iPhones, allowing you to charge your iPod and play back music, videos, and photos via the TV. JVC's integrated dock goes a step beyond the dongles and docks found on AV receivers like the Pioneer VSX-1019A-HK and TVs like the Panasonic TX-LX1 series, because it actually folds out from the front of the TV itself, for a seamless integration that should please convenience-conscious Apple fans. The looks of the television do not hew to the company's strict design cannon of flat planes and rounded corners, but given its decent picture quality and good-enough feature set, that's probably the only thing that will deter folks seeking the most Apple-friendly TV available today.
The easiest way to access iPod content is to hit the "iPod" button on the TV remote, which brings up a simple menu system that allows navigation to all of the iPod's normal music categories, including artist, album, song, genre and composer, as well as audio books and podcasts (although it doesn't display cover art). There's a shuffle option right on the main menu that shuffles all of the music on the iPod. Videos get similar category treatment: movies, music videos, TV shows, video podcasts, and rentals. Dedicated transport keys on the remote let you pause, rewind, and fast-forward videos and music.
The remote itself is a large affair that we liked for the most part, mainly because of the direct input selection keys and plenty of separation between buttons. We're not fans of the dual rings of identical-size buttons around the main "OK" button, however, since they're easy to confuse; we pressed "back" instead of the right cursor button, for example, on numerous occasions. The clicker can command four other pieces of gear, but it's not illuminated.
Picture settings are also quite basic, starting with the four adjustable picture modes that are the same across input types (so the Contrast setting, for example, is the same in Theater mode for all three HDMI inputs) as opposed to independent per input. We did appreciate that they all fit on one screen, however.
Overall, the LT-P300's picture quality was about average for an LCD, and should raise no major red flags for less critical viewers. It delivered good black levels, although color and shadow detail could definitely be better.