JVC LT-46FN97 46-inch LCD HDTV Page 2

The Short Form

Price $3,500 ($3,799 list) / jvc.com / 800-526-5308
Distinguished by its excellent TheaterPro preset and accurate color, this LCD delivers a well-calibrated picture without much fuss.
•Accurate, well-saturated color •TheaterPro picture mode eases setup •Resolves every detail of 1080i sources
•Cannot accept 1080p sources via HDMI •Unevenness in dark areas
Key Features
•46-in 1,920 x 1,080-resolution flat-panel LCD display •Inputs: 2 HDMI, 2 component-video, 1 PC •CableCARD slot •44.4 x 30.6 x 13.5 in; 82.5 lb
Test Bench
Before calibration, the JVC's TheaterPro mode came very close to the 6500K grayscale standard, varying by an average of only 119K from 20 to 80 IRE. Slight adjustments improved it even further. Pre-calibration light output was also perfect for a dark home theater, measuring 35.5 ftL. Measured black level was very good, though not as good as the with some LCDs I've seen, and dark areas brightened slightly as brightness of other parts of the image increased. Geometry was perfect, and overscan was a perfect 0% in Full Native aspect ratio mode; the set fully resolved 1080i test patterns in Full Native as well. Primary color accuracy for red, green, and blue were all very good, and color decoding was excellent. Full Lab Results
I quickly found that JVC hasn't changed its onscreen menus in a couple of years, nor its remote. The latter, though backlit, has somewhat crowded and haphazardly arranged keys, and the blocky, text-heavy menus, while functional, seem dated by today's high-end HDTV standards.

But when it came time to adjust the picture, I was thrilled with the accuracy of the JVC's TheaterPro preset, which required almost no changes to its defaults to achieve an ideal picture for my completely dark room. Color temperature was more accurate than on most HDTVs, and I especially loved that light output was nearly perfect because the default for the Energy Saver slider, which controls the LT-46FN97's backlight intensity, was almost all the way down - resulting in the darkest black the set could attain.

One thing I wasn't thrilled about, however, is that although the four picture presets are adjustable, they're not fully independent for each input. In any given picture mode, almost all of the inputs had to share the same settings. For example, if I set brightness at -4 for Input 3 in TheaterPro mode, it had to be at -4 for most of the other inputs as well. Fortunately there was one exception: For whatever reason, the HDMI 2 input was able to hold settings independent of the others.

I did tweak a couple of settings from JVC's TheaterPro defaults, selecting, for example, the "Full Native" aspect-ratio mode, which deinterlaces but doesn't otherwise scale 1080i inputs, to retain the greatest onscreen resolution. I turned off Color Management, which had the subtle but undesirable effect of decreasing the brightness of the color blue. I also disengaged Dynamic Gamma and Smart Picture and turned off the room-lighting sensor, which adjusts the TV's brightness according to ambient light.

PICTURE QUALITY The HD DVD of the movie Troy generally looked spectacular on the JVC, with all the detail I expected from a 1080p display. One memorable example was when Paris (Orlando Bloom) first rides into Troy with Helen (Diane Kruger) at his side, where it seemed I could see every strand of her blonde hair and every texture in his armor. The city's buildings looked wonderfully realistic, with the stones and bricks in the ramparts of the palace and the grain of the wood of the gatehouse both visible. From close-ups to epic, long-distance vistas, this high-resolution LCD delivered on its promise of detail.