Out-of-the-box performance of the JVC HD-56FN97 was better than many high-end RPTVs after we simply selected Theater Pro mode and Low color temperature, the best starting point for those concerned with getting optimum picture performance. We also reduced the Iris control all the way. For our full user-menu picture settings, click the Tips & Tricks link above.
Overall color accuracy was a bit of a mixed bag. The grayscale still appeared distinctly minus blue, or slightly greenish, in Low mode, although after professional calibration, it was much improved. Grayscale tracking was decent (see the geek box), and color decoding was excellent with no red push whatsoever. Where the JVC is weak is in the area of primary and secondary color accuracy. In particular, the primary color of green looked way too yellow, making grass and other common green objects appear overly punchy or limey in color.
Video processing is reasonably good with 2:3 pull-down available in the Natural Cinema feature. We tested both the HDMI and component inputs for 1080i resolution and found that both delivered all of the resolution. The HD-56FN97 handled the 1080p output from the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player without a problem via its HDMI inputs.
Black-level performance is one area where JVC has made some major improvements. The HD-56FN97 delivers deep, rich blacks, and that contributes to a significantly higher real-world contrast ratio. For black level testing, we used the excellent transfer on HD-DVD of Unforgiven. The opening scenes in which the crime is committed take place at night in a dark saloon. There was ample shadow detail, and blacks were rendered well although, when directly compared with the excellent Panasonic TH-50PHD9UK plasma in these scenes, the JVC fell a little short. Bright outdoor scenes looked really solid. Color saturation was excellent, and skin tones looked exceptionally natural.
Chapter four from the HD-DVD version of Training Day appeared remarkably sharp. In fact, this scene may be one of the best examples of just how good the HD-DVD format can look. The JVC definitely does it justice with awesome clarity and realistic color reproduction.
We hooked up a PC to the JVC's VGA input and the results were disappointing for a TV with 1920x1080 resolution. The maximum resolution the TV would accept was 1024x768, and even then the image didn't take up nearly the entire screen. We tried a few widescreen settings with no luck; the only other resolution that worked via VGA was 640x480.
|Before color temp (20/80)||5800/6100K||Average|
|After color temp||6425/6925K||Average|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 464K||Good|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 236K||Average|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.647/0.330||Good|
|Color of green||0.280/0.702||Poor|
|Color of blue||0.142/0.052||Average|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|2:3 pull-down, 24fps||Yes||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|