There are plenty of docks and cables designed to let you play back your iPod videos on your TV, but JVC's new P-Series cuts out the middleman by integrating the iPod dock directly into the TV. The four LCD flat-panels--LT-32P679 (32-inch 1366x768 screen), LT-42P789 (42-inch 1080p), LT-47P789 (47-inch 1080p), and LT-52P789 (52-inch 1080p)--each feature a flip-down iPod dock built into the bezel directly below the screen's center. And while I was ready to dismiss the whole thing as a gimmick along the lines of ViewSonic's ill-conceived, JVC seems to have included some well-thought-out features to maximize the iPod experience. To quote the press release:
"When an iPod is docked, a menu appears on the TV screen for selecting music, music shuffle or video playback. iPod can be controlled from the TV's remote, which includes a circular keypad with a control scheme that mimics the iPod's control wheel. Photos can also be displayed as a slide show along with music. During music playback, song title and artist name are displayed on the TV screen. During video playback, low-resolution files, such as Internet videos, can be displayed in a small-screen mode. Higher-resolution video can be shown in nine aspect modes at full screen. There's also the option to play music files while the TV displays television programming. In addition, the iPod will charge while docked whether the TV's power is on or off. "
Moving past the iPod features, the P-Series has a decent spec list, including three HDMI inputs, ATSC/QAM digital tuners, and a side USB input for viewing photos. Pricing wasn't disclosed, but the 32-, 42-, and 47-inch models are scheduled to hit stores in the spring of 2008, followed by the 52-incher in the summer.