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JVC HDFN97 review: JVC HDFN97

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
Overscan 2.5 percent Good
Black-level retention All patterns stable Good
2:3 pull-down, 24fps Yes Good
Defeatable edge enhancement Yes Good

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