JVC has certainly lost market share in the LCD high-definition television market to heavy hitters such as Samsung, Vizio, and Sharp, but it continues to put out a full suite of 1080p and non-1080p HDTVs. The LT-47X788 is one of the less expensive 47-inch 1080p LCDs we've reviewed, and apparently JVC made some sacrifices--in the features department and in performance--to get to that price point. While the LT-47X788 isn't a bad HDTV, it faces fierce competition from the Samsung LN-T4661F and Sony KDL-46S3000, as well as from 50-inch plasmas, many of which can offer better features and performance for a similar price.
Like almost every LCD these days, the LT-47X788 features the fashionable, glossy-black bezel, accented by a thin strip of silver trim along the bottom. Next to the Toshiba 52LX177 and the Vizio GV42L, we felt the JVC fell right into the middle of the beauty contest; it looks more refined than the Vizio, but not nearly as slick as the Toshiba. Directly below the JVC logo is a small blue light that indicates the TV is on, and home theater buffs will appreciate the ability to turn it off completely.
The remote control for the LT-47X788 is pretty good. At the very top are five discrete buttons for selecting inputs, eliminating the need to navigate an onscreen input menu. There are rocker buttons for both volume and channel, although they are positioned horizontally, which is unorthodox and feels unnatural. In the middle of the clicker is a directional pad surrounded by high-traffic buttons like Menu, Favorite, and Aspect. The biggest misstep is the lack of backlight, so you'll have to navigate by feel in a darkened home theater.
The LT-47X788 is a 1080p HDTV, which means it has a native resolution of 1,920x1,080, enough pixels to fully resolve the detail of 1080i and 1080p sources. All other incoming resolutions, such as 720p and 480p, are scaled to fit the available pixels.
There are five different aspect ratio modes that work on HD sources (except 1080p sources). Full Native is the "dot-by-dot" mode that displays the full detail of 1080i sources, while the Full mode has some overscan for channels with interference on the edges of the picture. As we mentioned before, there is no aspect ratio control on 1080p sources, but luckily it is fixed in Full Native "dot-by-dot" mode. Of course we'd like aspect ratio control on 1080p sources, but there are only a few rare instances (like when upconverting a nonanamorphic wide-screen DVD to 1080p) where it would be useful.
The LT-47X788 comes with four picture presets--Standard, Dynamic, Theater, and Game--each of which is fully customizable. Theater mode, predictably, offers the best picture quality for dark-room viewing. The JVC does not offer independent input memories between the two HDMI inputs, so once you adjust a particular picture preset for HDMI input 1, your settings will apply to HDMI input 2. These settings do not apply to component video, although both component video inputs share the same settings.
Color temperature settings are limited to just high and low, with low looking more natural than the bluish high setting. As with most HDTVs, there is no ability to adjust primary colors. JVC offers a handful of additional picture quality settings, most of which are best left off. Dynamic Gamma and Smart Picture both adjust picture quality settings on the fly, so we turned those off. The exception was Color Management, which increased the saturation of blue when on, and was preferable to leaving the setting off.
The LT-47X788 also comes up short in conveniences, lacking extras such as picture-in-picture or freeze-frame functionality. On the upside, there's a USB port in the back that allows you to directly connect a digital camera or USB stick for photo viewing. We had no problem scrolling through a couple of photos from a USB stick.
Overall, the JVC LT-47X788 certainly has acceptable image quality, but it definitely doesn't measure up to the better-performing LCDs in its size range. For our comparison, we had the Vizio GV42L, Toshiba 52LX177, and Pioneer PRO-FHD1 on hand.
To start off, we adjusted the LT-47X788 to about 40ftl, which is our preferred light output for a darkened home theater. With LCDs, we usually like to turn down the backlight considerably, but with the LT-47X788 we decreased the backlight (controlled by the Energy Saver slider) by just a single click. While it's possible to get better black levels by decreasing the backlight further, this sacrifices overall light output to unacceptable levels. Even if you drop the backlight all the way down, it's still impossible to get blacks as deep as on the Toshiba 52LX177 or on the Sharp LC-52D64U; the JVC's black levels were better than the Vizio, however.
One of the more noticeable shortcomings of the LT-47X788 is its tendency to overaccentuate red in darker areas. While it did have accurate color decoding, and its primary colors were relatively accurate, color temperature in dark areas tended toward red. For instance, in Ghost Rider, Nicholas Cage spends a lot of time in the shadows, and he had a sunburned look that wasn't present on the other three sets we had on hand.
Screen uniformity was a big issue, as the left and right sides of the screen were noticeably brighter than the center (an effect sometimes known as "pillaring"). This is most noticeable in dark scenes, although you can see it pretty consistently in program material with letterbox bars. We honestly haven't seen pillaring this bad on any other HDTV this year. We also saw screen uniformity issues that most likely were due to an uneven backlight. Using our Sencore VP-403C signal generator, we were able to look at full-field gray patterns, and the uneven backlight was very apparent from 40 IRE down to 5 IRE (nearly black). In program material, we spotted it in Chapter 16 of Corpse Bride, where at about 50:02, the camera pans down and we could make out static horizontal lines. Even with the uneven backlight and pillaring, we preferred the JVC's image to the too-bright Vizio, but the Toshiba's better screen uniformity (and better black levels) gave it a significant edge.
As you might expect on a 1080p HDTV, the LT-47X788 delivers plenty of detail. It displays all the detail of 1080i and 1080p signals. HD video processing on the LT-47X788 was a strong point. Using Silicon Optix's HQV suite on the Blu-ray with the LT-47X788's Natural Cinema mode set to Auto, the JVC passed both the video resolution loss test and the film resolution loss test--most HDTVs we've tested this year can't pass the film resolution loss test. We also confirmed this in program material: the LT-47X788 had no trouble correctly rendering the grille on the front of the RV in Chapter 9 of Ghost Rider, which is a sequence known to test 1080i deinterlacing.
Corpse Bride is an extremely sharp disc, and from a seating distance of about 7 feet, differences in detail were nearly impossible detect among the four 1080p HDTVs we had positioned side by side. The Toshiba may have looked slightly sharper at some points, but that is most likely because its superior blacks make the picture pop a little more.
While the LT-47X788 lacks the 120Hz refresh rate seen on many new LCDs, they're all significantly more expensive. In terms of reducing motion blur, we've seen only minor performance benefits from 120Hz on the sets we've tested this year, and at no time did we notice any smearing or ghosting to mar the JVC's picture.
Standard definition testing was a bit of a disappointment. Feeding the LT-47X788 a component video signal 480i from the Oppo DV-980H, the LT-47X788 failed the initial resolution test on Silicon's Optix's HQV test disc, which means it will not display the full detail of standard-def sources. Its video processing did a better job when it came to tests for jaggies (stair-step lines where there should be curves), performing well on a test with a rotating white line as well as three pivoting lines. We did, however, see more jaggies than we'd like on the harder waving-flag test. The LT-47X788's Digital VNR function did a mediocre job of cleaning up noisy transmissions, even on the highest setting. On the upside, the LT-47X788 did an excellent job on the 2:3 pull-down test, engaging the film mode almost instantly.
The LT-47X788 lacks a dedicated PC input, so to test its ability as a PC display we connected our Velocity Micro reference home theater PC via HDMI, using a DVI to HDMI adapter. In short, the LT-47X788 did an excellent job as a PC monitor when we ran it through the DisplayMate tests, displaying every pixel of 1,920x1080 with no overscan.
|Before color temp (20/80)||5,573/6,621||Average|
|After color temp||N/A||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||288||Good|
|After grayscale variation||N/A||N/A|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.6358/0.3273||Good|
|Color of green||0.2659/0.5833||Average|
|Color of blue||0.1447/0.0592||Good|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Y||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
|Picture on (watts)||264.61||128.6||120.01|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.26||0.14||0.13|
|Cost per year||$75.26||$39.45||$36.85|
|Score (considering size)||Average|