JVC HD-61Z786 HD-ILA projection television review
Well, I bought the television in August 2005, so I figured it was time for me to write a review. I bought it for $3100 USD from Ultimate Electronics in Boulder, CO. Interestingly enough, I had to talk my wife OUT of buying the 70″ model of the same television (given living room size, you’ll have to forgive me, but 70″ is JUST TOO BIG.
This TV is bright, and the colors are fantastic and bright. The 720p three-chip LCOS is spectacular, and my four high-def sources are well-served by the TV. For reference, my high-definition sources (all dutifully set to 720p, regardless of source image) are:
- Hughes HR10-250 High Definition DirecTiVo
- NeuNeo HVD108 High Definition (upsampling) DVD player
- D-Link DSM-520
- Microsoft XBOX360
I’ve also tested the other sources:
- Laptop computer (SONY Vaio VGN-T350P) with VGA output
- Internal ATSC tuner on the JVC
6 months later:
Well, I still really enjoy the TV, but here’s some of my beefs.
- It’s loud, I put sound-absorbent panels on the wall to dampen the fan noise. It still bothers me, and sets up resonances on the cabinet from time to time which can only be solved by “hitting the TV”.
- Only 1 HDMI input (heck, I have 2, soon 3 HDMI sources, what am I supposed to do? I’m thinking of buying a multi-HDMI input receiver to do the switching, but REALLY!)
- Input switching is ponderously slow. I mean seconds slow. I think discrete codes and a Pronto Neo universal remote will solve this, but for now, ugh.
- Scaling options for different source aspect ratios are non-existent! My Panasonic plasma could do all kind of anamorphic scales to put a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen. This doesn’t do any of them. I really miss this, and this REALLY takes from it’s ability to be a suitable HTPC monitor (it can’t even accept a 720p on the VGA input!).
- HDMI input claims not to accept DVI signals (from computers). I don’t even know if this is true.
- Only 2 component inputs (yes, with 4 sources, I use HDMI, and use receiver to switch 2 high-definition inputs to get to 3 component inputs and 1 HDMI)
- Low-definition content looks terrible. I’m not even sure anyone can do this right except for Faroudja (not even Genesis!). This is the model that supposedly has an improved scaling engine, but I see no evidence of this.
Here’s what’s good:
- There ain’t no color wheel. I find wheel noise even more compelling that the fan noise on this unit.
- Colors are still great, bright. Even with direct sunlight on the screen (a common problem in Boulder) the screen still works.
- Sharpness on high-definition inputs is spectacular.
- It works at altitude (I live at 7400 ft)
- It’s really thin, much thinner than comparable DLP units and LCD units.
- It’s not washed out like the SHARP I was considering in the same period.
What would I buy today:
Honestly, I like the TV a lot. That being said, the new round of 65″+ LCDs (SHARP, etc.) are finally losing that “washed-out” look, so I may opt for one of these soon, and end up with the 61″ in the bedroom. I will never buy a DLP, because the color wheel throws away so much brightness potential (1/3 the time illuminating each color!). Also, after the newest round of 1080P lieing from Samsung (their so-called 1080P set was only 1280×720, hey, that’s my resolution AND needs a color wheel) I’m inclined to go to LCDs and forever forego projection.